Tomorrow, the education department at the museum I work for is going to a local baseball game with some fun science demos families can do while we’re there. We’re going to demonstrate finding one of the sweet spots of a baseball bat, launch some baseballs with our catapults, and test people’s reaction times with the classic yard stick test. I did a little research on some of the science behind our activities to beef up the science in our demos.
Research on the reaction test demo took me to a nifty little online test that quickly gobbled up nearly an hour of my time. This online test is part of the San Francisco Exploratorium‘s website (a museum I interned with in summer 2010), and is specifically about baseball hitters’ reaction times, related to an exhibit they had last summer, “The Science of Baseball”. So it was perfect for my assignment this time around, but like I said, after I found it I got very little else done.
I was pretty addicted to improving my reaction time after the first few tries. This is probably because my typical reaction time was about 0.5 seconds – painfully slow according to most statistical sources I also found (sometimes I got itchy-finger, and hit the mouse button before seeing the signal on the test and got super lucky). Just now, I went to the online test again and these were my 5 reaction times ( in seconds): 0.6, 0.56, 0.55, 0.56, 0.53.
Gosh! Am I really so slow? For a while, I was trying to reason that I’m using a touch pad on a laptop, so maybe it’s not the most accurate. I guess I am a Turtle.
Anyway, at least I’m consistent. If you want to try for yourself, here is the link: Fastball Reaction time
There are actually several reaction time online tests out there, another one I found was on the humanbenchmark. It’s not as cute as the Exploratorium’s test, and I’m not sure of the reliability of the site itself, but it seems legit to me. When I tried this site’s test, I got pretty much the exact same result as I did with the Exploratorium one.
Also, if you’re in the Eugene, OR area, come by the Ems game tomorrow night and do some science with us!