Opportunity number
Department of Commerce (DOC) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
NIST Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program – Augmented Reality
Due date
October 1, 2020
Public Safety
Project funding
In FY 2021, NIST anticipates funding up to $5,000,000 in new awards. Funds are expected to range from $300,000 to $600,000 per year per project. Project performance periods may be up to two (2) years, with the exception of proposals submitted by institutions of higher education for the purposes of supporting research by graduate students as part of a doctoral program, for which the period of performance may be up to three (3) years.
Program funding
Funding size
Below $2M

NIST Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program – Augmented Reality

RFP Summary provided by the agency

The NIST’s Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program (PSIAP) is seeking applications from eligible applicants for activities to enhance augmented reality (AR) capabilities in support of first responder operations. The PSIAP-AR aims to attract experts and innovators from industry and academia to focus on conducting research and development of visual interfaces through the use of AR technology. The goals and outcomes of this funding opportunity will be improving the general usability and ecosystem of AR applications and technology built around the public safety use case. This funding opportunity extends across multiple PSCR research areas and includes additional objectives under cybersecurity, resiliency, and location-based services domains.

The following are examples of the types of R&D projects that PSCR envisions funding through this NOFO. However, other types of projects will also be considered provided they meet the program goals.

  • Develop training applications with AR that can provide a feedback loop for assessing and improving performance. Examples include, but are not limited to, mobile incident command, operating a pump panel, identifying hazardous materials, or conducting medical assessments.
  • Conduct studies using AR for first responder tasks. Identify general usability characteristics of AR hardware and application configurations that map to the various first responder context of operations.
  • Research and develop 3D virtual content that could be potentially standardized for different information categories (e.g., vital monitoring sensors, temperature readings, interactive maps).
  • Develop heuristic evaluation modals for assessing AR user interfaces.
  • Research the impact of different gesture-based interactions and controls from human factors and ergonomic perspective. Identify what kinds of gestures make sense for first responders based on their context of operations.
  • Prototype new AR hardware configurations that are built around the environmental conditions, personal protective equipment, and communications technology needs for various first responder disciplines.
  • Utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance object identification for first responder tasks. Improve interactions with common items public safety interacts with on a day to day basis.
  • Research and develop solutions for addressing AR headset authentication in multiuser environments.
  • Develop or enhance methods of interacting with unmanned vehicles (e.g., drones, submarines, ground) through AR systems.
  • Leverage the Location-Based Services (LBS) Point Cloud City (PC2) 3D point cloud datasets along with location information from existing indoor localization technologies and AR sensor data (e.g., simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM)) to visualize location and navigation information.

NIST will host a webinar to provide general information regarding this NOFO, offer general guidance on preparing applications, and answer questions. The date, time and other details of the webinar can be found at https://www.nist.gov/ctl/pscr/psiap-ar. There is no cost to attend the webinar, but participants must register in advance. Participation in the webinar is not required and will not be considered in the application review and selection process.

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

Science and Technology and other Research and Development

How do you submit to this opportunity?

Electronic applications must be received at grants.gov

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

Eligibility for the program listed in this NOFO is open to all non-Federal entities. Eligible applicants include accredited institutions of higher education; non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations incorporated in the United States; state, local, territorial, and Indian tribal governments; hospitals; and foreign organizations. Please note that individuals and unincorporated sole proprietors are not considered “non-Federal entities” and are not eligible to apply under this NOFO. Although Federal entities are not eligible to receive funding under this NOFO, they may participate as unfunded collaborators. NIST will consider multiple applications per applicant; however, an individual researcher may only be listed as the principal investigator on one application. In addition, applicants should refrain from submitting multiple applications with related subject matter.

Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

An Infrastructure-Free Localization System for Firefighters: This project focuses on the development of a rapidly deployable infrastructure-free localization system to track firefighters inside of a structure such as a building. The goal of the project is to provide fire safety chiefs who are responsible for team accountability a live feed on a tablet or computer outside of the facility that can show the position of each firefighter within. Given the hostile nature of burning structures and the time criticality of missions, this requires that a system can track firefighters without any pre-installed internal and limited external infrastructure, and without assuming knowledge of the structure’s layout. For a system to be practically adopted at scale, it also needs to be low-cost and extremely simple to configure and deploy.


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