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NASA Seeking iPad App for use in Space Stations

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A software house is calling for developers to create a new dietary tracking app for Apple's iPad for use by astronauts in an International Space Station (ISS) type environment.

TopCoder has launched two competitions for developers that are the initial phases which will build a fully functioning iPad application from concept to deployment using TopCoder's open innovation Community and process.

The complete challenge series is sponsored by NASA through its NASA Tournament Lab (NTL).

"We at TopCoder are delighted to be working on a new challenge with NASA and the ISS, following so closely behind the Longeron Challenge which was a highly specialized algorithmic contest," said Rob Hughes , President and COO of TopCoder, Inc. "This challenge will appeal to a broader set of digital creators and will span all areas of idea generation, prototype, develop and delivery through open innovation."

NASA's Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory, in the Human Health and Performance Directorate at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is seeking an open innovation solution on the iPad platform that monitors the dietary intake of crews during missions to prevent the possibility of crewmembers in an ISS-type environment not consuming enough calories and to prevent nutrient deficiencies and various health risks.

The benefits of using nutrition and dietary patterns as countermeasures to prevent negative conditions associated with spaceflight include the low risks for side effects, low costs, and minimal crew time required during flight. Research in other areas (for example, cardiovascular, muscle, bone, immunology, and radiation) has highlighted nutrition as integral to their success and indicated where additional efforts are required. These efforts will contribute to the safe human exploration of space.

The ISS FIT (Food Intake Tracker) iPad App challenge follows in quick succession to the recently completed Longeron Shadowing Optimization Challenge, a $30,000, open innovation competition to make the energy-gathering solar arrays of the International Space Station (ISS) more efficient by eliminating the shadows it casts upon itself at different points during orbit. More than 4,000 individuals registered for Longeron with 459 competitors producing 2,185 unique solutions in less than three weeks.

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Tags: USA