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PSCR’s Virtual Lab Tour Now Available to the Public

Tablet with mesh stream draping out of it across the screen. Text reads "Virtual Lab Tour."

NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division is pleased to announce the public release of its Virtual Lab Tour, a “behind the scenes” look into PSCR’s state-of-the-art innovation laboratory and the people working to advance public safety communications research and development (R&D). This multimedia experience consists of 4K videos embedded in a 360-degree space and includes:

  • A look at eight unique areas in and around the lab
  • Tour “stops” with PSCR staff including PSCR Division Chief, Dereck Orr
  • Technology demonstrations showcasing PSCR’s work with lidar, mission critical voice, VR/AR, and more
  • An option for experiencing the entire tour in VR
  • Closed captioning for a “sound on” or “sound off” experience

Designed for Accessibility

Since 2016, PSCR has welcomed more than 1,300 visitors on lab tours. Starting in January 2018, tours took place at PSCR’s headquarters in Building 3 of the Boulder, Colorado NIST campus. Now PSCR is making its lab accessible to anyone with an internet connection through the offering of a virtual tour of the facility.

“We’ve catered this tour to be educational whether you’re intimately familiar with PSCR or it’s your first time visiting with us,” said Division Chief, Dereck Orr. “We live in a world where travel just isn’t always possible.” Mr. Orr hopes those new to PSCR will feel comfortable exploring at their own pace and convenience.

The tour features different “stops,” which allows visitors the opportunity to learn about multiple aspects of PSCR — from the research portfolios, to prize challenge competitions, and more. One stakeholder who participated in early testing of the virtual lab tour said, “Having not been there, it was a gratifying experience to get to really see it; it gave understanding and insight to what the PSCR lab is like.”

Blue neon sign reads WELCOME

Connection to the Mission

During an in-person tour, visitors would hear about research and take part in demos. They’d also get to hear from Mr. Orr about the history of PSCR’s mission and why it’s so important to America’s national standing following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. In the virtual lab tour, this stop is entitled “The History of PSCR.” Consistent with the in-person tour, PSCR staff recommend visitors stop there first.

A virtual corkboard in NIST's Building 3 that says, "Welcome. History of PSCR. MCV. LBS. UIUX. Security."

Keeping Stakeholders Engaged & Informed

PSCR plans to continue developing content for the virtual lab tour as part of its ongoing commitment to transparency and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars. The team working on the project expects to add at least one new “stop” per month beginning this fall. Visitors should check back often to see what’s new.

“We are excited about bringing this offering to stakeholders because it does not require a lot of time, money, or travel, and will give them insight and transparency into the innovative research happening at PSCR,” said Mr. Orr. Guests are encouraged to submit questions and comments via an embedded feedback form. This includes comments on the research itself, as well as what else they would like to see on the tour. “We welcome feedback on demos and on this all-new virtual format. Lab tour participants always have unique insights to share, and we want to hear them.”

Take the tour now.

Related Video

PSCR: Pulling the Future Forward
PSCR: Pulling the Future Forward
This brand film showcases PSCR's values and mission by discussing the communications technology needs of first responders and the research conducted by the Division and its partners to solve those issues. There are many emerging technologies that first responders can benefit from using to protect communities and save lives. Division Chief Dereck Orr provides a brief message to inspire stakeholders and highlight the importance of innovation in this space. 
Released September 30, 2021, Updated October 26, 2021