For the masochists among you: A U.S. company has just raised $254,133 via an Indiegogo campaign to fund a wearable "personal coach" that shocks you into self-directed compliant behavior.

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It's called Pavlok — as in Pavlovian conditioning — a habit changing device that will shock you with 255 volts when it detects undesirable behavior, such as wasting time on useless websites.

According to the manufacturer, Behavioral Technology Group, Inc., it's the first device to help you form good habits, break bad habits, and "stick to your commitments, using any means necessary."

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The developers offer some potential applications:

  • Shock you when you text your ex-lover
  • Remind you to take your medicine, and connect to a smart Pill bottle to prove compliance
  • Beep loudly any time you step inside of a McDonald's
  • Improve your golf swing or powerlifting technique using other wearable sensors and our scalable vibration motor
  • Help you meditate by having you commit to a training app
  • Integrate with smart EEG brain devices to train and get feedback on your mental states
  • Use Pavlok to remind you to eat more protein or walk more steps
  • Ensure that you get up from your computer every hour to stretch
  • Train and remind you not to go on distracting websites in real-time

Pavlok starts with punishment for bad behavior, and then moves on to positive feedback (like a victory chime).

The device costs $249, with an estimated date-to-market of January 2015.

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A neat BBC featurette showing the device at work:

The "science" of Pavlok:

More here.