NIST Researchers Working on Virtual Reality to Train First Responders

National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers are hoping “to make virtual reality simulations more of a reality for first responders, enabling firefighters, law enforcement officers and others to learn and practice how to best operate and communicate in emergencies,” according to a news release issued today. “NIST staff are developing virtual environments featuring scenarios such as firefighting in hotels. The goal is to spur industry to come up with user interfaces — visual indicators, sounds, voice commands — that are better, cheaper, proven effective and brought to market faster than otherwise would be possible. Such interfaces could be embedded in firefighters’ masks or smart glasses worn by emergency medical technicians, for example. A visual display might show the temperature or audio might warn that oxygen is low in a backpack tank. The idea is to present helpful data in an intuitive and nonintrusive manner.” “There is currently no method to test and measure user interfaces for first responders,” said NIST project leader Scott Ledgerwood. “We want to enable development, testing and rapid prototyping of these interfaces in a safe, controlled and repeatable environment.” – Courtesy TR Daily