German researchers are developing a virtual reality (VR) technology to help prevent accidents on construction sites.
The team led by Prof Dr Markus König from the Institute for Computation in Engineering at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) is aiming at making construction sites safer by exposing workers to hazardous situations virtually.
Dr Jochen Teizer, senior lecturer at the Institute for Computing in Engineering at RUB, said: “The cause of an accident is often not misconduct by a single worker but rather a lack of a safety culture in the company or insufficient requirements for safe working conditions.”
With the use of the technology, health and safety experts will be able to check construction sites for critical areas in advance and plan suitable measures. In addition, construction workers can be trained in an interactive virtual reality before going into a construction site.
Thomas Hilfert, PHD student working on the technology, said: “As you have an unlimited number of lives in virtual reality, we can observe there precisely how the test subjects react before and after fatal accidents and when learning effects come in.”
The new system uses a project’s building information model (BIM) to create a virtual building site — with the same technology as found in computer games. The users can then explore the construction site with the aid of VR glasses, and interact with the environment with the use of controllers.