A company in Boston called Behavioral Technology Group has created a wristband called Pavlok that shocks people with 340 volts of electric current. After putting the product on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo, the company has raised three times the amount of their original goal of $50,000.
That’s largely because the company claims the wristband will help people break bad habits. Co-founder Maneesh Sethi explains during the promotional video created for Indiegogo, “Now I know that electric shock sounds crazy, but sometimes crazy works.”
The campaign garnered enough attention that more than 1,000 funders have pledged money to help fund the product. With their goal met, the company plans to start shipping the wristbands in March or April, 2015. The electric bands will retail for about $150, but they are being offered for $99 on the Indiegogo campaign page.
Sethi was inspired by the idea that led to Pavlok when he observed the Pavlovian impact of shock collars on dogs. The effectiveness of the wristband on humans, however may vary widely depending on the user, user’s bad habits, and the level of addiction.
In the medical journal Frontier, a 2012 research article addressed Pavlovian responses in humans. “The mechanisms modulating the impact of Pavlovian responses on instrumental [habitual and goal-directed] performance are largely unknown, both in human and non-human animals.”
In the Indiegogo video, a man who has tested the Pavlok wristband states that he lost seven pounds after using the band for approximately two months. He does not reveal specifically how the wristband helped him achieve that goal.
Sethi, who is backed by an undisclosed number of investors, says that when wearers begin to go back to bad habits, “Pavlok jolts them out of it.”
Pavlok’s Indiegogo campaign ends Nov. 29.