Visit StickyLock

The FirstNet Authority has established an immersive virtual facility for R&D in public security

Virtual and augmented reality technology will be used to teach firefighters in lifelike circumstances. The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has recently announced the launch of its Public Safety Immersive Test Center, situated in Boulder, Colorado.

According to officials from the FirstNet Authority and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research Division, the centre will focus on providing free R & D, training, and mentoring to public safety bodies. These organisations adhere to the FirstNet Authority community safety network and are inclusive of educational and private institutions.

The lab, housed in a FirstNet Authority storehouse, is intended to investigate the potential of UI and geolocation for public safety procedures and administration training.

A motion capture platform, 42 high-resolution optical monitoring lenses, and several forms of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headgear. It also includes equipment and components that facilitate haptic and tactile aspects of simulations. All of these are contained within the expansive facility of the organisation.

The facility is aimed to aid rescuers and technological developers in recreating multiple scenarios. These include such as search and rescue operations or terrorism scenarios that are usually quite convoluted.

Jeffrey Bratcher, FirstNet Authority Chief Network and Technology Officer, emphasised that the laboratory will function as the technological head office and practice facility for public safety-related AR and VR.

Bratcher said that, rather than being restricted to staying stationary and utilising a console, developers and public safety professionals can rely on the centre to try out new AR equipment in dynamic environments. Within that space, they can take actual walks, move about freely, grab real items, and do much more.

Bratcher points out that present virtual reality technology, which is different from the AR innovations being researched there, needs the utilisation of a handheld interface. According to Bratcher, the lab aims to extend the spectrum of possibilities outside of refining and boosting public safety communications.

He said that the firm is creating technology for spatial awareness, increasingly realistic training settings, as well as other technical characteristics. This decision is influenced by the anticipation of operating across wider bandwidths. The company can continue to promote such innovations in the near future, and NIST has been at the forefront of research and development in this area. Bratcher elaborated that this is why the organisation collaborated with them to jointly establish the state-of-the-art test facility.

The FirstNet Authority, in collaboration with NIST, aims to roll out a consistent flurry of upgrades in the mixed reality domain. They are working on improvements including haptics and metrology, edge computing, 5G, and WebXR, which is a combination of augmented and virtual reality. The two organisations are also working on various technological enhancements for public safety operations.

Sterling Folden, deputy chief, Mountain View Fire & Rescue in Longmont, Colorado, concurs that the centre is presenting them with a picture of the future.

According to Folden, the advancements being prepared can have massive positive impacts on public safety in the future.

Join the Discussion

Visit StickyLock
Back to top