Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Electrical and electronic engineering

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Technological University Dublin, 2012


This thesis presents a prototype desktop virtual reality model entitled ‘Virtual Electrical Services’, to enhance electrical safety and design in the built environment. The model presented has the potential to be used as an educational tool for third level students, a design tool for industry, or as a virtual electrical safety manual for the general public. A description of the development of the virtual reality model is presented along with the applications that were developed within the model. As part of the VR development process, this research investigates the cause and effects of electrical accidents in domestic properties. This highlights the high-risk activities, which lead to receiving an electric shock in a domestic property and identifies at-risk groups that could most benefit from electrical safety interventions. It also examines the theory of transfer touch voltage calculations and expands on it to show how to carry out a sensitivity analysis in relation to the design parameters that are being used by designers and installers. The use of Desktop Virtual Reality systems for enhancing electrical safety and engineering design is a novel prospect for both practicing and student electrical services engineers. This innovative approach, which can be readily accessed via the World Wide Web, constitutes a marked shift in conventional learning and design techniques to a more immersive, interactive and intuitive working and learning environment. A case study is carried out to evaluate the users’ attitudes toward VR learning environments and also the usability of the prototype model developed. From the completed case study, it appears that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that virtual reality could enhance electrical safety and design in the built environment and also advance training methods used to educate electrical services engineers and electricians. The thesis includes a discussion on the limitations of the system developed and the potential for future research and development