Psychology experiments enter the post-PC era: OpenSesame now runs on Android

smartphones-picard-uses-androidI’ve mentioned OpenSesame briefly on here before, but for those of you who weren’t keeping up, it’s a pretty awesome, free psychology experiment-developing application, built using the Python programming language, and it has a lot in common with PsychoPy (which is also awesome).

The recently-released new version of OpenSesame has just taken an important step, in that it now supports the Android mobile operating system, meaning that it can run natively on Android tablets and smartphones. As far as I’m aware, this is the first time that a psychology-experimental application has been compiled (and released to the masses) for a mobile OS.

This is cool for lots of reasons. It’s an interesting technical achievement; Android is a very different implementation to a desktop OS, being focused heavily on touch interfaces. Such interfaces are now ubiquitous, and are much more accessible, in the sense that people who may struggle with a traditional mouse/keyboard can use them relatively easily. Running psychology experiments on touch-tablets may enable the study of populations (e.g., the very young, very old, or various patient groups) that would be very difficult with a more ‘traditional’ system. Similarly, conducting ‘field’ studies might be much more effective; I can imagine handing a participant a tablet for them to complete some kind of task in the street, or in a shopping mall, for instance. Also, it may open up the possibility of using the variety of sensors in modern mobile devices (light, proximity, accelerometers, magnetometers) in interesting and creative ways. Finally, the hardware is relatively cheap, and (of course) portable.

I’m itching to try this out, but unfortunately don’t have an Android tablet. I love my iPad mini for lots of reasons, but the more restricted nature of Apple’s OS means that it’s unlikely we’ll see a similar system on iOS anytime soon.

So, very exciting times. Here’s a brief demo video of OpenSesame running on a Google Nexus 7 tablet (in the demo the tablet is actually running a version of Ubuntu Linux, but with the new version of OpenSesame it shouldn’t be necessary to replace the Android OS). Let me know in the comments if you have any experience with tablet-experiments, or if you can think of any other creative ways they could be used.

TTFN.

 

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About Matt Wall

I do brains. BRAINZZZZ.

Posted on May 14, 2013, in Cool new tech, Hardware, Programming, Software and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for posting about this! I’m pretty excited about it myself.

    I hope you don’t mind the plug: For anybody with an Android device, there’s a project underway (thanks to Eoin Travers) to collect information about which devices work and which don’t. Helping out is easy, you can just download a test App from the Google Play store, see this post: http://forum.cogsci.nl/index.php?p=/discussion/439/opensesame-mobile-call-for-testers

    Cheers,
    Sebastiaan

  2. Eoin Travers

    For those interested, we’re working on tools which would allow researchers to design their experiments in OpenSesame, distribute them on the Google Play store, and have participants’ data sent from their own phones back to a server.

    We’re currently looking for people to test drive one of these apps, at
    http://forum.cogsci.nl/index.php?p=/discussion/439/opensesame-mobile-call-for-testers#Item_2

  1. Pingback: Psychology experiments enter the post-PC era: OpenSesame now runs on Android | Bayesian and Time Perception Lab

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