Don't forget all our response pads and response boxes offer an easy to clean and sanitize solution for research in your psychology lab during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

It doesn't matter which experiment generator you use to run your computer-based Psychology experiments the Black Box ToolKit USB response pad with voice key helps improve your millisecond reaction time (RT) accuracy.

Truly plug in and play as our USB response pad appears to your computer as a second keyboard and each button press produces a standard key press. Each voice response also produces a key press and RT!

Fully customizable with between 1 and 8 buttons in a range of colors and sizes to suit your needs. Hand-held external buttons also available. Ask us for a quote now.

Millisecond accurate 1-8 button USB response pad with voice key key features

Simply plug into a USB port on your PC/Mac/Linux system and our response pad will appear as a second keyboard. Press a button and a standard keystroke will be sent to your experiment.

No need for drivers, no need to recode! Works out of the box with E-Prime, SuperLab, Presentation, Inquisit, PsychoPy or any other software that can accept standard keyboard responses.

Finished in an attractive carbon fiber effect our response box houses up to 8 buttons in a range of colors and locations.

Our response boxes & response pads aim to reduce inconsistencies and improve your Response Time accuracy compared with using standard keyboards, mice or competitors devices.

What's more if your participants make a vocal response this also produces a standard key press and TTL event mark or TTL trigger! Simple to use and simple to setup with tunable vocal activation, or crossing threshold. It's your choice whether to use it as a standard response pad or use it as a voice key.

*Remember although our USB response pads hardware is millisecond accurate and helps reduce RT variability in your experiments it cannot automatically correct for any mistimings that are inherent within the experiment generator or other hardware you use.

For example, if your experiment generator presents an image and does not check for a response in a timely fashion, your OS intervenes, or an anti-virus check runs, your Response Times will remain inaccurate regardless of the quality of the response device. What | Why | How

For self-validation you should independently check the accuracy and consistency of your experiment generators presentation and response timing, or system as a whole, with a Black Box ToolKit v2 together with a BBTK USB response pad.

For sub-millisecond TTL event marking of stimuli and responses, you should combine our response pad with a mBBTK v2. The unique mBBTK v2 takes over all timing duties from any experiment generator so you can be 100% sure of your presentation, synchronization and response timings.

Key features

  • Sleek carbon fiber enclosure around the size of a paperback book (202mm x 137mm x LW)
  • Choice of 1 to 8 buttons (30mm dia)
  • Works out of the box with PCs/Macs/Linux
  • Compatible with all Psychology experiment generators, e.g. E-Prime, SuperLab, Presentation, Inquisit, DMDX, ERTS, DirectRT, PsyScope, PsychoPy etc.
  • Needs no drivers fully plug in & play
  • Appears as a second keyboard
  • Map buttons to any keystroke you need
  • Map voice key to any keystroke you need
  • Supplied with comfortable stereo headset with condenser microphone
  • Fully adjustable 'set and forget' vocal activation or crossing threshold (once threshold is passed a standard keystroke is produced)
  • It's your choice whether to use it as a standard response pad or use it as a voice key
  • Full-speed USB 2.0 (compatible with USB 3.0)
  • Scans for a button press or voice key activation 45,500 times every second in USB mode and 221,000 times a second in BBTK response box mode
  • Guarantee millisecond accurate responses*
  • Built-in TTL event marking/TTL triggers for EEG, biofeedback, fMRI and time audit
  • Use up to 4x external buttons as standard (upgrade to 8x external buttons available on request)
  • Works with the Black Box ToolKit v2 and mBBTK v2 (event marking version)

Range of button colors, sizes and clear caps

A range of colored buttons are available to order.

Clear cap buttons allow you to put your own labels under a tamper-proof clear plastic cover. Simply unscrew the button, remove the clear cap and place your own label under the button top (21mm dia).

Clear cap buttons are available in a range of colors. The key cap is always clear to enable your participants to see your label underneath.

Smaller diameter buttons are also available on request.

Custom laser cut layouts to your own design

You can customize your button layout by electing where to place between 1 to 8 buttons. Lid measurement 202mm length x 137mm width.

To help we have provided downloadable templates you can use with your favorite drawing package to customize your layout.

CorelDRAW! 10 .CDR
CorelDRAW! x4 .CDR
Adobe Illustrator .AI
Adobe Acrobat .PDF
Windows Meta File .WMF

Send us your layout and we'll make it to your design. Alternatively give us a sketch and we'll send you a PDF proof of your design for approval. Nothing could be simpler!

