Winner of NIST Virtual Reality Heads-Up Competition.

FactualVR Announced by NIST as a Winner in national Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display Navigation Challenge

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) division recently awarded and announced the six (6) winners of the 2018 PSCR Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display Challenge. The four-stage challenge was designed to advance user interface (UI) design for first responders, who are rarely the target of such design, to complete navigational tasks.

“PSCR is taking a giant leap forward in solving public safety challenges using virtual reality in collaboration with industry and academia through our grant programs and prize challenges,” PSCR Division Chief Dereck Orr said, “Virtual reality allows us to create new test environments for public safety where we can envision future devices and HUDs existing in a real scenario without having a real incident. This allows public safety to virtually perform tasks and overlay all kinds of user interfaces. Then, we can measure it.”

User Interface (UI) technology research examines the interactions between a user and the technology, such as how they input, utilize and understand the data and communications through the technology. Examples of UIs include haptic feedback mechanisms (e.g., vibration through wearable technology), audio cues, and visual indicators (e.g., heads-up displays in the form of VR or even augmented reality). Such mechanisms can mean the difference between life and death when first responders are conducting rescue missions and their situational awareness is impaired. The Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display Navigation Challenge was designed to advance UI technology research for first responders.

Utilizing their ingenuity, software coding, and VR expertise, contestants created heads-up displays (HUDs) with visual aids and navigation elements that would help users (first responders) navigate quickly and safely through hazards to rescue a victim in the provided virtual reality environment. Contestants were encouraged to collaborate with their local first responder community and other experts in public safety to ensure the relevancy and applicability of their proposed HUD.

Contestants began the challenge in January 2018. Finalists presented their HUD prototypes in a live competition at the 2018 Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Meeting in June. PSCR, which also hosts the annual meeting, provided the VR test environment for competitors. Over 500 meeting attendees, who represent all segments of the Public Safety community, had the chance to interact with finalists and their tech. Competitors were adjudicated and awarded cash prizes.

Video of the FactualVR presentation can be seen here:

About the Challenge: For more information about PSCR’s Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display Navigation challenge and other funding opportunities, please visit: Reality-Heads-Up-Display-Navigation-Challenge/.

About PSCR: Since 2002, NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) has worked to drive innovation and advance public safety communication technologies through cutting-edge Research

and Development (R&D). PSCR works directly with first responders and the solver community to address public safety’s urgent need to access the same broadband communications and state-of-the-art technologies that consumers on commercial networks now expect.

About NIST: As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Founded in 1901, NIST is one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories. Today, NIST measurements support technologies from the smallest nanoscale devices to the largest and most complex engineering systems.