HAPTIC INTERFACES FOR PUBLIC SAFETY CHALLENGE

Overview

NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) division is hosting a Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge, which will award up to $425,000 to winning teams that create haptic interface prototypes that will improve public safety operations.

Public safety officials perform tasks in a variety of environments that severely limit their senses and ability to communicate. Since 2002, NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) has collaborated with the public safety community, stakeholders, and innovators to ensure the development of reliable, intuitive, and mission-focused communication technology for the public safety community.

The Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety challenge will investigate the relevance of haptic interfaces for assisting in first responder tasks. The challenge consists of multiple phases where competitors will develop haptic interface prototypes assisting:

First responders’ tasks in three virtual reality scenarios (one for Emergency Medical Services (EMS), one for law enforcement, and one for firefighters).

Firefighters in a realistic scenario as they navigate and accomplish a task at a firefighter training facility with prototypes embedded into personal protective equipment (PPE).

This challenge seeks two different groups of contestants who will team together to create haptic interfaces tailored for public safety.

The Two Types of Challenge Contestants

Haptic Providers

You can receive funding and exposure for your haptic hardware you develop, while you explore how your products could be relevant for a (potentially) new market – first responders. PSCR will provide funding to you to support up to three Haptic Development Teams as they create prototypes with your products and services. Apply now, and see your products impact public safety through virtual reality and real-world scenarios while competing for prizes.

Haptic Development Teams

Demonstrate your skills and abilities as you develop haptic interface prototypes for public safety tasks in both virtual reality and real-world scenarios. You will have the opportunity to partner with and receive hardware/support from haptic providers, while you receive funding for prototype development from PSCR. Apply now and showcase your prototypes to the public safety community while competing for prizes.

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Challenge Scenarios

Virtual Reality Scenarios & FireFighter Navigation Courses

The purpose of this challenge is to assess the potential of using virtual reality environments as a development tool to prototype and iterate on designs for public safety technology. The challenge also seeks to investigate the relevance of haptic interfaces for assisting first responders perform their vital tasks when responding to an emergency. The final phases of this challenge require the development of three haptic prototypes integrated into PSCR-provided virtual reality scenarios as well as a final haptic prototype embedded into a firefighter’s PPE for a firefighter navigation course. Please read below for more information about the Challenge scenarios.

Virtual Law Enforcement Scenario

Situation Awareness During Active Shooter

You are a SWAT member who finds themselves in an underground parking garage surrounded by multiple assailants. You have taken cover behind some concrete barriers. Your partner has sustained an injury and is not able to return fire. The SWAT command has access to the CCTV system in the parking garage and is able to relay information about the location of the shooters. This information is sent to your haptic interface to assist your situational awareness by directing your gaze.

The objective of this scenario is to use the haptic interface to locate and mitigate all threats as quickly as possible. The scenario will be evaluated based on the usability of the haptic interface and the average time to locate and mitigate the threats.

Image of a police office navigating a virtual reality environment with haptic vest and gloves.

Virtual Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Scenario

Vital Monitoring during Mass Casualty Incident

A multi-car collision has occurred on a highway resulting in multiple causalities. You are an EMS provider in the immediate care area (i.e., red triage zone). Patients are brought to you for assessment and stabilization. You are responsible for capturing the heart rate, oxygen levels, and blood pressure of each patient. EKG and O2 sensors with visual readouts are available for each patient and are automatically updated on their chart. The blood pressure unit is unable to provide a readout so you must capture this information by another means. The environment is very loud so you rely on touch and leverage a haptic sensor that can give you an indication of the patient’s blood pressure. Your job is to rate each victim’s systolic blood pressure based with <80, 80-90, and >90 levels. You will update a tablet with these measurements and then prepare for the next patient.

Your staging area has multiple patients lined up. As you treat each patient, a new one will be presented in front of you for triage. The objective of this scenario is to use the haptic interface in assessing the blood pressure levels for each patient. The scenario will be evaluated based on the usability of the haptic interface, the accuracy of the blood pressure assessment, and the time to complete the task.

Image of a EMS navigating a virtual reality environment with haptic vest and gloves.

