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Meet a device that some South Africans are using to shock themselves into breaking bad habits

Bad habits are hard to break. Temptation kicks in, and usually wins.

A wearable device designed in the USA, Boston, and sold online is already being used by South Africans to zap bad habits such as overspending, nail-biting, smoking and unhealthy eating. By Gugu Lourie

The device administer a mild electric shock to help users reduce cravings and permanently break bad habits.

It uses vibration, beep, tap, and zap sensations to train your brain to dislike bad habits and prefer good ones.

The device designer says the zap is an electric sensation that ranges from pleasant to slightly uncomfortable.

It’s called Pavlok.

Pavlok wristband is available to ship to South Africa, in fact we already have customers in South Africa, Sims McGrath III, director of marketing at Pavlok, told Techfinancials via email.

He added that anyone can purchase a Pavlok from pavlok.com.

The retail price is R2948.89 ($199).

Pavlok wristband uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to a smartphone, which then allows it to be triggered by third party apps or sensors.

Asked if the company have plans to invest in South Africa, McGrath III”, said: “We have no plans at this time to establish a South Africa office.”

The company claims that the device breaks habits by deleting temptation.

How it works

Simply pair the stimulus from Pavlok with the habit you want to break and the brain creates a Pavlovian association between the habit and the stimulus. Use a vibration to train awareness or act as a reminder, or use the electric stimulus to train the brain to have an aversion to the habit.

Pavlok’s stimulus can be triggered manually by pressing the top of the module, or it can be paired with an Android/iOS smartphone to adjust the strength of the stimulus or trigger the device automatically based on information from connected sensors like GPS, accelerometer, and more.

Pavlok also pairs with the popular service IFTTT so that you can trigger Pavlok based on your everyday activity. IFTTT lets you connect the apps and devices you use every day, such as Amazon Alexa, Facebook, Twitter, Fitbit, Slack, and more.


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