With a name that was inspired by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov and his infamous experiments on conditional experimenting with dogs and bells, Boston-based Pavlok and its shocking wristband aims to make those wanting to improve their lives into those hungry and reflexive pooches. Perhaps the most shocking aspect, pun intended, has been Pavlok’s success on Indiegogo, crowdfunding its way to nearly $120,000, 239% its goal of $50,000 (note: the campaign still has 23 days left as of this post).
The idea is pretty simple, and has been around ages, albeit with a modern tech twist: do a particular action, or reap the consequences. With Pavlok, the user sets goals for themselves, such as going to the gym, and if they don’t follow through, the wristband punishes them, therefore establishing accountability. The punishments come in a number of different styles, with the most basic being a 340V electric shock, or the most elaborate being to have to pay your friends money. While this does seem like an odd way to improve your life, there are few better motivators for doing something than pain, or the embarrassment of paying your friends because you don’t want to work out for 30 minutes.
But the wristband isn’t just a device that you might soon grow to hate. If you stick with your particular goal, whatever it may be, Pavlok will reward your consistency and motivation with various methods of positive reinforcement, such as notifying your friends of your success, or even money. While the basics behind Pavlok seem a bit crude, there’s no denying the need for accountability when it comes to changing habits.
Inside the wristband is an accelerometer that monitors steps taken, sleep patterns and general activity to keep progress on your goals truthful, despite how nice it would be to lie and avoid getting shocked. Pavlok is currently available for pre-order for $150, with plans to ship in 2015.