HAZWOPER emergency response work represents one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States (U.S.) where, in many cases, emergency medical first responders are expected to deliver immediate care to persons suffering from acute traumatic injuries and exposure to hazardous substances (e.g., chemical spills). Therefore, the HAZWOPER standard devotes very specific and detailed attention to training that represents a major departure from classical emergency medical first responder action. Although advanced training technologies (ATT) have emerged over the past decade ranging from mobile to virtual reality technologies, current HAZWOPER ATT are insufficient at tutoring, debriefing, and quantifiably evaluating hands-on skill proficiency while, simultaneously, both hands are free to practice emergency medical skills. The National Institute of Environment Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require realistic HAZWOPER training that measurably develops hands-on skill proficiency. Additionally, students who continually practice hands-on clinical skills in simulated environments and with patient simulators significantly improve their hands-on skill proficiency. For the proposed SBIR Phase I effort, Juxtopia will investigate the technical feasibility of solving these problems by developinga personalized, mobile, and hands-free e-learning product targeted to improve the hands-on skill proficiency among Fire-Fighter EMTs. The PREPARE e-learning product will build upon preliminary data from the Juxtopia(r) Context-Aware Augmented Reality System (CAARS) platform from which Juxtopia(r) wearable augmented reality (AR) Goggles and the SCORM compliant Juxtopia(r) Virtual Tutor (JVT) system will be engineered to augment and enhance HAZWOPER training for Fire-Fighter EMTs. Juxtopia hypothesizes that a HAZWOPER JVT, distributed through Juxtopia(r) AR Goggles, will measurably augment instructor training and improve Fire-Fighter EMT psychomotor skill proficiency while they practice emergency medical skills in outdoor simulated HAZMAT environments. To test the aforementioned hypothesis during the SBIR Phase I effort, Juxtopia will answer the following questions: How can JVT deliver multi-modal tutoring of hands-on medical skills?; How can JVT evaluate hands-on medical skills?; How can JVT continually learn from students; How can Juxtopia(r) AR Goggles facilitate interaction among participants and learners; How can Juxtopia(r) Goggles integrate with HAZWOPER worker head-gear; How can PREPARE be sold at an affordable price? To accomplish this SBIR Phase I effort, Juxtopia will: Prototype Juxtopia(r) Goggles; Prototype JVT Software; and Evaluate the PREPARE System. Evaluation of the proposed PREPARE system will be conducted externally by MERAssociates (MERA).
The objective of the proposed SBIR Phase I research and development (R&D) effort is to apply preliminary results from Juxtopia's (r)'CAARS platform to investigate the feasibility of developing and commercializing the PREPARE e-learning product to improve psychomotor (i.e., hands on) skills during HAZWOPER training of Fire-Fighter EMTs in outdoor training environments.