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Pavlok is an electronic device that helps users break bad habits by using a technique known as aversive conditioning. It uses a form of electric shock to help the user associate their desired behavior with something unpleasant, such as a stinging feeling.
Maneesh Sethi developed the device after he was struggling with social media addiction. He went so far as to hire someone from Craigslist to slap him when he diverted from Facebook, and this experience gave him the idea for Pavlok. The device delivers a small electrical shock that is less than a taser at 340 volts, but still causes a brief momentary discomfort. It can also vibrate or beep to alert the wearer that they’re spending too much time on their phones or hitting the snooze button too many times.
During his appearance on Shark Tank, the inventor gave each of the Sharks a Pavlok to try out. Robert Herjavec said he liked the design, but was concerned about the safety of the product. He asked for proof that it was safe, and Maneesh handed out pamphlets with citations of other studies.
Mark Cuban called the device a BS and refused to invest, but Kevin O’Leary was interested. He had a background in psychology and believed that aversion therapy worked, so he offered $500,000 for 3.14% of the company. Maneesh declined and left the Shark Tank without a deal.