News | Feb 8, 2019
Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was the first chemist to isolate caffeine
A new app can tell you how much to drink but it needs a business to take it public
If you are among the two-thirds of Americans who drink a cup of coffee each morning for an arousing shot, you can lift a mug to Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, the German chemist honored in Friday’s Google Doodle for his 225th birthday.
Runge changed the course of history in 1819 with a chemistry experiment that led to the first-ever isolation of caffeine. The experiment began when his friend Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe gave him some coffee beans as a gift.
Today, millions of people around the world consume caffeine in coffee, soda, energy drinks, and food.
How much caffeine we need to maximize human performance is the focus of new science.
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Biotechnology High-Performance Computing Software Applications Institute (BHSAI) has created the 2B-Alert mobile app, which learns a user’s specific responses to sleep loss and caffeine consumption and their impacts on the cognitive performance.
The smartphone app contains algorithms that predict current and future alertness and cognitive performance based on a series of psychomotor vigilance task tests (timed taps on the touchscreen) and the individual’s sleep and caffeine intake data.
2B-Alert could be further developed to automatically log sleep data from fitness devices and generate sleep and caffeine schedules to optimize user performance for given times in the future.
Potential applications include exam preparation, truckers, air traffic controllers, pilots, clinical and research studies involving sleep and caffeine.
Recent work has extended the capabilities of the 2B-Alert technology to predict an optimized caffeine diet to maximize alertness over some future time period or to maintain a target alertness level without increasing overall caffeine consumption.
Although not yet available for public download, businesses and entrepreneurs can license 2B-Alert for final development and delivery of a downloadable app. Licensing fees are negotiable, and TechLink provides no-cost licensing assistance. The first step is to contact Quinton King, senior technology manager at TechLink.