Get ready to enter the “Caffeine Zone”. Yep, someone by the name of Frank Ritter has come up with an iPhone app that can keep you within the Zone, where you stay at an even level of caffeinated bliss. Scien-tifically based on the field of research called “pharmacokinetics of caffeine”, the app will alert you when you might need to refuel to maintain alertness. More than alerting you to the need to refuel, the app will also warn you if you begin to teeter on the edge of “Sleepless in Seattle” territory. There’s actually a graph with color-coded zones displaying caffeine’s metabolic effects.
As writer Drake Bennett says, “It’s trajectory management: Launch rocket, achieve desired altitude, maintain orbit with tweaks.” It tells you to tank up in the morning and slow down with lesser amounts as the day goes on. The app is all about helping you to stay alert when you need to be while at the same time helping you to slow down and sleep when you need it. Ritter would like to add refinements, such as a “soda button” or the ability to key in that you’re a smoker. It might be news to many coffee lovers that nicotine actually helps the body to process caffeine more quickly.
You can put in body weight at present, but that’s about it for personalization. It’s the personalization criteria that would make this app more appreciated, applicable and appropriate. After all, everyone’s rate of metabolism plays a role, so not everyone needs the same amount of caffeine even with similar body weight. Some of us have developed more of a resistance to caffeine as well. So the app might be a fun toy for some, but everyone will have to tweak it where they can to make it more accurate. Hi-tech apps can be cool, but this is likely to be a ho-hum for those who drink coffee for the pure enjoyment of it and not for its caffeine effects. Here’s a less high-tech test: if you can say “pharmacokinetics of caffeine” three times fast, you’re probably wired enough. Brew on, your way.