In April 2021, BadVR was awarded $1.1M for the Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program: Augmented Reality (AR) cooperative agreement.
As data grows dramatically in scale and complexity, existing analysis tools struggle to keep up. Within the public safety sector, the stakes are raised as people’s lives and livelihoods are at risk. Real-time information from traffic cameras, IoT sensor networks, and even health monitors can influence life-or-death decisions during emergency response. When that data is overwhelming or confusing, it impedes the effectiveness of this response and disrupts situational awareness. Fortunately, AR offers a new opportunity for much-needed innovation in analytics and visualization that hopes to make an immediate and significant impact on first responder operations and communications.
BadVR seeks to design and develop a prototype AR application for public safety operator and operations center activities. By leveraging novel immersive technology, first responders will have better access to critical decision-making information while maintaining situational awareness. Their involvement and engagement throughout the research process will culminate in the release of a free public app fed by live data that facilitates future research and commercialization beyond the end of the project period.
BadVR’s team is made of 14 individuals with diverse backgrounds including software development and engineering, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and even interior design.
The proposed research will be characterized by co-creation, rapid prototyping, and hands-on testing. At least four public safety organizations will be actively engaged throughout the entire research and development process. The first relationship, forged from advancement through the CHARIoT Challenge, proved that this PSO partnership collaboration would be fruitful and scalable. All partners are eager to ensure the application is tailored to meet their goals and the complex needs of their industry.
After the first “sandbox” application deliverable, partners will be asked to perform in-depth, documented usability testing. Insights and requirements gathered from these sessions will be used to build a live data prototype showing AR’s impact for public safety. Documentation on usage and integration will be included in the release, and the application will have no cloud or third-party dependencies. It will work “out of the box” for all interested public users and be free to download on the most prevalent AR platforms.
This research has the potential to dramatically increase the amount of data that public safety organizations can monitor and respond to in real-time. By bringing multiple datasets into one multi-domain environment and reducing information silos, teams can make better decisions, faster. Immersion also increases collaboration by offering a greater shared context of collaboration. The mobility of hardware allows for ops center and operator augmentation to increase the volume and speed with which operations can be planned, simulated, and carried out. Immersion reduces fatigue and lowers cognitive load, and ultimately democratizes data for both technical and non-technical users.