Lab Facilities

Lab Space

The BRL is designed and equipped for various types of behavioral studies, including traditional and digital experiments, focus groups, and research interviews. We provide the following facilities:

  • A large computer room with 19 computer workstations (separated by adjustable dividers to ensure privacy), a whiteboard, and a projector.
  • Two testing rooms (referred to as “Testing Room A” and “Testing Room B”), each of which has a table, a few chairs, a whiteboard, and AV recording equipment. Testing Room A can accommodate 4–6 participants, while Testing Room B has space for 6–8. Testing Room B also contains a projector and a one-way mirror that allows researchers to observe participants from the adjacent AV control room.
  • An AV control room where researchers can monitor participants and record studies using our AV system.
  • A reception area with seating for participants, as well as a front desk, a desktop computer, and a printer for research personnel.
  • A closet and several cabinets for storing research equipment and materials.

If you would like to view the layout of the BRL, please download a copy of our floor plan below. You are also welcome to contact the BRL Coordinator at lab-manager@mit.edu or at (617) 253-1959 to schedule a lab tour.

Download Floor Plan

Audiovisual (AV) System

The AV system at the BRL enables researchers to monitor and record lab sessions, as well as to present content and communicate with participants during studies. We are excited to share that our AV system completed a major upgrade in Fall 2018. This section describes the primary components and features of the new AV system.

Recording & Observation Equipment

Testing Room A and Testing Room B will each have two wall-mounted PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras with Full HD (1080p) resolution. Researchers will be able to control the angle and zoom of each camera remotely from the AV control room.

The BRL can additionally obtain two tripod-mounted professional camcorders with Full HD resolution to be used in either of the testing rooms. Researchers can connect these camcorders to the AV system through the two HD-SDI ports on the wall of each testing room.

Besides the two HD-SDI ports, each testing room will have two HDMI ports, which can be connected to cameras brought into the lab by researchers. Additionally, any content presented through the projector in Testing Room B can be recorded.

As for audio recording, each testing room will be equipped with a ceiling-hanging microphone capable of capturing studio-quality sound. Furthermore, the BRL will provide a total of six wireless lavalier microphones to be worn by participants in either of the testing rooms.

There will be two control stations in the AV control room — one dedicated to Testing Room A and the other to Testing Room B. Each control station will have (1) a recorder that receives input from all the video and audio sources in the corresponding testing room, (2) a large LED monitor that shows a live feed of each video source, and (3) a touch panel that allows researchers to interact with the recorder and other parts of the AV system via a simple user interface.

Researchers will be able to simultaneously record all video sources as separate video files. The system can also produce a “master recording” of multiple video sources, presented in a split-screen format. Researchers will have the freedom to select any combination of audio sources to be included in each video recording. In addition, there will be an option to create audio-only recordings.

Video and audio recordings will be exported to each recorder’s hard drive. Researchers must transfer all recordings to an external storage device (e.g., a USB flash drive) or to a cloud storage site (e.g., Dropbox) no later than five business days following the last lab session. After this five-day window passes, the BRL Coordinator may delete recordings at any time to free up storage space for future researchers.

Finally, there will be a regular desktop computer in the AV control room, shared between the two control stations. Researchers can use this computer to access the Internet, present content through the projector in Testing Room B (see below for details), edit videos, etc.

Presentation & Communication Equipment

Testing Room B and the computer room will each have a ceiling-mounted projector, a ceiling-recessed (motorized) projection screen, and a pair of ceiling-recessed speakers for researchers who would like to present experimental stimuli, study instructions, or other content to participants during lab sessions. The BRL has set aside a desktop computer in each of these rooms to be used for presentations. Alternatively, researchers can give presentations from their own laptops by connecting them to the HDMI ports near the two projectors. Researchers also have the option to present content using the desktop computer located in the AV control room, although such content can only be displayed through the projector in Testing Room B, and not the projector in the computer room.

Two desktop microphones will be placed in the AV control room, giving researchers the ability to remotely communicate with participants in Testing Room A and Testing Room B. Participants can hear researchers’ voices through the speakers in each testing room. Likewise, researchers can hear participants’ voices, captured by the ceiling-hanging microphone in each testing room, through the speakers in the AV control room. There will also be a pair of professional headphones at each control station in the AV control room for audio monitoring.