Launching March 18!
NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division is hosting the Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge for two groups of challenge contestants who team together to create haptic interface prototypes that will improve public safety operations. PSCR will award up to $425,000 to contestants. Partnering with PSCR on this challenge is First Responder Network Authority; FirstNet, built with AT&T; MSA Safety; and the West Metro Fire Protection District (CO).
Public safety officials perform tasks in a variety of environments that severely limit their senses and ability to communicate. The purpose of this challenge is to assess the potential of using virtual reality environments as a development tool to prototype and iterate on designs for public safety technologies. The challenge also seeks to investigate the relevancy of haptic interfaces to assist in first responder tasks. This challenge also seeks to convene members of the haptic provider community and innovators in the development community to advance the state of haptic interfaces for public safety.
The contestants, consisting of Haptic Providers and Haptic Development Teams, and their haptic interface prototypes will be evaluated in two key areas:
How the prototypes impact a first responder’s performance in three virtual reality (VR) scenarios [law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS), and fire service]; and
How, once embedded into firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE), the prototypes assist firefighters in a realistic scenario as they navigate and conduct a search and rescue task at a firefighter training facility.
The challenge consists of multiple phases and will require contestants to develop three haptic interface prototypes to be integrated into PSCR-provided virtual reality scenarios as well as a final haptic prototype embedded into firefighter PPE for use in a search and rescue task.
For more information about the Challenge, please visit and for the Official Rules and to enter the challenge, visit .