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IT Labs—Call for Projects
By Kevin Rosenquist, IT Labs Communications and Partnerships Coordinator

Since May of 2011, IT Labs has been acting on its vision to bring together diverse communities to seed IT-related ideas and solutions for the greater NASA community. IT Labs is a program of the Chief Technology Officer for Information Technology under the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) at NASA Headquarters.

Through an annual project call, IT Labs solicits ideas from within the NASA community. After past project calls, the review team selected projects to receive funding up to $30,000 over a 90-day period in one of four project phases: ideas/issues, proofs of concept, prototypes, or pilots. The scope of a project is limited to one of these phases and reviewed at the end of 90 days for potential continuation to the next phase. The goal of this approach is to produce more manageable activity for project teams and provide a sandbox for testing technologies and methods without committing to a more costly and time-consuming scope of research and development.

The approach has resulted in several promising project phases. One result was a collaboration between NASA’s Federal Personal Identity Verification (PIV) credential team and Google Apps to find new ways of sharing data. Another is the ongoing proof of concept project to help enhance the Johnson Space Center Intranet search engine with a combination of search resources from Wolfram Alpha. NASA’s Emerging Technology and Desktop Standards (ETADS), an Agency team located at the Glenn Research Center, is currently investigating options with their project, entitled, “Safeguarding NASA’s Mobile Assets.”

The next project call is scheduled for February 2013, and the team will begin accepting applications February 4. For more information, log on at http://open.nasa.gov/plan/it-labs/.