Reaction Timer

A large red and blue cube frame that has blue and orange banners running from top to bottom with different information on each. In front on the grey carpet is a long checkerplate steel box.

Human reaction times depend on vision, nerve communication and muscle control.

How it works

One person drops a reaction stick, so a second person must catch and measure their reaction time.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • If we keep repeating the reaction timer test, does your score improve or stay the same?
  • Does everyone have the same reaction time?


The point where your friend caught the stick shows their reaction time (in seconds). Your reaction time is how long it takes for a message to travel from your eyes, to your brain and out to your hand to catch the stick. This all occurs within a matter of milliseconds.

Finding the science in your world

Fast reaction times are important when driving racing cars or when playing sports. Reaction time can be improved with practice and concentration, so sportspeople often include 'reaction' training as part of their preparation.