Everyone has some habits that they would like to get rid of. And my guess is that you have probably tried, and failed. It’s not your fault. Habits are hard to break because they are deeply embedded in our brains from constant repetition.
But a device is taking a technological approach to helping you cut of the patterns that causes these bad habits. Meet Pavlok.
Created by Behavioral Technology, the bracelet/wrist band is geared towards helping people who hope to break some bad habits like smoking, biting nails or eating junk food. This device sends a 350-volt electric shock every time users engage in the habit they’re trying to quit.
According to inventor, Maneesh Sethi, the feeling experienced is like “touching a doorknob after rubbing your socks on the carpet.”
Pavlok allows you to speak your reptile brain’s language by adding an unpleasant element (a safe and harmless ‘zap’ of electricity on your wrist) to what you have been taught to love (your nasty lingering habit) quickly conditioning your mind to associate an ‘unpleasant’ feeling with your bad habit… and stopping it all together.
An unusual approach, the device has a button to shock your wrist if you engage in actions that you wish to discontinue. In addition to the button on Pavlok, it also has a mobile app for users. Via the app, users can set what response they want for the habits they want to quit – beep, zap, or vibrate and set the power of those actions.
However, the device is not fully autonomous. Users will still need a bit of willpower to tap on the app or the device for the zap whenever they are about to engage in those habits. Interestingly, users can connect trusted friends and family to the device. This means that the people close to you can also shock you from their phones when you do something you want to stop.
You can also link it to your bank account, so you get a shock for exceeding your spending limit, or use a GPS sensor to deliver an electric shock if you don’t go to the gym or get a shock if you oversleep past a set time.
On a full charge, the device can deliver up to 150 shocks a day. While Pavlok might not be the device users need to magically control their behaviors, it is an innovative and clever way to help users curb their bad habits.