RALEIGH – Emerging technologies could allow first responders to call up all sorts of information when responding to an emergency, but there is some uncertainty about what information is useful, how it should be displayed, and how emergency personnel could control which information to access and when. NC State is working with first responders to address these questions.
“We are working with first responders and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (DC Metro), and have already developed three virtual reality (VR) scenarios that allow researchers to test new user interfaces for use by emergency responders,” says James Lester, the principal investigator (PI) on the project. Lester is also the director of NC State’s Center for Educational Informatics (CEI) and a Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science.
The work is made possible by a two-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The project, called IntelliVisor, is focused on developing VR software that can help law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical technicians respond to crises more rapidly and efficiently. RTI International is collaborating with NC State on the project.
“We’re currently working with first responders to validate the three scenarios we’ve developed, making sure they are sufficiently realistic to be useful,” says Randall Spain, co-PI on the project and a research psychologist in NC State’s Center for Educational Informatics.