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Mining Project: Virtual Reality to Train and Assess Emergency Responders

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigator
  • Cassandra L. Hoebbel, NIOSH, (412) 386-6133
Start Date12/1/2011
End Date9/30/2014

To determine optimal use of virtual reality (VR) technologies for training and assessing mine emergency responders.

Program Area
Keywordscomputer, mining, training

Research Summary

The objective of this project was to determine optimal use of virtual reality (VR) technologies for training and assessing mine emergency responders. Responders include specially trained individuals, such as mine rescue or fire brigade team members, and also managers and miners who may be called upon to respond to an emergency situation. Self-protective actions are also considered responses.

The project included research aims in three related areas as listed below.

  1. Training assessment:
    • Evaluate the training modules delivered under the Mine Rescue and Escape Training Laboratory (MRET Lab) contract.
    • Evaluate participant reactions to training experiences provided in the MRET Lab.
    • Develop guidelines for optimal use of the MRET Lab for emergency response training.
  2. Training development:
      • Use 3D technologies to develop a prototype equipment maintenance training module for a mine rescue closed-circuit breathing apparatus (CCBA).
      • Indentify VR training techniques appropriate for testing and potential use by mine safety and health training developers.
  3. Interaction technology and data collection methods:
    • Assess the usability and data quality provided by interaction devices delivered under the MRET Lab contract.
    • Evaluate and optimize input and display devices for the CCBA benching and command center training modules developed under this project.
    • Determine if electroencephalogram (EEG) data are valid and reliable measures of cognitive workload and/or task engagement when obtained from subjects in a VR environment.
    • Develop in-house expertise in the use of EEG measures in mine safety and health research.

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