The Pavlok wristband, invented by Indian-American Maneesh Sethi, gives its wearers a mild electric shock if they fail at hitting work deadlines or completing fitness goals, among other things.
The wearable aims to utilize the concept of positive reinforcement to make changes to the behavior of the user.
Sethi is a blogger that gained Internet fame when he hired a woman to give him a slap whenever he mindlessly opens Facebook. The Pavlok aims to use the same idea in modifying user habits, starting off with negative reinforcement or punishments against bad behavior and then eventually moving on to positive reinforcement or praises for good behavior.
"Pavlok is the first bracelet designed to actually change your habits, and not just measure what you already do," according to Pavlok's official website, stating the product's promise to consumers while at the same time taking a shot against other wearable devices that only look to collect data from the user's actions and daily activities.
Pavlok users have the ability to program the wristbands to be able to change several habits, including opening less tabs when browsing the Internet and performing meditation every day.
Once the goal is assigned, users choose a "referee" that gets sent a text message to monitor the user's progress and status.
If the user is not able to complete their goal, they receive a mild electric shock, and then the device's app charges them money. If the user completes the goal, they then are rewarded with incentives such as lottery tickets and money.
"The negative gets you started and the positive keeps the habit going," said Sethi. "As you start to succeed, you can take away the negative reinforcement and give positive reinforcement."
One example by which Sethi himself uses the Pavlok is through an alarm. The wristband vibrates every 6 a.m. as an alarm, which Sethi can hit the snooze for. However, once the alarm goes off again and Sethi hits the snooze button for the second time, then the Pavlok will send a shock to Sethi.
"Essentially, it's a wristband that electrocutes you into submission action," said Sethi.
The device, which likely has a launch date of later this year, will have a retail price of $250. Sethi's company has so far received $100,000 in investments for the development of the Pavlok, with a crowdfunding campaign being planned to raise more money to begin production on the first batch of wristbands.