NASA Wants iPad App Developers To Help Them Track Astronauts’ Diets

There’s a lot of things you have to keep track of in outer space. How much oxygen you have. Whether cosmic rays are irradiating your fellow crewmen. Which of your fellow astronauts are possible Russian saboteurs. How much murderous sentience your onboard space computer is exhibiting. And, of course, whether or not you are maintaining a balanced diet.

Right now, there’s not an app for that, believe it or not… but NASA and TopCoder, a program competition company, are working on that. And they need your help.

The challenge is called the Food Intake Tracker (or FIT) Challenge. TopCoder and NASA are asking app developers to help them design an iPad app that will let astronauts enter what they eat after each meal using a combination of barcode scanning, photographs and pictures.

What NASA wants is a quick app that an astronaut can enter their meals into with extreme quickness. In other words, they want astronauts to spend less than 15 minutes per week typing in calories.

The challenge recently opened, and will be going on until May, although you need to register soon to take part.

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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