If you have trouble controlling cravings for fast food then perhaps it’s time to consider a self-administered electric shock next time you reach for the fries? Amazon is selling a bracelet that delivers a 350-volt electric shock every time you commit your bad habit.
That doesn’t have to be fast food – it could be smoking or sleeping past your alarm. And all it costs you is £193. Every time you misbehave, you’re supposed to administer the shock – the idea being that it rewires your brain to associate the activity with the uncomfortable zap.
Apparently, your mates can also download an app that appoints them as digital guardians, able to give you a buzz if they spot you breaking the rules.
‘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,’ explains the manufacturer on its Amazon page.
It has 150 shocks per charge, so, depending how much of a rule breaker you are, it could last a while. Inventor Maneesh Sethi says that while it isn’t as powerful as a shock from a tazer, it still delivers enough voltage to shock you make you jump. He told ABC news: ‘It feels like if you were to touch a doorknob after rubbing your socks on the carpet.’ He added: ‘There’s a real power in using a little bit of pain to help you break your bad habits.’
The idea was born out of Mr Sethi’s social media addiction. ‘I suffered from ADHD, and found myself addicted to Facebook. I wrote a blog post where I hired someone to slap me every time I went on Facebook, and my productivity skyrocketed,’ he said. ‘On the other hand, none of my many fitness trackers motivated me at all.
So I thought, ‘why are there so many devices tracking what I do, but not changing what I do?’ And Pavlok was born.’ Whether or not you want to strap one to your wrist to try and give up your cravings is another matter.