You’re in The Zone… The Caffeine Zone

4 Apr , 2012  

Next time you grab that cup of coffee, check your iPhone first.  More specifically, check Caffeine Zone, an app that monitors, predicts and displays your caffeine level in real-time.  
Caffeine Zone is the brain-child of Dr. Frank E. Ritter, a cognitive scientist at Penn State University.  Its data is based on empirical research results of the pharmacokinetics of caffeine. Ritter hopes the app will help users capitalize on the benefits of caffeine – enhanced focus, mental acuteness and energy – while minimizing the negatives effects of being over-caffeinated.  

Simply answer a few questions about your latest cup ‘o joe – amount, time of consumption, how quickly you drank- and the app generates a line chart displaying your predicted caffeine level for the entire day.  The chart lets you know when you are in your optimal caffeine zone (referred to this as the “cognitive active zone”) and when you have fallen down into sleep zone. 
The app is as addictive as the caffeine it is tracking.  After downloading and inputting my morning coffee information, I was pleased to see my line chart shoot up to optimal level.  About 11AM today, I received a push notification that I had fallen outside my “cognitive active zone”… time to refuel!  And while initially Caffeine Zone seemed to flirt the line of a caffeine-pusher, my attempt to input data for my late-afternoon latte proved otherwise.  After entering the latte stats into Caffeine Zone (Coffee, 12 oz, Consume speed of 20 mins), I received a popup warning telling me this drink would exceed by Max Optimal Level, leaving me over-caffeinated and setting myself up for trouble in making my custom-set 11PM bedtime.  
I must admit, I had the latte anyways.  But at least now, thanks to Caffeine Zone, I can plan accordingly for the late night ahead.