Type Of Challenge: Technology demonstration and hardware

Partner Agencies - Federal: First Responder Network Authority

Other Partners - Non-Federal: FirstNet - built with AT&T, MSA Safety, and West Metro Fire Protection District (CO)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division is hosting the Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge. Up to $425,000 will be awarded to winning teams that create haptic interface prototypes that could improve public safety operations.

Public safety officials perform tasks in a variety of environments that severely limit their senses and ability to communicate. This challenge seeks to investigate the relevance of haptic interfaces assisting in first responder tasks, such as monitoring patient vitals, navigating complex spaces with limited visibility, or maintaining situational awareness. The challenge consists of multiple phases and will require contestants to develop three haptic interface prototypes to be integrated into PSCR-provided virtual reality scenarios as well as a final haptic prototype embedded into firefighter PPE for use in a search and rescue task. Contestants will also have the opportunity to demo their initial prototypes with first responders at the 2019 Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Meeting in Chicago, IL.PSCR will assess the efficiency, effectiveness, and level of user satisfaction of the haptic interface prototypes and their ability to assist first responders in conducting their tasks.

The challenge launches March 18, 2019, and concept paper submissions are now due May 3, 2019, at 5 p.m. ET.

Challenge Background & Goals

One goal of the challenge is to assess the potential of using virtual reality as a development tool to prototype and iterate on designs for public safety technology. Contestants will have the opportunity to enhance their prototypes after interacting with public safety stakeholders and receiving feedback on their designs. This challenge also seeks to convene members of the haptic provider community and innovators in the development community to advance the state of haptic interfaces for public safety. PSCR will keep the prototypes for future public safety demonstrations.

Since 2002, PSCR has collaborated with first responders, stakeholders, and innovators to ensure the development of reliable, intuitive, and mission-focused technologies for the public safety community.

In 2018, PSCR launched their first challenge in the User Interface / User Experience (UI/UX) series focused on advancing interfaces that allow a public safety user to effectively interact with and obtain information from the technology system(s) while ensuring the device is designed around public safety’s operational needs. In 2018, PSCR named 6 winners in the Virtual Reality Heads-Up Display Navigation Challenge.

The contestants, consisting of Haptic Providers and Haptic Development Teams, and their haptic interface prototypes will be evaluated in two key areas:

1) How the prototypes impact a first responder’s performance in three virtual reality (VR) scenarios [law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS), and fire service] and

2) How, once embedded into firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE), the prototypes assist firefighters in a realistic scenario as they navigate and conduct a search and rescue task at a firefighter training facility.

The challenge consists of multiple phases and will require contestants to develop three haptic interface prototypes to be integrated into PSCR-provided virtual reality scenarios as well as a final haptic prototype embedded into firefighter PPE for use in a search and rescue task. After the completion of this challenge, PSCR will keep the submitted prototypes from Phase 4 and Phase 5 for future public safety demonstrations. Contestants are encouraged to develop multiple sets of prototypes throughout the challenge, in anticipation of this PSCR keeping the prototypes for demonstrations, and in case the contestants experience technical difficulties during later phases of the challenge.

View the a complete summary of contest phases and key dates.

Phase 1 Concept Paper Contest

Award is invitation to phase 2.

Phase 2: Teaming Contest

$90,000

Haptic Development Teams: $2500; up to 9 haptic development teams

Haptic Providers: $7500 per development team supported; up to 3 haptic providers, each supporting up to 3 development teams (max per Haptic Provider is $22,500)

Phase 3: Demonstration of Haptic Interface Prototypes in Virtual Reality

$60,000

Haptic Development Teams: $5000 travel funding to PSCR 2019 Stakeholder Meeting in Chicago, IL.; up to 9 haptic development teams

Haptic Providers: $5000 travel funding to PSCR 2019 Stakeholder Meeting in Chicago, IL.; up to 3 haptic providers

Phase 4: Evaluation Round 1: Haptic Interface Prototypes in Virtual Reality

$153,000

Haptic Development Teams:

  • $2500; up to 9 haptic development teams
  • Additional ranked prizes: 1st - $7500, 2nd - $5000, 3rd - $2500
  • $4000 travel funding to Phase 5 Firefighter Navigation Course per team; up to 9 haptic development teams

Haptic Providers:

  • $7500 per development team supported; up to 3 haptic providers, each supporting up to 3 development teams (max per Haptic Provider is $22,500)
  • $4000 travel funding to Phase 5 Firefighter Navigation Course per provider; up to 3 haptic providers

Phase 5: Evaluation Round 2: Haptic Interface Prototypes at Firefighter Navigation Course

$122,000

Haptic Development Teams:

  • Ranked prizes: 1st - $25000, 2nd - $20000, 3rd - $15000, 4th - $10000, 5th - $7500
  • Most Commercially Promising (optional): business technical assistance services valued up to $3500
  • Most Creative Interface for Public Safety Requirements (optional): $2500

Haptic Providers:

  • Ranked prizes: 1st - $20000, 2nd - $10000, 3rd - $5000
  • Most Commercially Promising (optional): business technical assistance services valued up to $3500

Official Rules of Phase 2: Teaming Contest

Introduction:

The Teaming Contest will be open to the winners of the Concept Paper Contest, up to 3 Haptic Providers and up to 9 Haptic Development Teams. During the Challenge Kick-off and Teaming Webinar, each of the Haptic Providers will present their haptic interface products, proposed level of support, services and approach to the Haptic Development Teams. The Haptic Development Teams will present their concept, team composition, and background. The contestants will then have two weeks to sign teaming agreements between the Haptic Development Teams and Haptic Providers; agreements will be reviewed for completeness by the judge panel. A Haptic Provider that does not successfully team with at least one Haptic Development Team will not be eligible to advance in the competition.

