Look On Media Wins National VR Competition

Look On Media wins national VR competition: Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display Navigation Challenge

Look On Media - a virtual reality (VR) solutions provider for education, healthcare and enterprise organizations – was awarded first-place in the 2018 Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display (HUD) Challenge, by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) division.  

Look On Media, who teamed up with Virtual Reality Technology Universe (VRT-U) to compete as Team LookOnVRT-U, was awarded a cash prize of $25,000 for its user interface (UI) design submission, Improving the safety and efficiency of first responders with VR/AR.

“The response to our UI design is very rewarding,” said Jonathan Powell, Look On Media co-founder and president. “We are thrilled to be able to use our knowledge and expertise of VR and AR to support efforts to improve public safety, and further research on how UI design tactics can be applied to help first responders do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

The competition was specifically engineered to advance the use of UI technology as a tool to help first responders communicate and operate more efficiently in emergencies.

Since UI design employs multiple mechanisms for data input, access and communication, including sound, vibration, vocal commands and visual indicators, it’s emerging as a promising technology for public safety improvements.  Industry leaders foresee firefighters of the future using HUDs inside of their masks to show them location and vital data such as air supply, respiration and heart rate.

“PSCR is taking a giant leap forward in solving public safety challenges using virtual reality in collaboration with industry and academia through our grant programs and prize challenges,” PSCR Division Chief Dereck Orr said. “Virtual reality allows us to create new test environments for public safety where we can envision future devices and HUDs existing in a real scenario without having a real incident.  This allows public safety to virtually perform tasks and overlay all kinds of user interfaces. Then, we can measure it.”

Contestants in the four-stage challenge used their software coding skills and VR expertise to formulate HUD concepts for first responders to navigate through a burning building to rescue victims in a virtual world.  Finalists were judged based on strategic alignment, technical outcome and feasibility.  

Look On Media used their deep understanding of UI design and extensive industry research, including VR training solutions they’re working on with Dr. Paul Davis and the First Responder Institute, to create a solution focused on communicating critical information clearly.  Features of their solution include voice activation; gauges for oxygen and temperature that trigger evacuation notifications at peak levels; an evacuation function that calculates the fastest and safest way to exit; an assist function for victim location; and hazard alerts that automatically relocate to the safest route.

About Look On Media
At their state-of-the art virtual reality (VR) studio in Baltimore, MD, Look On Media has created captivating and memorable VR experiences for education, healthcare, and business since 2015. www.lookonmedia.com

About the Challenge
For more information about PSCR’s Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display Navigation challenge and other funding opportunities, please visit: https://www.challenge.gov/challenge/Virtual-Reality-Heads-Up-Display-Navigation-Challenge/.

About PSCR
Since 2002, NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) has worked to drive innovation and advance public safety communication technologies through cutting-edge Research and Development (R&D). PSCR works directly with first responders and the solver community to address public safety’s urgent need to access the same broadband communications and state-of-the-art technologies that consumers on commercial networks now expect.

About NIST
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Founded in 1901, NIST is one of the nation's oldest physical science laboratories. Today, NIST measurements support technologies from the smallest nanoscale devices to the largest and most complex engineering systems.

Jonathan Powell