Pavlok wristband gives out electric shocks to stop people eating and wake them up

The device is worn on the wrist and can shock people to “train their lizard brain” according to its creator, to stop habits like compulsive eating, exercise or too much internet use

A US company is set to launch a wristband that will hit users with electric shocks to help them break bad habits.

The Pavlok wristband raised over $250,000 (£160,000) on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, more than five times its aim. It can be pre-ordered for $199.99 (£127.70), and will be released in early 2015.

Its makers describe it as a “personal coach on your wrist”, and it can dole out electric shocks if its users are doing something that they shouldn’t. It can also shut down access to your phone and make users pay a fine.

The company says that “Pavlok is much more than a wristband”, selling the device on the apps that link with the device.

The company has initially built three apps to be used with the wristband: ‘Wake Up’, which works like an alarm clock; ‘Productive’, which tracks web surfing habits and shocks you if you’re getting distracted; and ‘Fit’, the fitness tracking app that the company says was its most requested app.

The system will be built with an open API, meaning that developers will be able to integrate it with new and existing apps.

Users can also activate the wristband manually, with friends choosing to zap you if you fail to keep to commitments.

The Pavlok’s website describes it in grand terms. “Pavlok doesn't just track what you do,” it says. “It transforms who you are. You’ll wish you had started today.”

The Pavlok can also be integrated with If This Then That, the online platform that can be used to automate certain devices or pieces of software. The company suggests a number of possible uses for the platform, including “Shock you when you text your ex-lover”, “Integrate with smart EEG brain devices to train and get feedback on your mental states”, and “Beep loudly any time you step inside of a McDonald's”.

The company was inspired by the work of Ivan Pavlov, whose conditioning experiments trained dogs to expect food each time a bell rang.

"By adding a shock while you eat, you train your lizard brain to associate the act of eating (or the type of food) with the shock—and it can effectively limit the drive for mindless eating that you normally have," Pavlok creator Sethi told The Daily Dot.