Virtual Firefighter Scenario

Indoor Navigation

There is a fire on the third floor of a high-rise building. A fire attack crew is responding to the fire. You are part of a search-and-rescue team responding to a duress call on the top floor of the building. The top floor is engulfed with smoke and seems to have originated from the elevator shaft and HVAC vents. You have been given the approximate location of the victims and the floor layout and are using a navigation tracker that can assist in directing you as you navigate the structure. Due to limited visibility and hearing, you rely on your haptic interface to provide directions and navigate while in the environment.

The objective of the scenario is to use the haptic interface to navigate through the office space, locate and rescue the victims, and exit the building as quickly as possible. The scenario will be evaluated based on the usability of the haptic interface, the total distance traveled through the environment, and the time for completing the task.

Image of a firefighter navigating a virtual reality environment with haptic vest and gloves.

Live Scenario at a Firefighter Navigation Course

Indoor Navigation

A fire has broken out in a multi-story building. Your firefighter colleagues are attacking the fire on the far side of the building. You are part of a search-and-rescue team responding to a duress call from within the building. The area you enter is engulfed with smoke coming from the stairwells and HVAC vents. You have been given the approximate location of the victims and the floor layout and are using a navigation tracker that can assist in directing you as you navigate the structure. Due to limited visibility from the smoke and the noise from your respirator, you rely on your haptic interface to navigate the structure and locate the victim(s).

The objective of the scenario is to use the haptic interface embedded in the firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE) to navigate through the office space, locate and rescue the victim(s), and exit the building as quickly as possible. The scenario will be evaluated based on the usability of the haptic interface and the time to complete the task.

For this live scenario, the contestants will need to remotely control the haptic interface prototype worn by the subject matter experts and members of the Judging panel while they navigate the firefighter maze. A firefighter will follow the subject matter expert or member of the Judging panel through the building and relay their location to the contestants over a radio. Contestants will know the location of the entrances, exits, and victim(s).  

Image of the virtual reality environment mimicking an office setting in a smoky environment

Timeline

 

Challenge consists of five phases: March – November 2019

Learn more about each of the five phases:

01

Concept Paper Contest

The Concept Paper Contest invites all eligible contestants to submit a concept paper outlining their proposed team’s solution, approach, capabilities, knowledge and skills for this challenge. Haptic Providers must also describe their hardware and proposed level of support. All individuals and/or teams interested in competing in this Challenge must submit a concept paper by the Phase 01 deadline.

 

March 18: Challenge Launch & Submission Period Opens
On March 18, the Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge launched.

 

Friday, May 3rd at 5pm ET: Submission Deadline
Contestants must register on Challenge.gov and submit concept paper applications on Challenge.gov on May 3rd by 5 pm ET.

 

By May 10: Submissions Review
Subject Matter Experts will review each submission to ensure the application complies with the requirements and the published evaluation criteria.

 

By May 3: Judging Panel Evaluation
Members of the Judging panel will make the final evaluation of the concept papers using the published evaluation criteria.

 

 

02

Teaming Contest

During the teaming contest, the invited contestants – up to 9 Haptic Development Teams and up to 3 Haptic Provider teams – will document their agreed upon teaming arrangements. Alternatively, Haptic Development Teams will document their decision to move forward through the Challenge solo.

 

Monday, May 13: Prize Challenge Kick-Off and Teaming Webinar
Invited Haptic Providers and Haptic Development Teams will participate in the prize challenge kick-off webinar. Invited contestants will discuss teaming possibilities.

 

May 21: Teaming Agreements Deadline
Invited contestants must submit teaming agreements or propose how they will advance through the competition without teaming by Tuesday, May 21.

 

May 22: Submissions Review Deadline
Subject Matter Experts will review each teaming agreement to ensure the application complies with the requirements and the published evaluation criteria.

 

May 23: Judging Deadline
The Judging panel will make the final evaluation of the teaming agreement using the published evaluation criteria.

 

 

03

Haptic Interface Prototypes Demonstration in Virtual Reality

Contestants will develop haptic interface prototypes for the 3 PSCR-provided virtual scenarios developed in Unreal Engine. Contestants will submit a video of their prototype(s) highlighting the functionality and a write-up with instructions on use of the prototype for pass/fail evaluation. Invited contestants will then demonstrate their prototypes at the 2019 Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Meeting from July 9-11 in Chicago, IL.

