Stop Touching My Face

We all have a habit or two that we’re not terribly proud of and have probably thought of any number of ways to help rid ourselves of them. Well, [Friedlc] wondered if he could create a mechanism that would get him to stop touching his face using a bit of negative conditioning. He rigged up a head brace that slaps his forehead whenever reaching for his face.

The first thing he needed to do was to detect a hand approaching his face. He decided to use a few cheap IR motion sensors he had laying around but noted they had a few limitations. He had a tough time tuning the sensitivity of the motion sensors to prevent false positives and they were completely useless in direct sunlight as the sun’s radiation saturated the photodetector. Despite these problems, [Friedlc] figured he would mostly need his device indoors so he stuck with the IR detectors.

For the “hitter” as he called it, he thought of a few different ideas. Maybe a rotating drum with a flap that would hit his hand or maybe a hitting arm on a bar linkage. He admitted that his rudimentary mechanical design knowledge made thinking of the perfect “hitter” a bit challenging, but like any good hacker, [Friedlc] just kept working at it. He decided on using a cam mechanism which allowed him to separate the motor from the hitting action. This choice actually put a lot less load on the motor which kept the motor from stalling and giving him other kinds of trouble.

[Friedlc] was pretty proud of his invention and noted that it really helped him stop touching his face as the successive strikes to the head were definitely quite a deterrent. This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Pavlovian Conditioning project on Hackaday. We could probably all use a bit of help curing a few bad habits. But maybe you prefer positive reinforcement instead.

12 thoughts on “Stop Touching My Face

  1. While certainly less impressive looking, maybe a couple of wrist straps with accellerometers built-in would be a lot easier to implement. They could detect when you raise your hands to your face and vibrate or something.

  2. Wait a minute. Did I get that right? You want *your* forehead slapped whenever your neighbour reaches out for your beard?

    Then, I learnt something new today, but hey, de gustibus non est disputandum.

    1. Try learning how to thread comments before worrying about my neighbor and my beard ;)

      Jokes aside, I do not desire a slap in the forehead. I see this as a platform to be expanded on.

  3. I know this project was made for the fun of it, but on the general theme of touching your face is bad for you, I have very strong doubts.

    It might be bad in some specific situations (like the middle of a nasty pandemic) but in general I would expect that evolution would have took care of that if it had that many negative effects compared to the positive ones.

    1. Yeah the pandemic is branding a lot of normal human behaviour as ‘bad’ and I’m afraid this will persist long after these precautions are actually necessary.

      Though the whole face-touching thing was an early pandemic thing when it was still thought it could spread easily through surfaces, I have not heard anything about it locally so I don’t think it was found to contribute much to the spread.

  4. A really useless machine. If I have an itch in the face or something in the eye, I will touch my face. point. And this contraption shall hinder me from relieving that itch or removing a grain of sand from my eye, or just blowing my nose?

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