Design: Kayla Shay, Jose Banuelos, Grayson Lawrence

Programming: Clayton Stamper, James Bellian

Social Work: Dr. Scott Smith, Samantha Roberts

Engineering: Dr. Vangelis Metsis, Shivesh Jadon

My Roles

Visual Design (2D + 3D), UX / UI


Collaborating with programmers, social workers, engineers, and designers, our goal was to create a virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) curriculum using Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens that can be delivered remotely to EMS personnel for training on the AMBUS (ambulance bus). 


Selected for the Texas State SXSW Innovation Lab


The Problem

Austin/Travis County EMS came to us looking for a new training solution for their AMBUS personnel. The AMBUS is a highly specialized, bus-sized ambulance used for mass casualty events and natural disaster response. With only 13 AMBUS vehicles in the state of Texas, their current training consists of a once-per-year training on the equipment, supported by a power point document.

The AMBUS: At a Glance

Used for Mass Casualty Incidents

Only 13

in Texas

Holds 20 


By observing the current training and talking with EMT professionals in the field, we identifed a number of pain-points:

Lack of Memory Recall

EMTs complained of not remembering locations of each item on the bus…

Increased Time-on-Task

…which leads to increased

time on task…

Reduced Confidence

…increasing stress and errors.

Meet the Expert

Through working closely with Commander Keith Noble from Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), we were able to get a deeper understanding of the current issues with the AMBUS training, how to best solve it, and how to ensure our virtual AMBUS is as accurate as possible.


Targeting these primary pain points, we began designing a testable proof of concept to determine the best training solution for their needs. Utilizing current design thinking methodologies and rapid prototyping, we broke the project into a number of phases. The team I worked with worked on Phase 02 & 03, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality solutions.


In order to create a fully customizable training system, allowing for multiple scenarios, we created a fully 3D rendered Ambus environment. This environment resulted in a truly immersive experience, allowing for Austin/Travis County EMTs to test a number of training scenarios and collect data to track trainee improvement in our three core areas of memory recall, time-on-task, and trainee confidence.


In order to improve the ability for the EMTs to take advantage of physical memory when training in the AMBUS, we created an Augmented Reality environment using Microsoft HoloLens.

This environment gives the EMTs the unique ability to use any hallway or large room in their station to project a holographical representation of the AMBUS with all of the objects inside. The projection is to scale, meaning, if it takes the EMT 5 steps to reach a particular drawer in AR, they take the same number of steps in the real bus, increasing their physical memory.

Field Testing & Results

Testing was conducted with volunteer cadets from Austin/Travis County EMS. These trainees were divided into three groups: those that received traditional AMBUS Training, those that received our VR Training, and those that received our AR Training. All three groups of trainees were tested 1 week later in the real AMBUS to determine how much improvement they had in the three domains of memory recall, time-on-task, and confidence level.

Trainee's were divided into three groups:


Traditional Training


VR Training


AR Training

The results (an average between VR & AR):

Memory Recall

Up by 45%

Increased ability to remember object locations, compared to traditional training


Down by 29%

Decreased time-on-task, compared to traditional training

Thank you!

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