Rear connectors

Connector What does it do How can I use it
8x TTL A dedicated TTL line for each button that operates with sub-millisecond accuracy for TTL event marking/TTL triggers. Active high for the duration of each button press. Ideal for +5 V TTL event marking/TTL triggering of true individual button response times or for time audit, e.g. in EEG, connection to a BBTK etc. 8 bit port.
Sensitivity Enables you to set the activation threshold or sensitivity for the voice key, i.e. crossing threshold. Increase or decrease the volume/crossing threshold required from your participant to trigger the voice key and produce a keystroke.
(3.5 mm stereo socket)
Allows you to plug-in the BBTK headset with condenser microphone or your own desktop or lapel mic. Used to accept a vocal response rather than a button press within your experiment.
But 1 to 4
(3.5mm mono sockets)
Up to 4x external buttons of your own can be used. When you connect your own push-to-make buttons via the 3.5mm sockets these work alongside the corresponding response pad buttons. Participants can press either your external button or our response pad button to make a response.
(USB 'B' square socket to PC 'A' flat)
Connects to the PC you want to accept responses on. Each button sends a standard key down response as might a normal keyboard if you pressed keys 1-8 for example.
(2.5 mm stereo socket)
When any button is pressed a 50 ms wide TTL pulse is sent to this socket. This can either be a positive or negative pulse depending on which signal line you use. For simple event marking of true response times or for time audit, e.g. in EEG, connection to a BBTK etc.
(female 9-way D connector)
4x TTL lines connect to the BBTK via this connector. If you are using a BBTK v2 when you press a button a +5 V TTL event (onset, duration and offset) is captured by the BBTK for time audit purposes. When connected to the BBTK v2 if a button is pressed a keystroke is sent to the computer you are running your experiment on. Simultaneously a TTL event marker is sent to the BBTK which logs the button press in terms of onset, duration and offset. It is also possible to use these +5 V signals to event mark on EEG and for time audit purposes.

Technical specifications

  • Carbon fiber effect plastic enclosure (202mm x 137mm x 35mm LWH)
  • 4x Japanese Seimitsu PS 14 GN 30 mm dia buttons, overall dia 34.5 mm (certified for min 1,000,000 presses)
  • Up to 8x unique TTL markers or TTL triggers (one per button, 9-way D) - 8 bit port
  • 1x 3.5mm stereo socket for the BBTK headset with condenser microphone
  • 1x adjustable potentiometer to set the activation threshold or sensitivity for the voice key, i.e. crossing threshold -- one word typically triggers one keystroke
  • 4x 3.5mm mono sockets for external push-to-make button input
  • Full-Speed USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 compatible)
  • 1x 2.5 mm stereo socket for +5 V TTL event marker or TTL trigger on any button down
  • 4x unique +5 V TTL event markers/TTL triggers for use with The Black Box Toolkit v2 or other equipment (9-way D)
  • Appears to the host PC/Mac/Linux system as a standard HID keyboard (no drivers required)
  • Anti-ghosting technology means that up to 6 buttons can be held down and released in any order whilst being correctly reported to the host operating system meets full USB HID keyboard specifications
  • Fully updatable firmware 32K flash RAM (100,000 Erase/Write Cycles)
  • In USB response pad mode checks for a button press 45,450 times a second (45.5 kHz sampling rate)
  • Voice key input (from silence) to TTL event marker/TTL trigger typically under 5 ms dependent on threshold setting
  • Voice key silence window 250 ms window during which waveform should be below threshold to signal an off#
  • In Black Box response pad mode checks for a button press 221,000 times a second (221kHz sampling rate)
  • Typical time to recognise a button press 10 millionths of a second (10.20 s)
  • Typical time to transmit keystroke(s) to PC after detecting a button down or voice key activation 60-87 millionths of a second (60-87 s) status of up to 6 buttons/keys from 9 (8 buttons/1 voice key), transmitted on first available USB packet
  • Typical time to recognize a button up 75 millionths of a second (75 s)
  • 2.5mm socket +5 V TTL pulse/TTL trigger width 50 ms (interrupt driven timer)
  • 4x BBTK +5 V TTL signal/TTL trigger matches button down onset, duration and offset
  • 25 ms button up debounce (a button has to be cleanly up for 25 ms before a key up signal is sent to the PC)#
#This can add 25 ms to key down durations and 250 ms to voice key durations onsets or RT's are unaffected as these are sent to the host PC immediately. ALL standard keyboards, other response boxes and voice keys typically have longer debouncing periods or silence windows.

*Remember although our USB response pads are millisecond accurate and help reduce RT variability in your experiments they can't automatically correct for any mistimings that are inherent within the experiment generator you use. Hardware capable of sub-millisecond accuracy. Timing accuracy tied to PC or experiment generator used.

Unless otherwise labelled, all products offered for sale by The Black Box ToolKit Ltd are for academic study and/or research use only.

About company

The Black Box Toolkit Ltd was founded in 2003 by a team of psychologists, software experts and electronic engineers.

Dedicated to improving the millisecond timing accuracy and experimental rigor of researchers in the behavioral and brain sciences.

We provide hardware, software and consultancy solutions across a wide range of fields to make this a reality. Print flyer

Get in Touch

  • Phone:
    +44 (0)114 3030056
  • Email:
  • Address:
    The Black Box ToolKit Ltd,
    PO Box 3802, Sheffield,
    S25 9AG, UK