Thu. Jun 13th, 2024
Psycholgist and Patient sitting in room, Stock Image.

Compiled by: Jonathan N. Winters, Nov. 13, 2019

Note: This document is a work in progress (Draft v1). 


The purpose of this document is to help stimulate thoughts regarding research lab design elements by raising pertinent questions that can help guide the room layout and design. This will take into consideration electrical needs, telephony needs, software needs, data acquisition, data recording, data analysis. 

This document should be reviewed by all stakeholders in the research rooms, most importantly the experimenter, the PI, and any other faculty involved in the use and operation for this space. Duplicate this document for each experiment and control room and fill in accordingly. 

Research Room Questionnaire

Describe the research that will take place inside of the experiment room? What stimuli will be introduced to participants, what types of data need to be captured/recorded? What technologies are needed to conduct the experiments from top to bottom and from data acquisition through data analysis and publication?  Who/what will be the subject of the experiments (Humans, Mice, Rats, Insects, Fish,  Non-Human Primates, Other)?

Presentation Stimuli, Data Acquisition & Analysis
Software and Hardware?

What Stimuli/Data will be presented?

Audio? Video? Shock? Surveys? Custom Software… other__________________?

“Real time” audio/video for stimuli or experiment monitoring? Latency on playback: Digital cameras have a latency when distributing to external viewing monitors/recording systems. 

What devices are required in the room to display this stimuli?

  • Screens? LCD/LED/CRT/Projectors?
  • What size WxHxD and at what resolutions?
  • Latency requirements?
  • Multi-channel (how many angles)?
  • Output viewing / capturing? 

What devices are required in a control room to control this stimuli?

What Software Will Be Used? 

  • Custom computer software? which? 
  • Matlab
  • PsychoPy
  • Web Forms (PHP, Qualtrics, etc…)
  • Custom Python App
  • Skype
  • VideoLAN
  • VLC
  • FSL
  • DeepLabCut
  • BrainVoyager
  • MediaLab DirectRT
  • MediaLab Inquisit
  • JMP
  • LIWC
  • Quicktime / Windows Media Player
  • Other __________________

How will output / data points be recorded? 

  • Research Observer In Room
  • Research Observer In Control Room
  • Eye tracking
  • Survey
  • Video cameras
  • Audio microphones
  • Brain Waves head caps
  • BioPac
  • EEG
  • fMRI
  • MRI
  • EKG
  • NeuroPixel
  • National Instruments
  • Other __________________

Is the experiment being controlled by experimenter inside of the room or in a control room? 

What devices are being controlled from where? 

Space Layout and Location Considerations

What will the layout, power, and networking requirements be for each room?

Think about how all the hardware stimuli, data capture devices need to be wired up? What cables do they use? IP-based equipment? USB-based equipment?  Power? 

Will there be the need for cables running between rooms, if so what types?


  • Racks for rig-style equipment, full size or half-size
  • Desks, how many, computers on those desks, how many (desktops/laptops)
  • Chairs, how many (flat casters or wheels, heavy or light, swivel or no swivel)

Electrical Requirements 

To guide this section, please make sure to enumerate all equipment to be used in the room. 

Where are power outlets needed, how many at each location? 

Which walls? How high on wall? In floor?

Room for growth? 

Will any special power outlets be needed (220/240, etc)? 

Ethernet Requirements

How many Ethernet based devices will be used in the room? 

Provision extra for growth. IP Cameras, microphones, sensor devices, etc. 

Will ports be low to the ground, under desk, in floor, on wall (how high), in ceiling?

Data Storage, Access and Retention

Where is input being stored upon capture?

From what devices? To what computers? 

To what storage (Network Attached Storage, Local Hard Drive, Cloud Storage)?  If locally stored, what will be the process for copying and/or backing up the data acquired?

Average and max size of a session capture (MB, GB, TB)?

How much data will you collect over 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?

Retention Policy?

Will you be working with external collaborators that need NetIDs to work on the data?

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