design students jingyi zhang and thomas gossner introduce the ‘booger stopper’; a helmet aiming to stop people from picking their nose, in a persistent, interactive and entertaining way. the design incorporates a proximity distance and a hall effect sensor that detect the approaching hand of a nose picker and notify a set of cymbals to start shaking nervously. 

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‘booger stopper’ in use
all images courtesy of jingyi zhang and thomas gossner



the ‘booger stopper’ by jingyi zhang and thomas gossner consists of two acrylic glass arms that are attached to the helmet and carry the cymbals. the four-bar mechanism in the centre of the arms is connected to a servo motor. in connection with a micro-controller, this mechanism allows the control of the opening angle as well as the smashing frequency when the nose is picked. the approaching hand is recognised by an ultrasonic proximity sensor, which in reaction to the hand coming closer to the face, notifies the cymbals to start shaking nervously. once the nose is reached a magnetic hall switch is activated through a magnetic ring worn on the finger or magnetic nail polish. this leads to the cymbals smashing together loudly, making everyone look at the nose-picker immediately.

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‘booger stopper’ in use



nose picking is one of those behaviours that secretly most of us feel we do way too often, but we just can’t stop it. nose picking is not just a bad habit that evokes disgust in others, it can actually have a negative impact on one’s health as found by a study on nose picking and nasal carriage of staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can cause respiratory or skin inflammations amongst others. 

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side view of ‘booger stopper’



the booger stopper helmet allows people to recognise the behaviour and raises awareness to the negative implications of nose picking. exhibited on various occasions such as the wip show of the imperial college london and the royal college of art in 2020, wearing the booger stopper sparked discussions amongst the visitors about the habit of nose picking and the connection of touching one’s face with the transmission of illnesses.

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‘booger stopper’ helmet details

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making of ‘booger stopper’



project info:

name: booger stopper
designers: jingyi zhang and thomas gossner



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom