Wearable Tech

This Wristband Delivers Electric Shocks When You're Slacking

Some of us (you know who you are) need a little extra motivation to get off our duffs and go after our goals. How about 340 shocking volts of electricity? Would that get you to the gym? The makers of Pavlok think so. They’ve built their business on the shocking idea.

In Pavlok’s Indiegogo campaign (with 29 days to go, it buzzed thousands of dollars past its $50,000 funding goal today), its Boston-based makers ask what would be possible if we could consistently achieve our goals. If we could stop letting ourselves down, what would we become?

“We’d finally have that dream body,” they promise. “We’d finally kick that bad habit of smoking or biting our nails. We’d finally become the person we always knew we could be.”

Related: More People Want to Get Shocked Than Sit in Total Stillness for 15 Minutes

How? By “any means necessary,” the masochistic inventors behind Pavlok say. And by that they mean slapping their yellow and black mini torture device -- which masquerades as a “smart” fitness band that you (mostly) control via a companion smartphone app -- on your wrist, then letting it punish you with a painful electric jolt whenever you blow off a the goals you told it to track. The literally nerve-wracking product’s name is a nod to Ivan Pavlov and his infamous aversive electrical stimulus inhibition training.

The twisted wristband's founder and “Chief Habit Master,” Maneesh Sethi, seems to be a glutton for punishment. “Back in 2012, he hired a girl off Craigslist to, erm, slap him every time he went on Facebook,” Engadget’s Mariella Moon reports, “something he claims quadrupled his productivity." Uh, ok. Whatever works. Just go with it.

Sethi told Boston.com that the secret to Pavlok’s power to crush our bad habits and help build new, good ones doesn’t lie in the jumpy jolt it delivers. It’s what you do after Pavlok’s shock shakes you that makes the difference.

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“It is about training your brain to do the things you’re going to do,” using that age-old bad daddy, negative reinforcement. It really “does make people pay attention.” Pain -- It does a body good.

For a quick jolt of how Pavlok works, check out this, er, charged video:

Pavlok- The Habit Changing Wristband.mov from Pavlok on Vimeo.

Tough enough to sport one? You’ll have to fork over $129 dollars for your very own Pavlok pain shackle. It comes with the free app, a charger device (because electrocution!) and a Habit Change eBook. Oh, and all the motivating jolts you can handle, too.

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Edition: October 2016

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