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2018 Virtual Reality Heads-Up-Display Navigation Challenge


Firefighter carrying a victim in a fire virtual reality environment

Congratulations to the winners of the Virtual Reality (VR) Heads-up Display (HUD) Navigation Challenge for their top VR HUD prototypes with navigation!

We had an exciting finish to the contest, where two (2) teams tied for 1st place awards and the other teams weren't far behind. The final stage was judged at the 2018 Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Meeting, where conference attendees were able to experience the VR HUD prototypes and VR environment of each contestant team.

NIST Public Safety Communications Research Program launched this 4-stage challenge January 2018, with prize awards up to $125,000 (prizes plus travel) for the top 7 designs. In addition to the cash prizes, the finalists were given paid travel to the 2018 PSCR Stakeholder Conference where the contest judging took place. Each finalist was asked to formally present their solution in the plenary session of the conference, with the added benefit of networking with first responders, PSCR stakeholders, and other PSCR grant award winners.

In this Challenge, contestants used their ingenuity, software coding, and VR expertise to create a heads-up display (HUD) for navigation with unimpeded visual aids. The results of this challenge will support America's First Responders and help PSCR advance research for User Interface (UI) technology. UI is "the means by which a user and a technology system interact; including how users input, access, and navigate data and communications through the technology." Some examples of UIs are haptic feedback mechanisms (e.g., sound, vibration), vocal commands, and visual indicators (e.g. heads-up displays). Historically, UI design has been broad and rarely targeted for Public Safety, however, it's critical that first responders complete their tasks efficiently and effectively with minimum impediment.


Monitor with Team logo inside

1st Place - $25,000.00
Team ENGRDynamics
Engineering: it's a people problem


Monitor with team logo inside

1st Place - $25,000.00
Team LookOnVRTU
Improving the safety and efficiency of first responders with VR/AR


Monitor with team logo inside

3rd Place - $15,000.00
Team NextGen Interactions
FireHUD: Simulating tomorrow's firefighter technology with today's virtual reality


A computer monitor with a team logo shown within it

4th Place - $10,000.00
Team Screen Door Labs
Using Eye-Tracking technology to show what you need, when you need it


Monitor with logo inside

5th Place - $7,500.00
Team Guardian Airwaves
Protect Communities, for Life Flows from Them


Monitor with team logo inside

6th Place - $5,000.00
Team FactualVR
FactualVR - Complete Situational Awareness

For more information on the Challenge including additional details on the opportunity timeline, contest stages, and more visit
Created January 3, 2018, Updated December 29, 2022