A WEARABLE FITNESS TRACKER that shocks you with a small electric current if you conveniently forget to go to the gym is now available for pre-order.
Developed by a company that goes by the name of Pavlok, the Pavlok Shocking Wristband, promises to break you out of your bad habits by delivering a short, sharp zap of 340 volts when you try to cheat yourself and indulge in less beneficial behaviour.
The wristband has built-in activity and sleep tracking, real-time haptic features and human contact detection, so it knows when you are wearing it, and a 340V electric shock circuit, all built upon Bluetooth 4.0 low energy connectivity.
The aim of the wearable is to encourage users to be more proactive, for example, exercise every day, be more productive online such as learn a new language, and wake up earlier.
The wrist strap links to an app that lets users choose what they want to accomplish and this information is then shared with their friends who can control what the forfeits will be if they don't achieve their goals.
"Pavlok will break your goal down into easy, manageable actions. Each day, Pavlok will push you to stay on track and form the lasting habit," the firm said. "Willpower isn't enough. Habit change requires accountability. You won't have to make the journey alone - Pavlok helps you find a partner or join a team of your friends."
Pavlok said the reason behind this is that social support and pressure will work to keep users on track of their goals so when they "hit a bump in the road", they'll be motivated to keep going, "or, they'll punish you".
Users can choose their level of commitment via the app and the Pavlok wristband will reward them when they achieve your goals, such as earning prizes and money when they complete their daily tasks.
"But be warned: if you fail, you'll face penalties. Pay a fine, lose access to your phone, or even suffer an electric shock," the firm warned.
Pavlok believes the shocking wristband will work because consistency is the key to forming a habit. "When you use Pavlok to stick to your goals, you'll find that they become easier and eventually, automatic," the company said.
The Pavlok Shocking Wristband is up for pre-order now from the firm's website and will ship sometime in 2015, though no specific shipping date has yet been set. Nor is a price.
However, with any wearable device, potential customers should realise that they probably shouldn't be trusted just yet, and the idea of shifting the collection of such sensitive and important personal information about our health to a device could be a dangerous thing.
As mentioned in an opinion piece about wearables last month, our views on this area developed during a charity hike across the length of the Outer Hebrides in June, when this writer and 14 other UK technology journalists tracked our activities with a range of different wearables.
The worrying discovery while completing the 135 miles of walking, cycling and kayaking were the anomalies between each of our wearable devices. Each of them depended on the same type of technology to present readings to their respective users, and what we found surprising was on the walk, we compared readings from our wearables and fitness tracking applications to find that, most of the time, not one of them showed the same readings.
Therefore, users should perhaps be more critical of the tracking devices we have tied to our limbs, and question whether wearable fitness tracking devices are really worth bothering with at all. µ