The BESS Lab is a mobile computing lab to support behavioural and experimental social science, particularly research conducted through surveys or where participants are asked to respond by making choices or decisions. At the same time, data such as heart rate or other physiological responses can also be recorded with our state-of-the-art equipment.

BESS Lab equipment

The Lab is a self-service facility that can be used on or off campus and includes the following equipment:

  • 30 Microsoft Surface Pro 7 devices
  • Stylus pens and magnetic keyboards with touchpads
  • Detachable privacy screens
  • Carry cases with in-case charging
  • Eduroam and ad-hoc networking
Close up of surface devices

BESS Lab storage

  • The equipment is stored in LapSafe lockers located in the Edith Morley building
  • The lockers charge the devices and as the equipment is managed and supported by DTS, they are fully set up for your use
  • You can collect the equipment from the lockers directly
LapSafe lockers

Booking the BESS Lab

  • Equipment is bookable for daily use at a cost of £200 per day (£6.75 per machine per day)
  • To book the Lab, email besslab@reading.ac.uk with a description of your experimental design, protocol and ethics
  • We can also answer any questions or queries e.g. if you require any special software or if you are unsure of how to implement email besslab@reading.ac.uk
  • Once you have emailed us, we will be add you to the BESS Lab team on Microsoft Teams, where you can book your slot and network with other researchers

Using the BESS Lab

The BESS Lab can be used for data collection from research participants and provides benefits such as:

  • Dynamic interactive experiences
  • Networking: participants can interact in real-time with other participants
  • You can take the Lab to where the data is such as schools, employers and public spaces

The BESS Lab can also be a valuable resource for teaching, particularly for:

  • Seminars with small group demos or interactive experiments
  • Taking anywhere across campus as students can login with their own credentials

To find out how the BESS Lab can support your research, read our user guide

surface tablet

Biomarkers and eye-tracking

In the near future, we will have the equipment to record galvanic skin response and heart rate via 6 Shimmer units that can be connected to the Surface Pro laptops. This will allow you to record these physical responses as participants take part in your which can give you an insight into the ongoing experience of participant (for example, the formation of participant choice or preference).

In the more distant future, we hope to get mobile eye-tracking units in place to allow you to record participants’ eye movements as they take part in your research. This will allow you to record what your participants are looking at or focussing on (what information they are using) when they are performing your tasks.

Dr Eugene McSorley using the heart rate monitor and mobile eye-tracking units.