The time has come for the $50,000 NIST Virtual Public Safety Test Environment Challenge - we have the winners!


It’s been a whirlwind of a competition. In just 60 short days, a community came together around a very technical and specific ask: Design a physical measurement environment that uses immersive virtual reality tools for testing new first responder technologies. By the submission deadline, we had received 21 completed entries to the challenge and built up a following of over 700 people. Impressive work for any crowdsourcing project, and even more so given a tight timeline!

And now, after careful review by our judging panel and a public vote, the top award recipients are as follows:


$20,000 Prize

Jason Jerald’s solution - FirstSimVR:Measuring Future Tools Using Today's VR -

A reconfigurable VR platform for evaluating and refining future technologies to be used for different first-responder scenarios.


$12,000 Prize

Zach Huber’s solution - Reconfigurable Vehicle Training System -

Training system including a virtually reconfigurable vehicle and physical mannequin with environmental factors (smell, weather, etc.).


$8,000 Prize

UNSN’s solution - MultiVRse - Parallel Physical and VR Universes -

Auto VR visualisation matching the physical space, untethered & unbounded VR, interaction with real & VR objects, no cameras needed + more!


$5,000 Prize

Kirk McKinzie’s solution - Augmented Reality Emergency Response System -

Multi-sensor based, indoor positioning technology to simulate a first responder emergency situation through a wearable SMART device..


Crowd Voting $5,000 Award

Variablelabs’s solution - The Future is Hidden in the Successes of the Past - A system which leverages interoperable standards to test educational curricula with a wide variety of stakeholders.


Honorable Mention

John Quarles's team’s solution - PerSim™: Realistic, Portable, Low Cost Simulation -

PerSim trains first responders using augmented reality simulation. It is more realistic, portable, and lower cost than current solutions.


The award winners were invited to participate in the PSCR Annual Public Safety Broadband Stakeholder Meeting, June 12-14, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas. ( Dereck Orr, PSCR Division Chief, announced the winners at the conference during his presentation, Monday, June 12. $50,000 in total prize money will be distributed among four finalists and the popular vote award winner.


We would like to take this opportunity to give a special thanks to all of the innovators who entered the challenge. While only those listed above are receiving the prizes and recognition, there were many other robust submissions that demonstrated notable potential. We are confident that all participants, no matter the final placing of their submission, will go on to find success in the rapidly expanding world of public safety technology and AR/VR.


Since February of this year, the whole challenge community through its varied roles and talents brought the NIST Virtual Public Safety Test Environment Challenge to life. Whether it was through continued interest, support, voting, or actually crafting a solution, the community helped demonstrate the power of crowdsourcing to critical stakeholders. Each time the crowd rises to a challenge in this way, it helps secure a future rich in innovation and open access to ideas. Our deepest gratitude to all who took part. Whatever you do next, don’t let this be your last experience with a crowdsourcing competition!