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Design, Prototyping and Evaluation of Next Generation Public Safety User Interfaces

UNC Greensboro Logo with a dark blue bar that reads UNC GREENSBORO

UNC Greensboro

This project aims to design, prototype, and evaluate user interfaces for the next generation public safety ecosystem and its first responders. Each phase will advance the knowledge necessary to move on to the next one, and the final outcome of the project will have a transformative impact on the adoption of next generation technology for all public safety disciplines by offering a collection of user interfaces that have been demonstrated to be effective and efficient in the context of each public safety organization (PSO) specific requirements. The methods to achieve the goals of this project involve working closely with PSOs through the course of the project, utilizing iterative design process with the end user in the loop and performing controlled user studies with the target user population in the public safety community.


New Video Wins "Best Research Demo" by IEEE VR

This demo won "Best Research Demo" at the IEEE VR Conference, which was hosted virtually in March 2020. Throughout the demo, the participant - assuming the role of a police officer - is guided to execute routine operations in a traffic stop while being assisted by the 3D User Interface

Meet the Team 

Dr. Regis Kopper, Principal Investigator*

Sergeant William L. Parker*

Hillsborough Police Department, public safety partner*

Dr. Jeronimo Grandi, fellow researcher*

Zekun Cao, fellow researcher

Mark Ogren, fellow researcher

* Team involved in 2021-2022 Demonstration Project

Validation and Demonstration of a Customizable Virtual Reality-Based Traffic Stop Simulation for Training and Practice with the Hillsborough Police Department

University of North Carolina at Greensboro was awarded a separate, one-year award to complete a demonstration with the Hillsborough Police Department, in Orange County, North Carolina to use their initial virtual reality traffic stop prototype in the design and development of a customizable traffic stop simulation tool that will be validated and demonstrated within the police department training process. Their proposed virtual reality tool will focus on measurable training outcomes, using current traffic stop protocols and technology. Their trainer user interface will allow for customization of the traffic stop simulation, including driver gender and race, vehicle characteristics and traffic stop outcome. Following the creation of the virtual reality training tool, they will conduct two user studies that aim at measuring the effects of the use of next-generation UIs on situational awareness, risk, and decision-making compared to the same conditions with current operations and technology, all within the context of a traffic stop scenario.

Design, Prototyping and Evaluation of Next Generation Public Safety User Interfaces: Project Overview

Problem Statement

  • FirstNet has established an interoperable single highspeed broadband LTE network for public safety disciplines, including fire safety, law enforcement and emergency medical services.
  • This capability will enable novel technology for first responders, including real-time precise location services, real-time streaming of mission-critical data and clear mission-critical voice communications on secure and resilient networks.
  • Virtual Reality can be used as a simulation platform for the design and evaluation of user interfaces that leverage this future technology.
  • Validation through VR-based evaluation will get the UIs close to deployment-ready once technology becomes available.

Potential Impact

  • Accelerate adoption of next generation public safety user interfaces in all public safety disciplines by offering a collection of user interfaces that that have been demonstrated to be effective and efficient in the context of each PSO specific requirements.
  • Establish a verified cross-discipline communication and situational awareness tool for public safety VR-based training exercises.
  • Wide dissemination of findings through open source.
  • Curated website making all findings from the project accessible to the population at large.


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Created June 20, 2018, Updated December 30, 2022