Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser.

This website may not display properly with Internet Explorer. For the best experience, please use a more recent browser such as the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and/or Mozilla Firefox. Thank you.

Your Environment. Your Health.


Export to Word (
Principal Investigator: Buras, William Robinson
Institute Receiving Award Tietronix Software, Inc.
Location Houston, TX
Grant Number R44ES029348
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 01 May 2018 to 30 Apr 2022
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) systems are increasingly being utilized as training platforms for complex, extremely demanding or rarely executed tasks. Often, VR systems focus primarily on delivering increasingly realistic scenarios for training purposes without any capability to assess or refine trainee performance in situ. Our novel VR training platform to deliver HAZMAT training not only delivers realistic scenarios, but also measures and evaluates performance using scientifically validated measures of variables associated with both individual and team performance. The advantage of our approach is to immerse first responders in HAZMAT emergency scenarios that are realistic and also designed to focus on measurement and refinement of specific areas of performance. Key contributors to performance among emergency responders and managers were identified by an extensive review of the literature and subsequent tested for association by psychometric assessment of over three hundred emergency responders. A subset of 18 highly associated contributors were then identified through statistical analysis of survey results. These contributors can be measurably represented in VR Training scenario elements. Performance related to each can then be measured and assessed for individual or team trainees. These refined key contributors can then be validated on larger, more diverse samples of emergency responders using the beta version of our proposed VR-based system. Our VR system is also a configurable platform that enables the evaluation and training of a wide range of skills needed by distinct roles (police, firefighters, EMTs, etc.) in diverse scenarios such as biosafety spills, HAZMAT disasters and bioterrorism threats. Also, HAZMAT disasters that are rare or very difficult/costly to create real world training events can be more easily and cost effectively mastered. Scenarios also can be dynamically modulated by trainer input in real-time, or by computerized Artificial Intelligence analysis of performance and trainee real-time physiological measures to rapidly optimize specific key contributor performance of individuals and teams. Rapid, efficient and effective training of emergency responders serves the ultimate goal of minimizing potential catastrophic consequences of these events.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 88 - Worker Education (U45)
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Kathy Ahlmark
to Top