Digital Cootie Detector

Kids love games of exclusion. This usually manifests itself in games of ‘keep away,’ having someone ‘catch cooties,’ or the ever-popular ‘No Brian club.’ [Rob] wrote in to tell us about the digital cootie detector he built. The cootie detector operates on galvanic skin response. It’s actually very similar to an E-Meter, although instead of Thetans this device measures something that actually exists.

Galvanic skin response is a measure of the skin’s conductivity. Skin conductivity changes because sweat glands will be activated when someone is nervous. This is a measure of psychological arousal, making it a great detector for games of exclusion – a kid who doesn’t want cooties will ‘psych themself out’ and give themselves cooties.

The build is based around an ATtiny45 with just a few resistors and paperclips required for a complete build. The ‘Cootie Detection Algorithm’ starts off with a flashing light – a great way to make someone nervous. After the test is completed, a green light means they can enter the quarantined area, while a red light means they must be excluded. There’s also a “device tampered” result – alternating red and green lights – that will show up when a clever child tries to short the paperclip leads. Check out the demo below:


19 thoughts on “Digital Cootie Detector

  1. @xorpunk “Spend at least 3 million USD developing and publishing an AAA game, and then watch it get distributed on the internet for free by at least 10k users, *THEN* enlighten us with your economical wizdom..”


  2. This device will make impressionable people feel very sad and self-consenious, leading them to do stupid things and could even end up ruining their lives, its disgusting! Ok, enough about the E-Meter, that Cootie Detector is neat!

  3. Whoah! Are you telling me that my 3 year old may be a “Brian”, have cooties, be a decroded zombie, have cancer and/or be a Scientologist? I thought she just had sweaty hands because she’s a spaz! I’m dismantling this diabolical device. The world isn’t ready.

  4. I’m going to repurpose it into a sarcasm detector. Please hold your finger in the top right corner of your monitor for five seconds after you post. I’ll be here all night taking readings.

  5. i thought a cootie was a medical condition that is associated with school aged boy/girl friend relations.

    “i dont want your cooties”

    “dont give me your cooties”

  6. LOL; so this is to measure cooties, and it supposedly “measures something that actually exists”? Needs a bar graph or red yellow green LEDs. Claiming it measures, indicates something of a more adult nature would increase the sales potential. Make it coin operated, and place in bars to generate revenue.

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