The wearable Pavlok device uses electric shock, vibration, beeps and social media to help users change their behavior. E.g., if you skip the gym you get a small electric shock and an automatic post to your Facebook wall saying you didn’t go. Pavlok is based on 80+ years of scientific research, including aversion therapy.
Pavlok is extremely effective in breaking entrenched habits such as smoking, nail biting, hair pulling and eating sugar – as well as creating healthy habits like drinking enough water, eating well and exercising.
One of the most documented use cases is smoking, where electric shock consistently results in total abstinence of the habit for 50%+ of users.
Here is the evidence:
- We recently conducted a trial at New England Baptist Hospital. 8 of the 10 participants completely quit smoking in 10 days or less.
- In a 1988 study, 832 smokers had 5 days of electric shock and support groups. In a follow up 13.7 months later, 52% of participants remained totally abstinent.
- In a 1970 study, electric aversion therapy was used on 14 participants. The overall average of 21.5 cigarettes on the day before treatment dropped to an average of 1.4 cigarettes per day after the third aversion session and most patients stopped smoking within five sessions
- Marty, a Pavlok user quit his pack a day habit in 3 weeks
- Carlos, a Pavlok user quit his 15 year habit in 5 days
We would like to do a larger pilot for the smoking use case, and use the shock, vibrate and beep technology to help users quit their habit – as well as social media for accountability and reinforcement of their positive change. The HealthBridge messaging technology could be used to keep the practitioners involved, or in group training sessions that add further support and accountability.
However there are many other use cases with supporting research. As an alternative, we propose the following trials:
In one clinical trial we propose integration with Nuance speech recognition technology. Early Pavlok users have requested features like voice monitoring so that they will be shocked if they raise their voice, curse, or say “umm” during presentations.
In another clinical trial we propose an integration with Muse headbands in order to improve meditation performance in fewer sessions than normal. There is supporting evidence that Pavlok’s vibration can refocus a user on their meditation and create greater awareness of the moment. There is also evidence of improved memory and recall.
In another clinical trial we propose an integration with Misfit Shine in order to further help users create healthy habits. If a user is underperforming with points on a given day they can be vibrated as a reminder to get active. Then if by a set time they haven’t completed their daily goal of walking, running, swimming, etc. they will be shocked.
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