Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

First Responder Feedback on a VR Emergency Response Scenario and User Interface

Back to the PSCR 2020 Portal

FR Feedback on a VR Emergency Response Scenario and UI_On-Demand Session
FR Feedback on a VR Emergency Response Scenario and UI_On-Demand Session
First responders are seeing a significant increase in the amount and types of data available to them while responding to emergencies. This increase can be partly attributed to an increasingly sensor-rich world. To maximize the value of these data sources, user interfaces must be designed to allow first responders to interact effectively with them and respond in an effective and timely manner, without inducing undue errors or additional mental workload. This is particularly important for presenting firefighters with task-critical information through Heads-Up Displays (HUD). A critical challenge facing designers is ensuring firefighters receive the right information, in the right format, at the right time without imposing significant levels of mental workload or frustration. Moreover, firefighters must be able to use HUD interfaces efficiently and effectively without committing unnecessary errors due to poor design. The objective of this project is to address this issue by examining the effect of intelligent user interfaces on firefighter performance in a fully immersive VR-based emergency response scenario. Intelligent user interfaces leverage state-of-the-art artificial intelligence techniques to improve human-computer interaction. In this session, we will describe the development of a VR-based emergency response scenario that serves as a testbed for evaluating the efficacy of intelligent user interfaces for first responders as well as the development of a prototype VR-HUD for presenting firefighters with task critical information at the point of need. We will discuss design changes our team has made to the VR emergency response scenario and HUD based upon feedback collected from our Public Safety Organization (PSO) partners at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to guide our human-centered design approach. We will also describe the results of a recent usability evaluation that captured firefighters’ feedback and reactions to the VR scenario and prototype intelligent user interface. The session will conclude with lessons learned from our development and testing process and a discussion of our research plans for the fall.



  • Randall Spain, North Carolina State University
  • Donia Slack, North Carolina State University

Related Content

Created May 19, 2020, Updated October 28, 2020