Evaluation of reaction times to sound stimuli on mobile devices
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When developing new devices for assistive technology, it is important to consider auditory response times to different kinds of warning and navigational sounds. Perception, processing and action following the presentation of auditory stimuli depends on several parameters, the most important being the stimuli themselves and the method used for providing feedback. With the growing market penetration of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets etc.) and increasing popularity of crowdsourced solutions, we have chosen to develop a mobile application for the measurement of reaction times with respect to a wide range of stimuli, including sine tones, speech and various kinds of clicks and noises. During tests, participants are asked to indicate the direction of sound samples by pressing the appropriate button on the touch screen. Stereo panning can be used up to five directions. In this paper, our goal is to demonstrate the viability of this approach through a set of basic (at this time, not yet crowdsourced) tests performed using the application. A rudimentary statistical evaluation of measured response times and success rates was performed. Results were compared to an earlier study using similar categories of stimuli. As in that study, some relative differences between the stimuli types were found, i.e. the 1 kHz panned sine and pink noise categories were shown to be somewhat more favorable than speech and click-trains. Future enhancements to the application will include tilt-based input control – allowing for the participation of visually impaired test subjects who cannot see the response buttons – as well as extensions allowing for the logging and analysis of large-scale crowdsourced test results.