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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.




We will present the design of next-generation user interfaces for Public Safety Organizations (PSOs) developed as the result of an extensive requirement analysis with the participation of public safety partners. The interfaces are proposed to leverage the futuristic capabilities of augmented reality displays of integrating virtual and real elements into simulated situational awareness scenarios in immersive virtual reality. Furthermore, we will detail the assessment designs created to evaluate the interface elements proposed and conclude by reporting preliminary results gathered from informal observational studies.


Project Overview

Problem Statement

  • FirstNet will soon establish 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 November 25, 2020