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Raising the bar for fire simulation training with SCDF & HTX

We partnered up with HTX and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to implement  our cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) system capable of recreating and customizing various building-fire scenarios. This partnership promises to enhance training effectiveness and preparedness for emergency responders in Singapore.

Revamping emergency response training

The VR system called REDSUIT aims to revolutionize emergency response training. Through realistic visualizations and interactive elements, it enables users to immerse themselves in virtual environments resembling actual buildings engulfed in fires. The technology allows them to navigate and interact within these scenarios, gaining practical experience and enhancing their decision-making abilities under intense pressure.

Image credit: HTX

Measurably Skilled

To further optimize training outcomes, the VR system includes comprehensive evaluation and analytical capabilities. Trainers can review each trainee’s performance, track their decision-making process, and identify areas for improvement using objective performance metrics. This data-driven approach assists in refining skills, streamlining response strategies, and continuously enhancing overall readiness.

Customizable scenarios

Unlike traditional training simulations, this VR system allows users to customize different building-fire scenarios. By adapting variables such as fire locations, levels of intensity, or structural layouts, trainers can create diverse environments to challenge and train responders effectively. This flexibility ensures a comprehensive training experience that prepares individuals for a wide range of real-world situations.

Realistic fire behavior

One notable feature is the system’s ability to accurately simulate fire behavior. By replicating the movement, growth, and spread of flames, the VR technology provides responders with a realistic understanding of fire dynamics. This level of authenticity facilitates developing effective strategies to extinguish fires safely, prevent further spread, and ensure the safety of both responders and occupants.

Immersion to engage the senses

The immersive experience offered by this VR system adds significant value to training sessions. It engages multiple senses, including sight and sound, to create a highly realistic setting. Responders can navigate through smoke-filled corridors, hear the crackling of flames, and feel the heat generated by the fire. This multi-sensory approach enhances the trainees’ situational awareness and enables them to make swift, accurate decisions.

“We are not trying to replace conventional methods but raise the bar for simulation training”

Dr Saravana Kumar KumarasamyDeputy Director, HTX



Enhanced collaboration

The VR system also incorporates a collaborative aspect, enabling multiple responders to train together in the virtual environment. By promoting teamwork and communication, it fosters coordination among various disciplines, such as firefighters, medics, and incident commanders. This feature helps replicate real-life emergency scenarios and cultivates effective cooperation between different response units.

Profound impact

The collaboration between HTX, SCDF, and RE-liON 

has resulted in the development of an advanced VR system designed to enhance training effectiveness for emergency responders. Through customizable building-fire scenarios, realistic fire behavior simulations, immersive experiences, and collaborative training, this technology provides a comprehensive and practical approach to emergency response preparedness. 

With its profound impact on decision-making, coordination, and skill development, the VR system promises to equip responders with the necessary tools to face complex fire incidents confidently.

Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) deploys REDSUIT

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) uses our REDSUIT to better prepare their firefighters for real life emergencies. Beforehand they use the editor to create diverse scenarios ranging from emergencies in flats and offices to large scale operations in factories. These scenarios can then be trained using real equipment such as nozzles and explosimeters.

During the exercise the trainer is able to change the scenario with our live editor. Enabeling him to open doors, change the state and trajectory of the fire and even add civilians which need to be rescued. Afterwards the group can review the exercise and for instance see the training from the perspective of individual trainees while important moments are shown on a timeline. These are just some of the features of REDSUIT which make sure first responders are measurably skilled for their critical tasks.

Video credit: CNA

Police in NRW to implement VR training after successful SHOTPROS project

After the successful participation in the SHOTPRO project the police in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) are set to revolutionize their training methods by incorporating virtual reality (VR) technology. The State Office for Police Training, Further Education and Personnel Matters (LAFP) has issued a tender for the development of a VR system that will allow officers to train in diverse and complex scenarios.