 

May 24: Haptic Interface Prototyping Begins
Invited participants will create three prototypes for use in the PSCR virtual scenarios. Successful contestants will obtain feedback from the public safety community during the 2019 Stakeholder Meeting.

 

June 26: Video Submission Deadline
The Haptic Development Teams will submit a video to PSCR demonstrating a minimum of 2 and up to 3 of their prototypes in the PSCR-provided virtual scenarios.

 

July 3: Pass/Fail Evaluation Deadline
The Judging panel will provide a pass/fail assessment on the contestants’ videos of their prototypes, based on the published evaluation criteria.

 

July 9-11: Demonstration at the 2019 Stakeholder Meeting
Invited contestants will demonstrate their prototypes in the three virtual reality scenarios for the public safety community attending the 2019 Stakeholder Meeting.

 

 
 

04

Haptic Interface Prototypes Evaluation in Virtual Reality

The contestants are encouraged to incorporate feedback from the 2019 Stakeholder Meeting and collaborate with any public safety members for their haptic interface prototypes integrated with the PSCR-provided virtual scenarios. Contestants will submit their prototypes for evaluation by the Judging panel.

 

July 9: Integration of Feedback & Prototyping in Virtual Reality
Invited participants will incorporate any feedback or lessons learned from the 2019 Stakeholder Meeting to improve their prototypes.

 

August 23: Prototypes in Virtual Reality Submission Deadline
Invited Haptic Development Teams must mail their prototypes and submit their accompanying software for each of the 3 scenarios to PSCR. PSCR must receive the software and prototypes by August 23, 5 p.m. Mountain Time.

 

August 26-September 6: Submissions Review
Subject Matter Experts will review the contestants’ three prototypes to ensure compliance with the requirements and the published evaluation criteria.

 

September 10: Judging Deadline
The Judging panel will evaluate the haptic interface prototypes in the 3 PSCR virtual reality scenarios using the published evaluation criteria. This evaluation will serve as 50 percent of the entire ranking/score for the contestants.

 

 
 

05

Haptic Interfaces Prototypes Evaluation at Firefighter Navigation Course

Contestants’ embedded prototypes will compete in a search and rescue task at a firefighter navigation course. The haptic interface prototypes embedded in PPE will be tested and reviewed by subject matter experts, and evaluated by the Judging panel for the final prizes.

 

September 10: Embedded Prototyping Begins
Invited contestants will embed their prototype in PPE in advance of the live competition at the firefighter navigation course.

 

November 5-7: Firefighter Navigation Course
Over three days of a live competition, the contestants will remotely control their haptic interface prototype while it is worn by subject matter experts and members of the Judging panel who will navigate the firefighter training course.

 

November 15: Judging Panel
The Judging panel will perform final evaluation of all contestants’ submissions and announce the winners!

 
 

Prizes

 

Haptic Providers

The top place Haptic Provider could win up to $77,500 in prizes.

Phase 02

Teaming
  • $7,500 per development team supported (up to $22,500)

Phase 03

Prototyping
  • $5,000 in travel funding

Phase 04

VR Evaluation
  • $7,500 per development team supported (up to $22,500)
  • Up to $4,000 in travel funding

Phase 05

Fire Nav. Course
  • 1st Place: $20,000
  • 2nd Place: $10,000
  • 3rd Place: $5,000
  • Most Commercially Promising (optional): business technical assistance services valued up to $3,500

Haptic Development Teams

The top place Haptic Development Team could win up to $50,000 in prizes.

Phase 02

Teaming
  • $2,500 for prototype development

Phase 03

Prototyping
  • $5,000 in travel funding

Phase 04

VR Evaluation
  • $2,500 for prototype development
  • Up to $4,000 in travel funding

Phase 05

Fire Nav. Course
  • Overall Challenge Winners:
    • 1st Place: $25,000
    • 2nd Place: $20,000
    • 3rd Place: $15,000
    • 4th Place: $10,000
    • 5th Place: $7,500
    • Most Commercially Promising Award (optional): business technical assistance services valued up to $3,500
    • Most Creative Interface for Public Safety Requirements Award (optional): $2,500

The Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge website is implemented by Circuit Media under contract with NIST PSCR. This website is not owned or operated by the Government. All content, data, and information included on or collected by this site is created, managed, and owned by parties other than the Government.