Press Release

New TopCoder Challenge: Create an iPad App to Help NASA Track Astronauts’ Diets

By SpaceRef Editor
February 15, 2013
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New TopCoder Challenge: Create an iPad App to Help NASA Track Astronauts’ Diets

Multi Phase Open Innovation Project with NASA Tournament Lab Seeks New Ideas and Functionality for Nutritional Biochemistry Lab

TopCoder(R), Inc., the world’s largest open innovation platform and competitive community of digital creators, today launched the first two of a series of open innovation challenges to create a new dietary tracking application for use by astronauts in an International Space Station (ISS) -type environment. The ISS FIT (Food Intake Tracker) iPad App Conceptualization and Voice Command Idea Generation and other competitions are now open on the ISS FIT Challenge home page (TopCoder and TopCoder Studio registration required).

These are the first two of multiple phases of the challenge 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), an online virtual facility that harnesses the capabilities of the TopCoder Community to create innovative, efficient solutions for specific, real-world challenges being faced by the space agency.

“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.

About NASA Tournament Lab

NASA and Harvard University have established the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), which, with the enabling capabilities of the TopCoder community, allows for competitions to create the most innovative, most efficient, and most optimized solutions for specific, real-world challenges being faced by NASA researchers. The NTL provides an online virtual facility for NASA researchers with a computational or complex data processing challenge to “order” a solution, just like they would order laboratory tests or supplies. Learn more at the official NTL Website.

About TopCoder, Inc.

TopCoder is the world’s largest open innovation platform and competitive community of digital creators with more than 460,000 members representing algorithmists, software developers and creative artists from over 200 countries. The TopCoder Platform and Community create digital assets including analytics, software and creative designs and solutions for a wide-ranging client base through a competitive, rigorous, standards based methodology. Combined with our extremely talented community this groundbreaking methodology results in superior outcomes for our clients. For more information about sponsoring TopCoder events and utilizing TopCoder’s software services and platforms, visit

TopCoder is a registered trademark of TopCoder, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Jim McKeown
TopCoder, Inc.
[email protected]

SpaceRef staff editor.