Enhance performance in high-risk scenarios

The implementation of VR training in the police force is expected to significantly improve the performance of officers in high-risk scenarios. The immersive experience and realistic simulations will enable officers to make better decisions and enhance their training and debriefing processes. The LAFP plans to create its own scenarios in the future, allowing trainees to simulate various environments and situations tailored to trends in society.

Dynamic and diverse scenarios

This technology will allow officers to train in virtual locations that are not easily accessible in reality, such as schools, shopping centers, and airports. The use of a VR system offers the opportunity to train diverse and complex scenarios that can be changed quickly. Current events can be simulated without much effort. The incorporation of avatars will also enable the involvement of role players, including children, people with disabilities and elderly, who cannot be easily integrated in real training.

Feedback and immersion

The VR training system is expected to be up and running by the end of the year and will initially be used at the LAFP training center in Selm. The system will allow up to six participants, including the trainer, to move simultaneously in a virtual environment. The system will simulate realistic equipment and provide tangible feedback through electrical impulses or vibrations. Additionally LAFP plans to expand the VR system in the future to include “4D effects” such as wind, rain, heat, and smell. 

SHOTPROS inspires implementation

The VR training system in NRW is based on the Europe-wide virtual reality project “SHOTPROS.” The project aims to better prepare police officers for high-risk operational situations and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The project involves collaboration between renowned European research institutions, international companies, and police authorities from various countries.

Paving the way for German law enforcement

The introduction of VR technology in police training in NRW marks a significant step towards digitization and the adoption of modern technologies for German law enforcement. Successful implementation will hopefully motivate other agencies to pursue this impactful training method. 

SHOTPROS at the EU Open Days 2023

What a great weekend in Brussels. We were selected by DG Migration & Home Affairs to present our H2020 SHOTPROS project for Virtual Reality (VR) Police Training, as the highlight next to Europol and FrontEx during the EU Open Days.

Thanks to USECON for the organization, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Campus Vesta and the great support of the Berlin Polizei for the end-user perspective!

A short clip of the event can be found here.

RE-liON x Project Gecko at GPEC 2023

We just wrapped up an interesting day at #GPEC 2023 with Eli Feildboy from Project Gecko. Together, we conducted short lectures discussing the challenges, (lack of) training analytics, virtual reality and complexities of law enforcement together with dozens of LE trainers.
Does that sound good?

If you’re a senior trainer in Defense, Law Enforcement or Fire Fighting: join us to learn more.

Reserve your free spot here in our limited workshop series we’ll be hosting a limited number of times throughout the year.

Enhancing Operational Police Training in High Stress Situations with Virtual Reality: Experiences, Tools and Guidelines

This paper explores the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in training police officers for high-stress situations. It summarizes the results of our three-year H2020 SHOTPROS project which looked at requirements from experienced police trainers and industry experts. The paper highlights the importance of matching training with VR capabilities and shows that VR training leads to real-world improvements in police duties. The paper can be found here.

RE-liON wins European Defense Fund contract to enhance C4ISR with Immersive Technologies

We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a contract by the European Defense Fund for Project MoSaiC to strengthen our roadmap for command- and operator kits. Our new capabilities will integrate immersive VR & AR technology, live data links, and command- and control (C2) of semi-autonomous UxV’s, enabling us to offer even more advanced solutions to our clients in the national security & defense sectors.

We are proud to partner with the European Defense Fund and our international partners on this important initiative, which represents a significant milestone for our company. Our expertise in immersive technolog, our history in co-development and our commitment to excellence make us the ideal partner for this project, and we look forward to delivering innovative solutions that meet the needs of our clients.

To learn more about Project MoSaiC, visit:

– Project MoSaiC EDF 2021 factsheet

To learn more about our products for Plan & Rehearse, visit:

– Plan & Rehearse kits for Defense

RE-liON's newest VR fire fighting system on track for delivery

We’re proud to announce that RE-liON has achieved a key milestone for our ASEAN project: we’ve just completed the Critical Design Review for a new VR fire fighting training and assessment system.

