NIST Virtual Public Safety Test Environment Challenge

Design a physical measurement environment that uses immersive virtual reality tools for testing new first responder technologies.

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding
  • Funding Award
  • Eligibilty Requirements (Y/N)

Evolving technologies have the potential to revolutionize how first responders do their jobs. Will heads-up-displays guide firefighters through smoke-filled buildings while smart glasses link EMS with doctors in real time?  What if a vest that collects vital signs and provides haptic feedback could keep police officers safer?

These exciting new technologies can’t be implemented without testing and verification. That is the genesis of this challenge. How do you test if a technology is helpful inside of a burning building without actually having a fire?  Do smart glasses get in the way of responding to an emergency? Testing to collect this data must be performed in a way that is safe, controlled and repeatable.

The Virtual Public Safety Test Environment Challenge, sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Innovation Accelerator, is crowdsourcing ideas and designs for measurement environments that use immersive virtual reality tools in conjunction with physical spaces to simulate first responder scenarios for accurate and repeatable testing of new first responder interfaces and technologies.

NIST Competitor Q&A Webinar 4/18/2017


New technologies, including wearable interfaces like heads up displays, smart watches, and biological monitors have the potential to increase first responder safety while enhancing performance. However, variability in current testing procedures/environments pose a challenge in assessing the effectiveness of emerging technologies. To assess the potential of new technologies and compare technologies against each other, NIST is crowdsourcing ideas that use virtual/immersive environments in conjunction with physical spaces to create accurate first responder scenarios and a repeatable test environment for technology evaluation.

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.



Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.