Tech Talk: Pavlok Fitness Tracker Aims to Help Users Form Healthy Habits With Possible Shocking Results

 

Some of you may be familiar with a very famous Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov was known for his work in behavioral studies and Classical Conditioning. Well now there's a fitness tracker that uses his same ideas to help you not only get in shape, but change habits that may be unhealthy.

Pavlov's work in Classical Conditioning essentially gave a consequence for an action with the goal of making one quit that action. The most famous study is known as Pavlov's Dog. In that experiment, Pavlov would put meat powder in a dogs mouth. As the dog salivated, Pavlov rang a bell. After repeating this numerous times, Pavlov found that even if the powder wasn't placed in the dog's mouth, it would still salivate at the ring of a bell. Using a similar idea, a company called Behavioral Technologies has developed a fitness tracker to help train you to get into healthier habits, and possibly stop other ones.

The fitness tracker is being called the Pavlok which seems to be a play on Pavlov's name. While the Pavlok is still in alpha testing, Behavioral Technologies CEO Maneesh Sethi says they plan on starting a crowd funding campaign during September this year. While most fitness trackers require the user to initiate the workout, the Pavlok has a different way of getting you into shape.

The Pavlok has an accompanying app that will use both positive and negative reinforcement to get the user into shape. While positive sounds nice, the question is how can a wristband dole out a negative consequence to its user? Well the answer could be quite shocking to you. The Pavlok will send a little shock to the user if a preset goal is not met, like runtime or gym schedule. According to an interview with Business Insider, Sethi said, "You get used to vibrations," he continued, "You start to notice less and less when something is vibrating in your pocket and on your wrist. But you don't really get used to the shock."

Much like Pavlov, the Pavlok aims to not only help you track fitness, but to train your entire behavior as it concerns working out. While this is a great idea for some, others might be a bit hesitant. Keeping that in mind, Pavlok is not meant to be worn every day. Instead, the Pavlok is meant to only be worn when you're trying to form a new healthy habit. Once the act becomes natural, or a becomes a habit, then it is recommended to take the Pavlok off. That is until it's time to form a new habit. The Pavlok does have some specific habits it aims to fix or start for its user.

Some examples of instances when the Pavlok would be great to train you is when it concerns fitness, sleep and productivity. According to Sethi, "There are a few different habits that when you start to do them, the rest of your life improves naturally," He continued, "If you exercise you naturally tend to feel better. You naturally tend to sleep more...When you implement that one change, it has massive ramifications over the rest of your day." Though there is the shock, there is that aforementioned positive reinforcements.

One such reward for going to the gym on time is a double-edged sword. For those who feel a shock is too much, there is a lighter and just as hurtful option. You could allow the app to punish you with a charge to your credit card. In that same light, the app can reward you with money as well. The range is up to 30 cents as a reward, and up to $10 as a punishment. Though these details are still being worked out by the developing team of the Pavlok. While rewards are scarce, there is yet another form of punishment that has been suggested-public shaming.

The device will work on a buddy system and connected to Facebook. If you've missed your workout, the Pavlok could publicly shame you on your facebook page. The buddy system also relies on your friend to confirm or deny that you've met your goal. That way, the fitness tracker is sure it needs to shock, charge, or publicly shame you. Again, this fitness tracker may not be for the weak of heart, and only people who are determined to meet their goals in the aspects of fitness, sleep and productivity. For those of you who are willing to give this a shot, the fitness tracker has no confirmed release date. Though the prototype has a suggested retail price of $250. When the device is ready for public sales, the device will surely see a drop in that price.

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