RE: Different elements in specific containers and sensitive strain gauges.
I don’t think that’s the case. Most of the micro nutrients and elements are going to be pretty much universal, so a single “dose” will be common for everyone. The things that vary based on sex, body type, and genetic predisposition can be be placed in supplemental containers (e.g. a women’s supplement that adds iron, folic acid, etc. above the normative dosage).
Also, you wouldn’t need minute measurements because that can be done in manufacturing by “cutting” the nutrient with a filler. You then standardize on the filler (e.g. rice flower) so that you have a known nutrient load embedded in the cutting agent and the bulk items (carbs,protein, fiber) can be adjusted automatically by the system based on how much cutting agent is used in the other cartridges.
So, you’d go to the “soylentbot.com” website, sign in and fill out a questionnaire and based on those answers, you would get your SoylentBot with an initial formulation for a week or two of use. If you experienced a problem (e.g. fatigue) then your order would be adjusted (e.g. more iron). You could also submit blood work panels and the system could use these to make adjustments to your orders as @rob did by hand. Further problems (or even benefits) could be submitted either between orders if it’s an emergency, or at time of reorder, thereby collecting data that could be used by a nutritionist and/or dietary physician to make adjustments to the expert system that makes adjustments to your orders, and to provide new products to meet special dietary needs (e.g. epileptics’ and diabetics needs to avoid carbs, possible allergies to certain ingredients, etc.).
Such a system would even be invaluable to for research purposes, allowing volunteers’ dosages of certain items to be adjusted under the supervision of the researchers, and their information collected using the same interface as the general questionnaire.
The problem with all this is I think is you’re going to run afoul of the FDA. This is especially true if you follow through on “prescribing” and “diagnosing” as I propose in the third paragraph. Expert systems have proven themselves to be much better than general practitioners in diagnosing disease within a narrow area of specialty (e.g. recognition of cancer based solely on reported symptoms), but nobody to my knowledge has ever been able to produce such a system commercially to give guidance to patients without running afoul of the FDA. I’d be interested in knowing if such a case exists. The solution for this may be to have a dietary physician involved in design and implementation and submit each generic “cardridge” formula as a basic dietary supplement which by passes the “safe and effective” rules of the FDA. Any “custom” cartridges, however, may require a prescription and each item in them may have to go through clinical trials, making it ridiculously expensive (and probably taking that option off the table).
I’m sure once you’re up and running, you can hire experts on this process to help walk through it. Considering the number of vitamin manufacturers in the US, the hurdles for supplements sound very doable, and the bulk items like whey, etc. should be no problem at all since they are clearly and recognizably food ingredients.