First responders could soon access 3D maps or video feeds from body cams in VR headsets in a virtual emergency operations center.
A new software solution called “Headwall XR Command Center” displays geographic and spatial information of accident sites in virtual reality. Using VR headsets, first responders can quickly and easily access all relevant data, such as 3D maps or live video feeds. This would make emergency centers on site much more compact.
A complete command center in the VR headset
The technology aims to display geographic and spatial information about accident locations better than conventional 2D displays. “We’ve taken it for granted that all information has to be transferred to a 2D format to then be transmitted and viewed. Virtual reality allows geospatial information systems, mapping systems and 3D information to maintain its native format through to viewing.” said Geoffrey Bund, CEO of Headwall.
Instead of building an elaborate emergency operations center with countless monitors, commanders in the field could visualize the entire command center in the VR headset. The video below shows what the system looks like.
“We can provide the command center in a tiny form factor, and you feel like you’re in a physical command center,” said Bund. In addition, it should be possible to quickly transfer data back and forth between the real command center and the virtual command center. For example, if a commander on site sees important images from body cameras or surveillance cameras through his VR headset, he can quickly tag and send them to colleagues at the command center.
VR command center in Meta Quest Pro
The software integrates with first responder video management systems via an application programming interface (API) and will be ported to the Meta Quest Pro in the future. This will also enable a mixed reality version of the virtual command center.
“What that allows us to do is get rid of the computer, get rid of the wire, and we just will have a standalone headset. There would be no setup at all. What we envision is that someone would just have to open a laptop and launch the application, and they would immediately be in the headset.” Bund said.
Headwall recently won a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) competition with its XR Command Center, which asked companies to develop new dashboards with improved user interfaces and experiences.
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