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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Spaceflight Dietary Intake – there’s (soon) an App for that!

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The ultimate goal of this project was to develop an iPad application as a means to more accurately record dietary intake for each crewmember while minimizing crew time.  Desired features included: voice recording, photo, label, and barcode scanning, selecting from a list, and write-in capabilites. The challenge was successfully posted on the TopCoder platform, which is open to anyone worldwide. The funding for this project will then test the winning app in a ground-based model to determine accuracy and  efficiency.    

All aspects of nutrition are critical for crew health and optimal performance. Maintaining body, muscle, and bone mass are key challenges for astronauts, as are protecting against oxidative damage and cardiovascular deterioration. Dietary intake is a primary countermeasure for maintaining crew health. Currently, to monitor intake, crews complete a weekly Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ), in which they provide their best estimate of food items consumed each week. The FFQ is designed such that food items are grouped into 60-70 lines, and an algorithm is used to calculate average daily intake of 7 key nutrients (fluid, energy, protein, calcium, iron, sodium, potassium).  This grouping strategy allows crewmembers to complete the survey in 15 min/week.  This method works very well for some crewmembers, but not for others. The ISS Food Intake Tracker iPad app is intended to provide a viable, easier alternative.

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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