Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 212–225

RTbox: A device for highly accurate response time measurements


  • Xiangrui Li
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern California
  • Zhen Liang
    • University of Science and Technology of China
    • Anhui Medical University
  • Mario Kleiner
    • Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern California

DOI: 10.3758/BRM.42.1.212

Cite this article as:
Li, X., Liang, Z., Kleiner, M. et al. Behavior Research Methods (2010) 42: 212. doi:10.3758/BRM.42.1.212


Although computer keyboards and mice are frequently used in measuring response times (RTs), the accuracy of these measurements is quite low. Specialized RT collection devices must be used to obtain more accurate measurements. However, all the existing devices have some shortcomings. We have developed and implemented a new, commercially available device, the RTbox, for highly accurate RT measurements. The RTbox has its own microprocessor and high-resolution clock. It can record the identities and timing of button events with high accuracy, unaffected by potential timing uncertainty or biases during data transmission and processing in the host computer. It stores button events until the host computer chooses to retrieve them. The asynchronous storage greatly simplifies the design of user programs. The RTbox can also receive and record external signals as triggers and can measure RTs with respect to external events. The internal clock of the RTbox can be synchronized with the computer clock, so the device can be used without external triggers. A simple USB connection is sufficient to integrate the RTbox with any standard computer and operating system.

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2010