VR Challenge Seeks to Better Prepare First Responders

Challenge.gov has posted this challenge on behalf of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Public Safety Communications Innovation Accelerator

The First Responder Virtual Reality (VR) Heads-up-Display (HUD) Navigation Challenge is a VR (virtual reality) prize competition that requires ingenuity, software coding and VR expertise to create a concept for a heads-up display (HUD) with unimpeded visual aids.  The results will support the public safety community and its stakeholders.

Solutions should help advance User Interface (UI) technology through research.  Historically, UI design has been broad and rarely targeted for Public Safety however, it’s critical that first responders complete their tasks efficiently and effectively with minimum impediment.

UI is “the means by which a user and a technology system interact; including how users input, access, and navigate data and communications through the technology.”  Examples of UIs are haptic feedback mechanisms (e.g., sound, vibration), vocal commands, and visual indicators (e.g., heads-up displays).

(First Responders) Opportunity to Venture Smarter

NIST Public Safety Communications Research Program is hosting this 4-stage challenge, with prize awards up to $125,000 (prizes plus travel) for the top 7 designs. In addition to the cash prize, finalists will have speaking engagements, networking opportunities, and paid travel to the 2018 PSCR Stakeholder conference. There are no fees or qualifications to enter the first stage.  The Stage 1 winning ideas will be eligible for remaining stages of the competition. 


Contest Details:


Concept Paper Contest

STAGE 1 - DEADLINE 1/26/2018

The Concept Paper Contest invites all eligible contestants to complete a concept paper outlining their knowledge, skills, capabilities and approach for this challenge. The contest will be divided into two groups; concepts for Firefighters and concepts for Law Enforcement. Contestants’ concept papers will be reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts and judges to select those contestants to be invited to the challenge kickoff webinar. Contestants selected by the judge panel will be eligible to move forward to the Working Concept and HUD Prototype contest.

Working Concept and HUD Prototype

STAGE 2 - OPENS 2/5/2018 - DEADLINE 3/9/2018

The Working Concept and HUD Prototype contest will be open to up to 30 invited contestants. Contestants will bring their concept to life by creating the software code for compliance testing, based on a Vive Unreal VR environment, and evaluation of general usability and functionality. Contestants can create their working concept HUD prototype in any compliant environment. Based on the compliance testing and functional evaluation, up to 16 contestants will be invited to participate in the next contest, HUD Prototype Test & Evaluation Round 1.

HUD Prototype Test & Evaluation Round 1

STAGE 3 - OPENS 3/19/2018 - DEADLINE 5/11/2018

PSCR will provide up to 16 contestants with a fully functional VR environment, scenario details (i.e., Law Enforcement Hostage and Fire Fighter Earthquake) and operational parameters for fire (i.e., Oxygen levels, temperatures, victim location, hazard locations) and law enforcement scenarios (i.e., hostage location, partner location, threat location, time-based hazard) to contestants for interactive testing and evaluation of their initial HUD prototype. Each contestant’s HUD prototype must meet UI/UX and functional navigation elements, for example, oxygen/time-based hazard and temperature for fire. The contestants are encouraged to collaborate with mentors and advisors and complete a series of interactive tests and evaluations to improve their prototype. Up to 10 contestants will be invited to the HUD Prototype Test & Evaluation Round 2 contest. Contestants invited will receive travel funding to attend the June 2018 PSCR Stakeholders Meeting, up to $4,000 per contestant or team, and compete in the final contest of the challenge.

HUD Prototype Test & Evaluation Round 2

STAGE 4 - OPENS 6/4/2018 - DEADLINE 6/9/2018

Contestants will complete a series of live demonstrations using their HUD prototype in NIST PSCR’s virtual reality environment at the June 2018 PSCR Stakeholders Meeting. Each contestant will have the opportunity to attend the meeting, interact with over 500 meeting contestants who represent all segments of the Public Safety community, and compete for up to seven (7) cash prizes. HUD prototypes will be tested and evaluated by the NIST PSCR Judge panel for final awards (1st Place $25,000; 2nd $20,000; 3rd $15,000; 4th $10,000; 5th $7,500; 6th $5,000; 7th $2,500).