Achieving this milestone is important for the customer and for us, to align expectations in the requirements and delivery timeline”, says our Manager of Operations, Niek Oude Essink Nijhuis.

This is the first time RE-liON delivers directly to that specific Government. It’s a milestone in the company’s history: the customer has a well-known reputation and the country is seen as Asia’s technology capital. That’s why it’s an honor and a mark of approval to have this project awarded to RE-liON”.

RE-liON was awarded the contract in March. The next milestone will be the factory acceptance tests at the end of 2022. After delivery, our local partner Starburst, will collaborate with us for the sustainment of the system.

SHOTPROS - Police VR Scenario Tech Demo

Last week during the H2020 Review, the SHOTPROS consortium presented the first results of the VR world used in the second high-stress terrorism scenario. Both scenario and the VR world are being co-developed together in an iterative process with the research partners as well as the end-user stakeholders: the 5 police agencies (LEA’s) involved in the consortium. This ensures a good result.

This VR world is a good example of a multi-purpose environment that allows multiple scenarios ranging from low-stress to high-stress:

  • Vehicle search
  • Pub fight
  • Knife crime
  • Explosive Improvised Devices (IED) threats
  • Vehicle ramming into a crowd on a public square
  • Etc.

What makes a Smartvest Smart?

You might wonder: what’s a Smartvest and why is it smart anyways? It’s smart due to all the electronics in it that are interacting together in a way that benefits instead of disturbing the user.

Let’s get into more detail of what is needed to make this work.

How to Design your Virtual Reality Training System?

Training using VR requires complex technology camouflaged as easy to use. Preferably, it also shouldn’t look like a computer, otherwise, IT-adverse people will refrain from going anywhere near it. A list of users wants and needs:
  1. To be immersed into the digital world
  2. Realism in graphics and sound
  3. A natural way of interacting with the digital world
  4. To interact with multiple users in the digital world
  5. To move freely
  6. To put on and remove equipment in approximately 5 minutes
  7. Bio-signal feedback
  8. A one-size-fits-all
  9. A hygienic solution

Design decisions become easier if there is:

  • no need for physical interaction or
  • if the number of users in VR in the same physical room is below 2 to 4.

After going through the design process, we ended up with the Smartvest as shown above for certain type of training: CQB, Small Unit Tactics, etc. In these situations, being able to have physical contact and quickly being able to use many different replica tools in VR is very important.

This one of the reasons behind the Smartvest.

In the image above, the grey parts are part of the Smartvest. It’s basically a tactical vest with extensions for head, arms and legs and a VR headset. Attached to the vest is the computing box or, in simpler words: a wearable computer or in jargon, a VR backpack. Let’s walk through these wants and needs one-by-one.

R1: Users need to be immersed into the Digital World

This requires a VR headset with enough display resolution to be able to render all details in the digital world. Plus: the lenses in the VR headset need a wide enough field-of-view to be able to use eye-movement instead of head-movement. This in turn requires fast response times; long delays of head movement, known as latency, cause motion sickness.

R2: Users want realism in Graphics and Sound

Users want to be able to see a lively digital world: buildings, vegetation, characters, cars, busses, environmental sounds, wind effects, movement, etc. They expect the digital world to be a close approximation of the real world. In other words, for example: playstation-10 or Xbox-20 style-graphics.

In police de-escalation or military training, users want to be able to spot if a digital character at a distance of 3-10 meters is carrying a pen or a knife in its hands.

Everything in the digital world can be a trigger to decide and act.

The Math(ish) of the balance between Graphical Realism, Computing Power and battery life:

Consequences of this balance:
  • Add a digital character = less power left for realism and/or smaller digital world and/or…
  • Increase realism = less vegetation and/or less objects and/or ….
  • Longer playtime on 1 set of batteries = less realism and/or …

R3: Users want a natural way of interacting with the Digital World

The speed of action and type of training: more cognitive or motor skills determine how natural interaction needs to feel with the digital environment. For example:

  • To walk around, is it ok to use a small joystick on a VR controller, is it ok to use teleporting in VR or is real walking/running/crawling a requirement?
  • Another example is physical interaction: is this necessary? If not, then this eliminates the need for capturing full body motion.
  • To use certain tools replicated in the VR environment, is it ok to use a VR controller with buttons and a joystick or is a replica of the physical tool required?
  • And if replica tools are needed, how many of these replica tools need to be used in VR at the same time?