Alternatively, a Haptic Development Team may decide not to team with a Haptic Provider. They will not be eligible for the $15,000 of combined support awarded through the Haptic Provider during Phase 2 and Phase 4 of the challenge. Haptic Development Team(s) deciding to go solo must submit a letter documenting how they will proceed without Haptic Provider support. Successful contestants selected by the judge panel will be eligible to move forward to the next contest, Demonstration of Haptic Interface Prototypes in Virtual Reality. Additionally, up to 3 Haptic Providers will advance in the competition and will receive prize awards of $7,500 per matched Haptic Development Team; up to 9 Haptic Development Teams will advance in the competition and each will be awarded $2,500 for prototype development.

The teaming agreements will be reviewed for completeness by the Judging panel. Successful contestants will be eligible to move forward to the next contest, Demonstration of Haptic Interface Prototypes in Virtual Reality.

 
Important Dates:
 
Challenge Kickoff and Teaming Webinar May 14, 2019; Submit Teaming Agreements by May 21, 2019;  Notify contestants by May 23, 2019
 
Teaming Contest Evaluation Criteria:
 
To learn how papers will be evaluated, view the Judging Criteria tab or click here.

How to Enter:

For instructions on how to enter Phase 2, view the How to Enter tab or click here.

 
For questions about the Official Rules, contact: psprizes@nist.gov

Phase 2: Teaming Contest

 

PSCR will initially screen submissions for completeness and compliance with the objectives and Official Rules of this contest. A submission that fails to meet the compliance criteria will be disqualified and will be ineligible to compete in this contest. Submissions that pass the initial compliance review will be evaluated and scored by the Judging panel. An evaluation of a submission by the Judging panel does not constitute the NIST's final determination of contestant or submission eligibility.

Scoring Criteria: Teamed Haptic Providers and Haptic Development Teams (Pass/Fail)

  • Each contestant entry will be reviewed to ensure the teaming agreement is completed by all applicable parties and received by the deadline.

Scoring Criteria: Solo Haptic Development Teams (Pass/Fail)

  • Each letter documenting how contestant(s) opting not to team with Haptic Providers will be evaluated to assess the completeness of the contestant’s proposed path forward and probability of meeting the objectives of the Challenge. 

 

View the Official Rules document for judging criteria for all other contest phases.

Phase 2: Teaming Contest

Eligible Contestants for Phase 2

The following contestants were invited from Phase 1: Concept Paper of the Challenge to Phase 2 of the Haptic Interfaces for Public Safety Challenge:

  • 3 Haptic Providers: Engineering Acoustics, Inc.; Contact Control Interfaces; and Janus Research Group, Inc.
  • 9 Haptic Development Teams: Brilliant Sole, Inc.; Carnegie Melon University; Engineering Dynamics LLC; IFTech Inventing Future Technology Inc.; Team ASA-VR; Team DSGN; Team Fauxsee Innovations; Team Haply; and Team WEAR Lab.

How to Enter

  • Invited contestants will receive an email with information on how to access the prize challenge platform.
  • Invited contestants will also receive an email with instructions on the topics that should be covered in their submitted Teaming Agreement.
  • Document the agreed upon teaming arrangement between the Haptic Development Team and Haptic Provider or document the Haptic Development Team’s decision to move forward through the contest without teaming.
  • Contestants invited to this phase will be required to register for a NIST secure file transfer account. Information on this account and how it works can be accessed here: https://nfiles.nist.gov.
  • Teams must submit their signed finalized teaming agreement documents through NIST’s secured file system, Kiteworks, by May 21, 2019.

Kick Off Webinar Requirements

  • Each invited contestant must have their Official Representative attend the Challenge Kick-off and Teaming Webinar on May 14, 2019 (time TBD). Other team members are invited to attend.
  • Each of the up to 3 Haptic Providers will have 10 minutes of the challenge kick-off webinar to share information about their haptic interface products (types of actuators, sensors, software/platform, etc), their proposed level of support, services and approach that they would offer the Haptic Development Teams with whom they teamed. The Haptic Provider may send up to 5 slides to psprizes@nist.gov to be included in the webinar. Slides are due by May 13, 2019 at 5PM MT.
  • Each of the up to 9 Haptic Development Teams will have 3 minutes of the challenge kick-off webinar to introduce their team. The Haptic Development Team may send 1 slide to psprizes@nist.gov to be included in the webinar. The slide is due by May 13, 2019 at 5PM MT.

Teaming Agreement Requirements

  • If the Haptic Development Team elects to team with a Haptic Provider, both the Haptic Development Team and Haptic Provider need to sign their teaming agreement and submit it by the deadline.
  • If the Haptic Development Team elects to proceed through the competition without teaming with a Haptic Provider, they must still indicate their decision and share their plan on how they plan to complete the objectives from the Challenge in a letter by the deadline.
  • Haptic Providers may team with up to 3 Haptic Development Teams. They will indicate their participation with a Haptic Development Teams through their signature on the teaming agreements.
  • PSCR will provide the platform for the Challenge Kickoff and Teaming Webinar for Haptic Providers and Haptic Development Teams to introduce themselves and share their ideas, background, and capabilities, but PSCR will not arbitrate, intervene, advise on, or resolve any matters between teams. 

View the Official Rules document for details on entering all other contest phases.