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Drew Smith (university Of Brighton)
03-12-2003, 08:06 PM
Dear Readers,

We are planning to measure reaction time in older adults in a stepping task
and before we set off trying to build the equipment, I thought it might be
worthwhile asking colleagues whether something might already be available
for our task. Because this will be field-based research, our plan is to
have something that is portable and easy to setup and take down. The idea
would be to have our subject standing on a mat which would close a switch.
A second 'target' mat would also have a switch in the open position and
would be positioned a small distance in front of the subject (eg,
approximately the average step length away). The experimenter would
initiate the test and at some random interval afterwards, the subject would
be signalled (by a sound and/or light) to begin. At the same time, a timer
would start. When the subject lifted his/her foot, the switch in the first
mat would open and the time from signal to open switch would be displayed on
one of two display units. The internal timer would continue until the foot
stepped on the second mat, closing the switch and stopping the timer. This
time would be displayed on the second display unit. Thus, we would have
both reaction and movement time. The values could be recorded by the
experimenter, the system reset and another trial started.

While this particular setup is not overly complicated, we don't see any
reason to 'reinvent the wheel'. Our question is: do any of our readers know
of a device similar to the one I have described? If I receive any
interesting replies, I will post a summary.

Thank you.
Cheers,
Drew Smith, PhD
Senior Research Fellow

Human Movement Laboratory
Clinical Research Centre
School of Health Professions
University of Brighton
49 Darley Road
Eastbourne, East Sussex
BN20 7UR
United Kingdom

Voice: (01273) 644 166 [Int'l: +44 1273 644166]
FAX: (01273) 643 652 [Int'l: +44 1273 643652]
Laboratory: (01273) 643 767 [Int'l: +44 1273 643767]
http://healthtech.brighton.ac.uk/HML/

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