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Jolly Tracker forces holiday cheer with a shock to the face

So you better not pout.

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The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time. But lets be honest, between the stress of picking out gifts, racking up credit card debt you can't afford and being forced to spend time with your creepy uncle there isn't a lot to smile about. Enter the JöLLY Tracker. It's a wearable of a different kind -- one that monitors just how much you smile. And, if you're not keeping that frown turned upside down, it gives you a gentle "reminder" to smile in the form of an electric shock... to the face.

This is the brainchild of the folks at McKinney, an ad agency that has worked with the likes of Samsung, ESPN and Big Boss Brewing. But for the holidays it's promoting itself and it's own work. Its team of creatives and hackers including Peter Nicholson, Danny Lee and John Benedict came up with the concept of a wearable that skips the normal metric tracking and goes straight for keeping you happy (smiling more can in fact make you feel happier). Now, the idea of forcing happiness through negative reinforcement may seem a little counterintuitive, but it does work. It's hard not to put on the JöLLY Tracker and not smile. For one, you definitely look more than a little ridiculous. But waiting for the shocks to come definitely puts a smile on your face (albeit a nervous one).

First Look: Jolly Tracker Santa Beard

The whole thing is pretty simple. A set of five electrodes are placed on your face: two to monitor muscle movement, two to provide the shock and one for ground (that last one is very important). Behind all that fake white facial hair is an Arduino, a Muscle Spiker shield and a TENS unit, which stimulates the nerves in your face with a gentle jolt of electricity. The whole thing is controlled from a simple mobile app that connects via bluetooth to the beard. It counts how many times a minute your smiling, shows the intensity of your smile and provides a handy countdown to your coming shock.

But enough talk. Check out the video above to watch this editor take jolts of electricity to the face. Repeatedly. Oh, and happy holidays!

After being laid off from his tech support job in the financial industry, Terrence decided to pursue his dream of working from home in his underwear. Through persistence and a lot of dumb luck, he eventually landed his first writing gig with the now defunct Switched. Since then he has continued to hone his craft while letting his more technical skills atrophy, eventually landing at Engadget. When not planted firmly in front of his laptop, Terrence can be found wandering the forests and mountains of the greater New York area with things strapped to his back that don't have an LCD screen.
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