Perfect gift for developers: Caffeine you can inhale instead of drink

Big problem with Pizza Method: Too hard to fit Mt. Dew bottles under the door

For years the (theoretically) most successful process to produce custom-designed corporate software was the "Pizza Method."

You lock your developers in a room, lock it behind then and keep shoving pizza under the door until the code is finished.

It's an old joke that's missing one vital component: caffeine.

Developers depend more on on Red Bull, Mountain Dew Red, double-espresso-shot macchiatos and anything else with caffeine than they do even on pizza.

All that liquid is problematic, though. Coffee and soda are harder to squeeze under a door than pizza, for one thing. And unless there's a bathroom in your developer's suite the one paying for the pizza won't be the only one complaining when the project is finished.

Luckily there is a solution that is not only compact enough to fit under a door, it could be piped in through the air conditioning vents.

AeroShot Pure Energy is an inhaler that puffs out 100mg of caffeine – about the same as in a cup of coffee – contained in a fine powder users can inhale easily with no ill effects, according to the creators.

AeroShot – which I'm only about half convinced is not a practical joke making fun of either idiotic product development or the drive to put caffeine in everything from bottled water to soap – is the invention of a Harvard engineering professor whose self promotion paints him as at least as much artist as scientist.

David Edwards is a chaired professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard, a chemical engineer by training and energetic advocate of combining biological and artificial systems by avocation.

He is also an explicit advocate and promoter of Creativity as founder of the ArtScience Labs (which "catalyze idea translation through art and design experiments at frontiers of science") and author of two books on the role and promotion of creativity in science and among the "Post-Google Generation."

Though the category title sounds unlikely, one of the Breathable Foods is actually the design for almost-nanoparticle-sized whiffle balls into which pharmaceutical makers can insert or attach drug molecules. Having a framework that small could make a wider variety of drugs available as inhalants, which are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly and directly.

Drugs compacted into pills or capsules have to be designed so the process of digestion doesn't cause them to deteriorate into ineffectiveness, or deliver the dosage in unpredictable surges as the pills are broken down and the drug molecules are absorbed into the blood through the walls of the intestine.

Inhalants get drugs into the bloodstream faster than any method other than direct injection.

Inhalable caffeine is an unusually frivolous application of an idea clearly intended to have wide-ranging impact on culture and medicine.

It also trivializes the idea of portable, easily available stimulants, though caffeine isn't exactly a controlled substance. It's actually harder to avoid some food and drinks with caffeine than it is to seek them out.

Caffeine also stubbornly resists research efforts to prove long-term negative consequences on blood pressure, cholesterol, digestion or any of the other functions stimulants typically attack.

There's not even a risk to the lungs, according to AeroShots literature. The fine dust in the canisters is inhaled, but the particles are too large to descend into the lungs. They stick to the walls of the mouth and throat and dissolve there.

"A quick hit of caffeine that's ready any time, any place. Aeroshot gives you a higher level of freedom and control that you can get only from airborne energy," the advertising copy on the AeroShot site reads.

"It's safe, healthy and, unlike most energy drinks, there are no calories."

There's no price available, but there is a countdown that puts the release date at each thumb-sized canister of AeroShot (on twitter as @aeroshotenergy) gives 6-8 puffs of caffeinated powder, each equivalent to about one cup of coffee, according to the site.

LeWhif – inhalable chocolate, that also comes in a coffee flavor, but only carries 18mg of caffeine – sells for between $3 and $8 per canister.

If you're a little droopy right now, you're out of luck, though. AeroShot doesn't go on sale until Jan. 16, though if you sign up for a sample, the site promises to get you one within two or three weeks.

If you'd prefer not to inhale and don't like the usual range of energy drinks, ThinkGeek has a range of purposely wacky caffeinated drinks, including IVs of Zombie Blood.

It also has a whole page of edible, suckable or otherwise ingestible caffeinated products, including popcorn, mints, Pixie Stix, marshmallows, candy, pills, gum and straws.

There honestly is at least one brand of caffeinated soap, though I can't imagine the benefit. Maybe in case a hot shower causes you to relax too much?

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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