Is haptic feedback, the experience of touch through force or vibration, necessary? If so, only on one point or throughout your body? This point is linked to natural movement: if you are using VR controllers or teleporting for locomotion, haptic feedback is a nice to have. If you are physically moving around, then it is a need to have to warn users when they are on the brink of walking through digital walls or other structural elements.

An example when this frequently happens: when users are facing forward but walking backwards in for example a de-escalation situation: without haptic feedback, users will end up in another digital room (or physical obstacle) if they keep walking backwards without having a warning.

Our smartvest has 12 integrated microcontrollers that are placed throughout your body. Each microcontroller gives you a bit of haptic feedback.

We can vary frequency and amplitude of the feedback giving trainees different cues with our software. For example: walking into a virtual wall, touching a virtual table or feeling a simulated character touching you on the shoulders.

R4: Users need to interact with others in the Digital World

VR devices need to be in contact through a multi-user network for multiple users to be able to interact. The number of interacting users in the same physical space dictates if wireless streaming of graphics and audio from a powerful PC to a VR device can be used or if they need a wearable computer strapped to their body that is in turn connected to the VR device.

R5: Users want to move around freely in the Physical World

Users immersed in the digital world are not sufficiently aware of the physical world, this is exactly the point. Therefore, users need to be able to move around freely without cables attached. Otherwise, users and equipment could end up damaged when moving too far.

No cables attached is easy when using wireless streaming from a powerful PC on the side to your VR headset. However this becomes a hurdle when there’s a larger number of users in the same physical location. The interference due to wireless VR streaming then becomes an issue and cables between a PC and VR device are needed.

To prevent this issue, you can use VR backpacks (= wearable computers). They’re worn by the user with a short cable from the VR backpack to the VR headset. These VR backpacks do need to be able to run at least 1.5-2 hours on one battery charge, otherwise training with multiple users becomes a logistical nightmare of changing batteries

R6: Users want to put on and remove equipment in < 5 minutes

In the end, production of training or rapid use in operations is a key argument for an organization to use VR as a tool. From an efficiency point of view, it’s counter-productive if the trainee has to wear 10-20 different devices, turn them all on, can get entangled in wires, cause damage, etc and the inverse again when removing equipment after training.

That’s why its best to have one piece of equipment that can be turned on/off with one switch, and has one hot-swappable power source.

R7: Bio-signal Feedback

Digital training tools like VR offer the benefit of objective measurements. For example how or how fast tasks are executed. Next to task performance, it is also interesting to know why performance is the way it is. Recording and replaying bio-signals can help out in this area. In the H2020 Shotpros project for instance, we are measuring different signals that can be indicators for stress.

R8: Users need a one-size-fits-all-solution

People come in all shapes and sizes so how do we cope with this? Elastic textiles to the rescue! Parts of the Smartvest are elastic to accommodate for this challenge. Another option is to provide sets in different sizes but this requires duplicating electronics and cables. One-size-fits-all keeps VR affordable.

R9: Users need a hygienic solution

Contrary to desktop VR when you’re sitting behind your desk, you’ll start to sweat when going through natural and exciting movements in VR. After use, the Smartvests can be cleaned with an anti-bacterial and anti-odor spray. This prevents nasty surprises for the next user.


Not every type of training needs a Smartvest. For instance in approximately 80% of de-escalation police training, a simpler model of VR can be used. More on that to come in the near future!

The Smartvest is a ‘SUIT’ that is completely programmable based on the needs of the user. Smart eh? Designed in The Netherlands, produced in the EU.

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