A while back, a colleague of mine showed me an interesting DIY interface designed to take touch input from infants. It was old and difficult to get it working with modern computers. It got me thinking, why don’t researchers use modern microprocessors to make custom interfaces?
The purpose of this article is just to inform you that, with minimum programming experience, you can create a data-collection device out of an Arduino and very simple electronics. The effort varies, of course, based on how good looking you want it to be and how much money you have to spend on it.
One concern that researchers might have is how accurate a DIY interface can be. Well, there’s an article that describes an experiment measuring the accuracy of an Arduino Uno. Their results show high temporal accuracy of the device, making it a valid option of researchers who don’t want, or can’t, spend too much to order custom-made interfaces.
With an Arduino, you can collect reaction time data, you can interact with stimuli (with digital on-off switches or with analog faders), you can collect data about light changes, collect location information and much more; all of course with dedicated additional electronics that can be controlled with the Arduino.
If you have used similar devices for your data collection, I would love to hear about it. If you still haven’t used it but want to and need some help achieving that, please do drop me a line and I will be more than happy to help you figuring it out.