News | Jun 12, 2019

US Army scientists improving alertness optimization app with caffeine algorithm

A paratrooper savors his morning cup of coffee between firing missions at Grafenwohr, Germany where the 4-319 Field Artillery of the 173d Airborne Brigade is training.

John Hall/Army

Short on rest but no time to nap? The U.S. Army has your quick fix caffeine map.

A team of Army researchers, including Jaques Reifman, a senior research scientist at the Army Medical Research and Development Command, has built a “caffeine optimization app,” known as 2B-Alert, that notifies its users when they should drink a cup-o-joe.

Reifman presented the team’s most recent work in San Antonio on Wednesday at SLEEP 2019, the 33rd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

“For example, if you pull an all-nighter, need to be at peak alertness between, say, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and desire to consume as little caffeine as possible, when and how much caffeine should you consume?” Reifman said. “This is the type of question 2B-Alert was designed to answer.”

Army research indicates that almost half of U.S. troops are only getting 4-5 hours of sleep per night, and a timed, metered dose of caffeine can peak alertness levels for future events.

But it’s not just for soldiers. The web version of 2B-Alert is free to use for anyone who registers. And the Army research team recently announced improvements.

A 2B-Alert smartphone app has also been developed, but the Army is still seeking business partners who can finalize development and make it available for purchase and download.

TechLink, the Army’s technology transfer partnership intermediary, is helping businesses evaluate the commercial readiness of 2B-Alert mobile and guiding them through the licensing process.

Quinton King, a senior technology manager at TechLink, is leading the 2B-Alert licensing effort.

“2B-Alert can help users, military or civilian, make planning decisions. It would be a force multiplier for shift work, like nurses and doctors, pilots and drivers, or even students preparing for exams,” King said.


Licensing-related inquiries can be sent to Quinton King at quinton.king@montana.edu or by telephone at 406-994-7795.