IT Innovation Contest

A team-based contest for creative IT solutions

Track your water intake

Proposal Status: 

Background: Sufficient water intake is important to health across the lifespan. It has been recommended that adults consume 2.2-3 liters per day of fluids, with “eight glasses per day” considered an acceptable minimal goal for most (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Certain groups have enhanced water intake needs, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women (UCSF Medical Center, 2012), those participating in active exercise (Mayo Clinic, 2012) and those on weight management programs (WebMD, 2012). The importance of adequate water intake has not escaped the attention of “app” developers. However, most available apps require user input of data to generate recommendations and charts. A recent review of readily available applications through the Apple Store® revealed many directed at water intake such as: “Get hydrated”, “Eight glasses a day”, and “Hydrate yourself”. However, all require direct user data input such as weight, goals or actual volume consumed to generate charts or reminders.  

Project description and deliverable: We propose an automatically generated tracker of water/liquid ingestion associated with the container itself. Embedded within a closed-bottom sleeve a weight sensor would measure the weight of liquid in the bottle, and approximate consumption based on weight change without necessitating direct data entry by the user. The sensor would transmit data via low-energy wireless radio technology to a mobile device. Data logging and generation of notifications would take place through a mobile application built using the OpenPATH mobile framework ( The use of a tracking sensor within the sleeve would accomodate use of reusable water containers. This automatic tracking system has universal appeal, including for those who exercise actively or those who participate in weight management programs. It could be especially advantageous in situations when logging of water intake is unintentionally neglected, e.g. the sleep-deprived breastfeeding mother, but for whom sustained adequate water intake is essential.  Our team includes representation from nursing and lactation support, as well as micro-devices and product innovation to create a meaningful deliverable: Track Your Water Intake

Impact on UCSF’s mission and/or community: The use and versatility of this deliverable is far reaching, yet consistent with UCSF’s core mission of caring, healing, teaching and discovering. We envision piloting this device in multiple clinical settings, such as a program supporting prenatal or breastfeeding mothers for whom the effect on postnatal milk production could be tracked. This caring and healing approach, merged with teaching and research is but one example of discovery that could be addressed with application of this novel deliverable.

Team Members (and % effort):

  • Annette Carley, UCSF School of Nursing/UCSF Medical Center: Project Coordinator (15%)
  • Fritzi Drosten, Lactation Specialist, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital: Project Consultant (5%)
  • Iana Simeonov, Insights & Innovation, mHealth Group/UCSF School of Medicine, ISU: Project Consultant (10%)
  • Philip Chung, UCSF Biomedical Microdevices Laboratory: Product Developer (35%)
  • Mozziyar Etemadi, UCSF Biomedical Microdevices Laboratory: Product Developer (35%)




While the concept is intriguing, in practice it may prove difficult as users would need to carry the sleeve and remember to use it. It may prove easier to just manually input the information rather than carry around a sleeve. An additional problem is taking the weight of the container itself into account: a plastic bottle has a different weight than a drinking glass.

Thank you for the feedback. Users could carry around the bottle-sleeve unit, with intent to refill...the refilling would be sensed by weight to imply consumption. The sleeve might also offer a measure of insulation, though this is not the primary intent.

If it were cheap/light enough, this seems like the kind of feature a water bottle manufacturer would want to build into their products. Have you considered doing a patent search on this?

Thank you for the feedback. We will consider your suggestion re: a patent search.

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