The back-story

From 1993 to 2011 I helped out numerous scientific researchers by writing custom, one off experimental programs for them. Each of these programs implemented exactly one scientific research idea. They were often comp catered right having to deal with a number of issues such as database management, multi-threading, and complicated user interface programming.  Usually, these programs were very hard to change; so when the researcher needed some tweaks done those tweaks could often take days or weeks. Often these tweaks would introduce new bugs that would have to be ironed out.

Additionally, there was quite a lot of code (usually QBasic, Visual Basic, C++, or .Net) which meant that sharing the code with other researchers are publishing the code along with the research article was simply not feasible.

Finally, the codes were often so complex that the researcher had to rely on me to make changes. I have even received phone calls years later asking for tweaks to a program.  This limits the researchers freedom and flexibility regarding their own research software.

The result: Experimentor Workbench

In 2011 I was approached to once again write some research software. However this time, instead of writing a one-off program that could not be reused I decided to enable the researcher to write their own experiments.

The result is Experimentor Workbench, and it enables the scientific researcher to use the language of research to easily write their own experiments; you program using expressions such as “define trial”, “define phase”, “start stimuliTimer” and “play birdSong”.

Additionally, Experimentor Workbench automatically saves everything that happens during the running session into a secure database that can easily be exported to Microsoft Excel. This means that the experimental codes are easy to understand and much shorter (usually less than 200 lines of code) allowing them to be easily modified, published or shared by the researcher.

All the complicated domain programming, multi-threading, user interface issues, and data management code is hidden from the researcher.  Additionally, all of that complex code is very well tested, and is shared between all users of Experimentor Workbench.

So Experimentor Workbench makes it much easier to create and tweak your own custom experiments.  If you would like we can help you write your initial experiment using the codes; after that most researchers find it easy to tweak the codes as they being running the experiment with subjects.

To help get you started I suggest watching the Getting Started videos, and then download the application and start playing with it.  The application comes with a number of built-in examples that you can start tweaking right away.

I hope you find it useful.


Robert McCarter