Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Caffeine Concentration Assay

Determine the true value of what comes out of that vending machine / coffeehouse.
  (+7, -4)
(+7, -4)
  [vote for,

A fast (<1 min.) chemical assay, possibly colorimetric (a la litmus test) that would indicate the approximate concentration of caffeine in a liquid. Even better: a device containing a chemoelectric sensor (similar to the glucose-detecting device used by diabetics) which would provide a digital readout when dipped into a drink. Is there a fundamental physical reason why such a thing could not exist?
dsm, Sep 09 2001

Caffeine FAQ http://www.cs.unb.c...aq.html#HowMuchCaff
Frequently asked questions about caffeine, including the amount of caffeine in various drinks (for [jabbers]). [wiml, Sep 09 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       I can't think of a reason this wouldn't be possible. Certainly semi-permeable membrane and other kinds of sensors have developed greatly in the past 20 years. Question of demand for the product, probably.
Dog Ed, Sep 09 2001

       NMRS (nuclear-magnetic resonance spectroscopy) machines have been developed with very small sample chambers, around a milliliter, and they are used for nutritional and chemical assays. They're probably hugely expensive, but if there were enough demand to get them mass produced I don't see why they couldn't be as cheap as, say, $100. And you could get complete chemical information, not just caffeine!
wiml, Sep 10 2001

       I've always wondered what the relative concentrations of caffeine in coffee and Coke are. On the other hand, UnaBubba's point on this recent (?) craze on putting all kinds of wake-up drugs in drinks and foods (eg new Viking bars) concerns me somewhat, considering the general health and sanity implications to society in general.   

       As a non-coffee-drinker, I therefore remain ambivalent about this potential technology.
jabbers, Sep 10 2001

       Surely you're not implying a connexion with wake-up juice? Nah, that'd be almost as stupid as thinking increased fast-food consumption was related to obesity levels.
jabbers, Sep 10 2001

       PeterSealy: Well, if you're using chemoelectric sensors as dsm originally posited, each new chemical you're testing for will add cost and complexity, so it makes sense to keep the number of tests to a minimum. If you're using a more generic technology (like NMRS, as I suggested earlier), then sure, you might as well sense everything (as I suggested earlier). It all depends on your sensor technology.   

       I'd love to have a sensor like this to deal with my annoying food allergy...
wiml, Sep 11 2001

       I can think of no possible disadvantage of caffeine consumption (including possible early death) that is not outweighted by its ability to temporarily increase intelligence (for all practical purposes, that is its desirable effect.)
dsm, Sep 11 2001

       I guess that depends on how much intelligence you're starting out with.
jutta, Sep 17 2001

       Is it possible to test for BSE in meat?
po, Sep 18 2001

       Why not have sellers of caffeinated foods and beverages include caffeine content (mg/serving) on the nutritional-information labels? I can't imagine they don't know how much is in there.
supercat, Jan 16 2002


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