New Year resolutions?

Expect the sort of shock you might get when you touch a door handle after walking across a carpet, I’ve been told. But the 340 volts administered to me are worse than that — enough to make me jerk my arm involuntarily and produce a stifled ‘Ow!’ followed by nervous laughter.

The discomfort isn’t as bad as touching an electric fence and certainly not enough to cause harm — but it’s not something I want to repeat.

The black rubber wristband I’m wearing had given me a two-second warning of its intentions, when an LED light buried inside it flashed a few times. But I suspect that just made me tense up, so the burst of electric current the bracelet delivered from the two copper terminals touching my skin was even more effective.


Dubbed a wearable personal trainer, the Pavlok bracelet is designed to make us stick to our New Year resolutions and prevent us from indulging in habits we know are bad for us.

It is named after the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov, whose famous test dogs were fed whenever a bell rang — and so eventually started to drool at the mere sound of one ringing.

Relying on a similar conditioning technique, the idea behind the bracelet is that the wearer will be shocked so many times for indulging a bad habit that he, or she, will come to associate that indulgence with pain — and so avoid it.

Over-eating, smoking, drinking, not exercising, getting up late, even spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter: all such vices can be ‘cured’, it is claimed, by using the Pavlok to administer electric shock ‘aversion therapy’.

(While the voltage sounds high, the makers are confident it is safe: the danger posed by electricity relates to the strength of the current — low in this case — rather than the voltage.)