Cyber Bytes Foundation has partnered with XR Safety Initiative to execute a $1 million grant with the National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST)

July 12, 2021

Stafford, VA – The Cyber Bytes Foundation (CBF), located at the Quantico Cyber Hub (QCH), was recently awarded a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST) to help create natural authentication methods for first responders using Augmented Reality (AR) systems. 

Extended Reality (XR) technologies (virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality) can be valuable tools to Public Safety Organizations (PSOs) in doing their jobs and accomplishing their missions. AR in particular has the potential to relieve first responders of having to remove their focus from the situation at hand to access information vital to doing their jobs. Given the sensitive data accessed and uniquely challenging environments that first responders operate in, these systems need to be secured. 

“Augmented Reality is a technology that will fundamentally change the way we interact with data and First Responders, in particular, can really benefit from this new interaction,” says Joel Scharlat, Director of Operations for Cyber Bytes Foundation and Principle Investigator on this grant. “Law enforcement can view criminal history, EMS technicians can view a patient’s health information at a scene, and firefighters can consult real-time maps of building occupancy when responding to a building fire – all hands-free. We’re excited to be working with NIST on this grant and start driving the conversation on the security of immersive technologies.”

CBF has partnered with XR Safety Initiative (XRSI), a global non-profit organization focused on promoting privacy, security, and ethics in the XR domain. XRSI is at the forefront of this effort and is uniquely positioned to provide impartial, practical information about XR-related risks to individuals, corporations, universities, government agencies, and other organizations.        

“Law enforcement and public safety organizations deal with incredibly sensitive data,” says Kavya Pearlman, CEO, and Founder of XRSI. “XR devices allow for a unique set of data collection that must be validated from multiple perspectives, including privacy and safety. I am proud to support the research work and excited about the partnership with the Cyber Bytes Foundation. For the first time, XRSI Privacy & Safety Framework will be used as a tool to assess natural AR Authentication methods. This research opportunity for XRSI and CBF is an opportunity to enhance trust for the whole industry.”

In addition to XRSI, CBF will engage the American Cyber League (ACL) in this project. The ACL is the largest research and innovation program of its kind and maintains over 10,000 sq feet of lab space dedicated to researching emerging technologies. As a program within the CBF, the ACL boasts over 3,000 industry, academic, government, and non-profit members and is uniquely positioned to provide additional capabilities across multiple subject areas. 

Cyber Bytes Foundation

CBF is a 501(c)(3), with the mission to establish and sustain a unique cyber ecosystem to produce the education, innovation, and outreach programs to enhance developers and cyber workforce.

ACL is a consortium of companies that understand existing and emerging threats and work together to address these issues through research and innovation in new tools, methods, and approaches while simultaneously reducing the workforce requirements. ACL membership is open to individuals and organizations interested in supporting this initiative.

QCH is the largest Cyber Security Center of Excellence in a Virginia HUBZone and is designed as an agnostic “Cyber Domain Ecosystem” where people (SMEs), processes and capabilities are brought together to customize solutions in order to accelerate the implementation of Advanced Cyber Technologies through experimentation, innovation, research, and application.

For more information, contact Joel Scharlat, Director of Operations; e-mail: or visit

XR Safety Initiative

XR[MS1]  Safety Initiative (XRSI) is a 501(c)(3) global non-profit Standards Developing Organization (SDO), specifically aimed at creating a trustworthy environment in the immersive technology domain, especially for Virtual and Augmented Reality, collectively known as Extended Reality (XR).

XRSI’s mission is to inspire and catalyze the safe use of Extended Reality (XR) before it is adopted on a massive scale. XRSI carries out this mission by discovering novel cybersecurity, privacy, safety, and ethical risks and proposing potential solutions to mitigate them.

XRSI works closely with universities, organizations, developers, manufacturers, and public bodies.

XRSI, being the first such global effort, is uniquely positioned to provide impartial, practical information about XR and Spatial Computing-related risks and opportunities to individuals, corporations, universities, government agencies, and other organizations worldwide. XRSI recently launched a novel XRSI Privacy Framework for the XR and Spatial Computing domain that was well received and has been a point of discussion among XR stakeholders worldwide.

XRSI today curates research work of thousands of XR professionals to establish baseline privacy, safety and ethical standards while running four industry-focused programs:

  • Immersive media and trustworthy immersive journalism via ReadyHackerOne (RH1)
  • Immersive Healthcare Safety via Medical XR Advisory Council
  • XRSI’s Child Safety Initiative 
  • Diversity and Inclusion via The CyberXR Coalition

For more information, contact Marco Magnano, Director of Communications; e-mail: or visit