As final drinks are being called on the second-last day of Build, we’d like to shine a light on an app that should be considered staple at web design conferences worldwide. Conceptualized by Andy McMillan at Build, then designed and built by Nicholas Felton and Go Free Range, Caffeine Monitor calculates and displays the vital signs of attendees. That’s right, we’re talking the number of drinks consumed and the ever-important caffeine content therein:

Caffeine Monitor in action

Naturally, we’re well pleased to have lent a hand in bringing this beautiful creation to Build and would love you to check it out.

Grinding the numbers (and beans)

Collecting results on the iPhone
Picture by @eoghanmccabe

Probably one of the last things you need is a counter showing how much caffeine you personally consume on a daily basis. But when it comes to plotting the litres (or gallons) of coffee and tea being consumed across an entire conference, then things get fascinating.

To collect the data required to power Caffeine Monitor, a simple web app was created and distributed to the folks serving coffee and tea over the duration of the conference (see right). Using data from the app and some constants like the number of attendees present and the amount of liquid and caffeine within each precious cup, Caffeine Monitor gets to work, updating live for display on the main stage and TV’s around the venue.

Caffeine Monitor, live on screen
Picture by @deadlysatsuma

Personally, I love how Caffeine Monitor displays ‘Audience Caffeination’ and the number of lethal caffeine doses consumed collectively. However, finding out that each attendee consumed a mere 1.91 drinks at the time of writing seems weaker than a watered-down chai latte. Being Ireland, I can only assume they’re drinking something else between the caffè Americanos.

So if you’re at Build, give @feltron and @freerange a pat on the back for being good sports. Either way, check out Caffeine Monitor. It really is a sight for sore (and sleepless) eyes.

Building a beautiful web

Getting involved with Build was a no-brainer for us, given that it’s boutique design conference in Belfast with a higher concentration of talent than Guinness has barley. In its second year running, it’s pulled in some of the big names like Tim Van Damme and Frank Chimero to present, alongside a range of sideshows including a typography exhibition, lectures and a good old-fashioned pub quiz. Be part of it by following @buildconf on Twitter.

  • Damien


  • Russell Steedman

    wow I had no idea this stuff was sssooo technical!

  • Nickolas Simard

    That is… beautiful! Truly! A pure work of art! :D
    Geez I love developers!

  • Sean Schendel

    Interesting… for those interested in tracking their real time caffeine level… check out the Caffeine Tracker app for Android!

  • Ed Henderson

    I was at Build Dave and it was great to see your app, especially on the big screen. Great job.

  • The Java Medic

    I love this… Very cool!!

  • Morgan Friberg

    This is AWESOME! You guys should enter this wallboard in Atlassian’s ‘Ultimate Wallboard Contest.’ It’s live for another week or so:

    You could win a flat screen TV and other prizes. Good work!

  • sisync

    На страничку наткнулся ненароком.. Но обязательно зайду ещё! Классная статья!

  • Geoff Bowers

    This is great! Would love to see such a wondrous work at webdu 2011 :) Is this something you are pioneering with other conferences?

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Geoff – Contact our team and we could possibly sort something out for webDU ;)

  • James Adam

    We (Go Free Range) have posted about building Caffeine Monitor on our blog, if you’re interested in how everything works behind the scenes: Building Caffeine Monitor.

  • Viktor Nagornyy

    My caffeine consumption might break your app haha! Really cool app.

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