New Wearable Device Shocks You Into Submission

If you like wearables, but wish they did more to influence your behavior instead of merely tracking it, this new wearable might be exactly what you need.


2014 has seen all sorts of wearables, from smartwatches to fitness trackers.  Some wearables even plan to measure blood sugar and hydration.  It’s all been a fairly one way street, though, as demonstrated by the quantified self movement.  Most wearables gather data from the wearer, but other than providing analytics or occasional vibrations, there’s very little direct feedback.

So, wearables help to track lifestyle choices so you can know what your diet and exercise habits look like, but the current technology merely provides alerts about any needed changes.  The problem is, most people already know they need to change habits.  That’s why people get a wearable in the first place.  Now they just have numbers that represent how badly they need to change.

This is why many people ditch their wearables after only a few months of use and the reason Maneesh Sethi developed the Pavlok.  The Pavlok is a wearable that tracks your progress towards goals, just like any other wearable, but builds in the consequence of an electric shock if the goal is not met.  For example, it will vibrate in the morning to accompany your alarm clock, but if it is snoozed too many times, it will deliver a shock to the wearer.

It may sound rather harsh, but this may be a very desired feature for the more stubborn of us who need a little more persuasion than a polite vibration alert.  Pavlok doesn’t just hold you accountable for your own preset tracking goals, but also has a social component.  Did you commit to a friend that you would visit the gym?  If you don’t check in to the gym on Foursquare, your friend may deliver an electric shock to your wrist from across the internet.

This method may not be for everyone, but could be very effective for those that do stick with it.  Sethi himself says he has lost 30 pounds over just a few months of testing.  Obviously, Pavlok must be paired with a true desire to change or establish good habits to be successful, but for those that fit that description, Pavlok could be a powerful tool.

The lifestyle enforcement of Pavlok can extend far beyond just fitness purposes as well.  Imagine pairing it with an app like mint, where it will provide a shock any time a particular budget allowance is exceeded, or have it shock if you don’t clear your Gmail inbox by the end of the day.

If this type of behavioral enforcement sounds attractive to you, keep an eye out for Pavlok to launch a crowd-funding initiative in September. The prototype device currently costs $250, but once the device is available for retail purchase, Manish says it will have a cheaper price tag attached.

Source: Engadget

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