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There’ll soon be a literally shocking new way to control your spending

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Reuters/Nic Fulton
“If this won’t stop you, nothing will!”
  • Joon Ian Wong
By Joon Ian Wong

Technology Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s Pavlovian conditioning for the internet age: Spend beyond your budget, and a bracelet will deliver a jolt of electricity to your wrist. That’s what Intelligent Environments, a British software vendor to banks like HSBC and the Bank of Ireland, has announced today (May 19).

The firm developed a platform called Interact IoT that connects to Pavlok, a brand of electro-shocking wristbands. Users can connect their credit cards or bank accounts to Pavlok, for instance, and set a spending threshold that will set off a vibration or electric shock of up to 340 volts if the limit is passed.

Here’s a video showing that in action:

A slightly less painful, but no less uncomfortable, use of the platform is to hook your bank account up to your Nest thermostat. Spend beyond a certain limit and the thermostat is dialed down to a temperature that you set. Users can save £255 ($372) annually by reducing their thermostat temperatures by 3°C (5.4°F), the platform says, citing figures from Energy Saving Trust, which researches consumer energy-saving initiatives in the UK.

Alas, the thrifty among us don’t yet have the option of treating our spending habits with electric shocks. The Interact IoT platform is offered to banks, who then roll it out to their customers. According to a spokesperson for the company, no bank in Intelligent Environments’ stable of customers has yet announced plans to do so.

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