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Virtual reality, location services get workout at responder test lab

  • 3 wk ago

Researchers at the new Public Safety Immersive Test Center (PSITC) are putting location-based services (LBS) and user interface/user experience (UI/UX) technologies through their paces as they work on infrastructure-free systems first responders can use indoors.

Launched in May, PSITC is a joint effort of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The 1,000-plus square feet center is modular so that researchers can build different scenarios, and it’s outfitted with a motion capture system, 42 high-speed optical tracking cameras, augmented and virtual reality (VR) headsets, and other gear pertinent to simulations for fire, police and emergency medical service personnel.

“The thing that makes PSITC so powerful as a tool for both the LBS research we’re doing at [NIST Public Safety Communications Research] and the UI/UX research is a system we have there called an OptiTrack motion capture system,” said Joe Grasso, who leads PSCR’s LBS portfolio. The system can track 1,500 markers simultaneously down to a centimeter, he added.

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