Espresso makers: so old school. alessioparatore/Flickr

The Joule Caffeine Bracelet is doing its best to one-up coffee-to-go culture.

Like rude people on public transit, caffeine dependency is a near-unavoidable fact of urban life.

There have been efforts to accommodate it. An app exists so you can pre-pay for your coffee and bypass a bleary-eyed wait in long morning lines; some stores keep their doors thrown open around the clock to welcome the energy-deprived masses at any time of day or night.

But it is not enough. Hear that? It is not enough.

No, we as a society can no longer tolerate physical separation from our source of caffeine. The distance must be collapsed! Tear down this wall!

Lorelei from Gilmore Girls was ahead of all of this. (CatsLoveBooks13/Tumblr)

Adam Paulin and Alex Kryuk, the team behind the Joule Caffeine Bracelet, have heard the rallying cry loud and clear. Having far surpassed its crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo, the FitBit-esque accessory, set to hit the market this July, transmits caffeine directly into the bloodstream via a transdermal patch. The Indiegogo page explains:

The caffeine is administered gradually for a steady supply of caffeine and energy without any of the typical energy crashes, jitters or other negative effects of consuming your caffeine through beverages.

The patches mirror the technology of those containing nicotine, but they instead release an amount of caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee over the course of four hours. After that, you can either take off the bracelet, or insert another patch to keep the energy coming. Pre-empting the question of safety, the Indiegogo page reports that “there are no significant dangers of administering ingredients transdermally versus orally.”

A photo posted by Omni (@weareomni) on

In fact, the creators claim it’s fine to wear the bracelet (pictured above) while also sipping coffee or another energy drink; the patch’s gradual release technology means the caffeine hits your system with less of a shock. Plus, it frees you up to do all kinds of things made impossible by holding a cup of coffee (like running, for instance, or surfing a bumpy subway ride).

According to TechInsider, the patches are already FDA approved; the company hopes to secure further approval from the Administration as a natural health product “because its ingredients provide clinical-level potency.” Other coffee-replacement “smart drugs” called nootropics have also been deemed safe by the FDA, the TechInsider piece continues, but “they often contain a list of ingredients you'd need a pharmaceutical degree to understand.” Joule really just has one: caffeine.

Caffeine bracelet, $29 at Indiegogo.

About the Author

Eillie Anzilotti
Eillie Anzilotti

Eillie Anzilotti is a former editorial fellow at CityLab.

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