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Seeking: AR/VR Training System Best Practices.. Image of a bearded man wearing a magic leap headset in front of a blurred city scape

The Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking to identify the best practices from industry and academia for effective development and implementation of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) training.


NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR), housed within the Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL), functions as the primary federal laboratory conducting research, development, testing, and evaluation for public safety communications technologies. PSCR have begun researching the capabilities of virtual and augmented reality to be used in training for a range of scenarios including fire research, public safety, and smart manufacturing. Multiple external entities have utilized VR and AR to develop simulations and training environments, however there is currently no published literature or guidance that establishes how to develop proven effective training systems. NIST believes VR and AR tools can be invaluable to improving public safety operations, and as such aims to compile experience and knowledge to maximize the learning potential of future training systems.

VR and AR can provide safe and repeatable training simulations for often difficult to replicate situations. By creating immersive environments, the user can gain familiarity with their surroundings and equipment to learn processes and procedures more effectively than traditional learning methods. These training systems frequently include a form of head mounted displays or smart glasses but may also use interactive displays, props, or wearables.

Information Sought

Summation of development processes for effective VR and AR training systems as well as potential research studies to validate efficacy. Target areas include:

  • Knowledge capture and assessment capabilities
  • Prop integration
  • Improving user experience and overall usability
  • Varying form factors (such as portable headsets, controllers, and tethered VR stations)
  • Alignment of key objects and interaction points within a defined space
  • Translation of traditional learning methods to VR/AR interfaces
  • Current VR/AR technologies related to but not limited to: de-escalation, CPR/ACLS, HAZMAT, incident command


Desired Outcome of the Solution

NIST PSCR is open to potential collaborations and partnership opportunities. NIST intends to publish a white paper detailing best practices on this topic.

Field of Use and Intended Applications

Providing intuitive and worthwhile training systems for inimitable scenarios such as those completed by first responders.

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Photo Credit: My name is Yanick on Unsplash

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