Background

It doesn't matter which experiment generator you use to run your computer-based Psychology experiments the Black Box ToolKit USB response box helps improve your millisecond reaction time (RT) accuracy in custom application or where a BBTK USB response pad cannot be used.

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

Accepts up to 4 high quality external buttons or hand-held triggers. Ask us for a quote now.

Millisecond accurate 4 port USB response box key features


Simply plug in to a USB port on your PC/Mac/Linux system and our response box will appear as a second keyboard. Press an external button or other push-to-make switch 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.

The K-RB1-4 response box is intended for custom applications where our 1-8 button USB response pad cannot be used. Up to four high quality push-to-make, or momentary buttons can be connected via 3.5 mm jacks* Now includes single TTL out/TTL trigger socket for use with a BBTK v2 or mBBTK v2 (event marking version).

To measure a real world RT of 300ms accurately you need all components of your system to be functioning optimally. We guarantee that the variability of our response devices is as low as possible compared with any other alternative. For example a typical keyboard and mouse have a much greater level of inaccuracy and variability (in this example 340ms and +/- 27ms).

*Remember although our USB response boxes 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 and experiment generator used.

If you wish to check the accuracy and consistency of your experiment generator, or system as a whole, you are advised to use a Black Box ToolKit v2 together with a BBTK USB response box. For event marking you should combine a response box with our mBBTK v2 which is designed for monitoring stimuli and TTL event marking/sending TTL triggers. The mBBTK v2 can also take over the timing duties from your experiment generator completely so you can be 100% sure of your presentation, synchronization and response timings.

Key features

  • Four port millisecond accurate response box
  • Works with any high quality push-to-make/momentary buttons with 3.5mm mono jack (not supplied)
  • Full-speed USB 2.0 (compatible with USB 3.0)
  • Supplied with 1.8m USB A/B cable
  • Appears as second standard HID compliant keyboard
  • Fully Plug and Play
  • Windows/Mac/Linux compatible
  • Sends standard keystrokes when a button(s) is pressed, e.g. d, k, [enter], [space]
  • Reliably detects button presses in millionths of a second
  • 2.5mm stereo socket sends a single 50m long TTL event mark/TTL trigger when any button is pressed. NB: Does not differentiate between buttons and can overlap (for more detailed TTL output consider our USB response pad)
  • Registers button presses and sends keystrokes in under one millisecond*
  • Field updatable firmware

Typical uses

The four port USB response box is used in custom applications where high accuracy and reliability is required and our 1-8 button USB response pad is unsuitable. It can be used with high quality push-to-make buttons/momentary switches, or hand-held triggers, such as Piko buttons or our own hand-helds. For event marking a single TTL lead is provided which outputs a 50ms pulse aligned with a button press.

Due to its small size and our ability to produce a cross-branded versions it is ideally suited to fit and forget applications where high reliability is needed.

Note: no buttons are supplied by default.

Technical specifications

  • ABS plastic enclosure -- Dimensions: 67.1mm x 28.2mm x 67.1mm (WHD)
  • 1x 2.5mm stereo socket for +5V TTL event marker on any button down
  • 4x 3.5mm mono sockets for external push-to-make/momentary button input
  • Full-Speed USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 compatible)
  • Appears to the host PC/Mac/Linux system as a standard HID keyboard (no drivers required)
  • Anti-ghosting technology means that up to 4 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)
  • Checks for a button press 68,600 times a second (68.6kHz sampling rate)
  • Typical time to recognize a button press 13.9 millionths of a second (13.9µs)
  • Typical time to transmit keystroke(s) to PC after detecting a button down 60-87 millionths of a second (60-87µs) -- status of up to 4 buttons/keys, transmitted on first available USB packet
  • Typical time to recognize a button up 75 millionths of a second (75µs)
  • 2.5mm socket +5V TTL pulse width 50ms (interrupt driven timer)
  • 50ms button up debounce (a button has to be cleanly up for 50ms before a key up signal is sent to the PC)#

#This can add 50ms to key down durations – onsets or RT's are unaffected as these are sent to the host PC immediately. ALL standard keyboards and other response boxes typically have longer debouncing periods.

*Remember although our USB response boxes 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:
    info@blackboxtoolkit.com
  • Address:
    The Black Box ToolKit Ltd,
    PO Box 3802, Sheffield,
    S25 9AG, UK