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Regis Kopper and Jeronimo Grandi receive major $1.8M award to research augmented reality interfaces for public safety

Dr. Regis Kopper and Dr. Jeronimo Grandi, assistant professors of computer science at UNCG recently received a 3-year award totaling nearly $1.8M from the Department of Commerce National Instituto of Standards and Technology to research new ways in which public safety can improve operations by employing augmented reality (AR) interfaces.

This award is timely and justified as the current AR landscape is at a stage where it is now possible to use immersive AR hardware to design and prototype AR user interfaces (UIs) that allow researchers to test in conditions that are close to the environments where such tools will eventually be deployed. By using a modular approach, Kopper and Grandi will partner with extended reality (XR) startup NextGen Interactions and mitigate risks for implementing these technologies as they become available. As technology progresses, with more advanced AR hardware, UNC Greensboro will be able to finalize the design of modules that rely on such technology.

First responders constantly face difficult decisions and need to take actions quickly. If they make mistakes, it could be deadly. One of the most important elements for a first responder to do their job is situational awareness, which gives the ability to gain a thorough understanding of the surrounding environment. This leads to better decision making and reduced risk to themselves and the population.

There is a need for the design of AR UIs that present additional information intuitively and unobtrusively without inducing cognitive overload so that more effective results can be achieved. To this end, the researchers propose FirstModulAR, a public safety AR project to accelerate the adoption of AR UIs by first responders. The overall goal is to use existing data in addition to systematic collaboration with first responders to identify areas where AR can most benefit public safety and investigate how to solve for challenges through a modular design approach.

News article in WFMY News2