U.S. Tech Agency Seeks Ideas for Testing First Responder Tools


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) wants ideas on how to test new technologies that can help first responders do their jobs.

Head-up displays, smart watches and biological monitors are just some of the gadgets that police officers, firefighters and paramedics could potentially use to boost their safety while responding to an emergency.  But testing these technologies in real-life environments is difficult.

NIST, an agency within the Commerce Department, is challenging people to design a simulated environment instead.

Participants have until May 3 to design a physical space that uses virtual reality tools to imitate first responder scenarios for testing.

According to the challenge announcement, designs will be judged on how well they emulate first responder experiences, whether they can accommodate multiple scenarios and how well they enable data collection.

NIST said it will award a total of $50,000 in cash prizes to the winners and finalists of the challenge.  Winners will be announced June 12.