Employing virtual reality technology for risk assessment – the implications of the subjective experience

The project investigates factors influencing risk assessments of machine prototypes when using virtual reality technology. The project is concerned with two aspects: how should virtual models be designed to be effective when conducting risk assessment of prototypes and whether virtual reality technology is an effective method for safety instruction.

In collaboration with psychology and mechanical engineering, two experiments were carried out. In Experiment 1, the risk assessments of different types of virtual machine models carried out by safety experts was compared with a reference risk assessment of the real prototypes. The results showed that virtual models that are schematic achieve similar risk assessments as highly complex animated models when compared to the real prototype.

In Experiment 2, a study was carried out to determine if novice can be better prepared for working with high risk machined when using virtual animated machine models than traditional methods of teaching by means of presentations and videos. The study showed that the use of virtual reality technology leads to a greater change in risk assessment than the traditional approach.

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Astrid Schütz, Chair of Personality Psychology and Psychological Assessment, Department of Psychology, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Bamberg

Team Members

  • Tina Horlitz
  • Dr. Johannes Leder


Dr. Volker Wittstock, Virtual Reality Center und Professorship for Machine Tools and Forming Technology, Technical University Chemnitz


German Research Foundation (DFG), 2014-2017


  • Horlitz, T., Puschmann, P., Leder, J., Wittstock, V., & Schütz, A. (2016). No safety, no pay? - Experimentelle Studie zum Einfluss des Erlebens Virtual Reality-gestützter Maschinenmodelle auf riskante Entscheidungen in der Arbeitssicherheit. In: A. C. Bullinger (Hrsg.) 3D SENSATION - transdisziplinäre Perspektiven. Verlag aw&I Wissenschaft und Praxis. Chemnitz, Innteract Conference 2016, 3D Sensation, TU Chemnitz: 23. - 24. Juni 2016.
  • Horlitz, T., Puschmann, P., Wittstock, V. & Schütz, A. (2016, September). Verwendung der Virtual Reality Technologie für die Risikobeurteilung und Untersuchung der Auswirkung des subjektiven Erlebens auf deren Qualität - eine interdisziplinäre Studie. 50. Kongress der deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie 2016, Leipzig, 18. - 22. September 2016.
  • Leder, J., Horlitz, T., Schütz, A., Wittstock, V., & Puschmann P. (2016). No safety no pay. Using virtual reality to model prototypes for risk assessment in the work place. In vited talk at the Heinz-Nixdorf Symposium "On-the-fly-Computing" of the SFB901, 12-13th of September, held at the Heinz-Nixdorf-Musemsforum in Paderborn.
  • Puschmann, P.; Horlitz, T.; Wittstock, V.; Schütz, A. (2016, Juni) Risk Analysis (Assessment) Using Virtual Reality Technology - Effects of Subjective Experience: An Experimental Study. In: Procedia CIRP, Vol. 50, 2016, S. 490- 495, 26th CIRP Design Conference, Stockholm: 15.-17. Juni 2016.