Exploration of Human-Machine Systems

  Two people sitting in front of a screen and operating a driving simulator Copyright: © Ronald Meyer  

The field “Exploration of Human-Machine Systems” comprises the development of novel methods and tools of Human Systems Integration specifically for the systematic exploration of system concepts in new human-machine systems.

We define “exploration” as a methodology of interrelated activities for the systematic conceptualization, development, and testing of the design and spaces required by human-machine systems. At the core of the methodology is an iterative and participatory design approach that allows new human-machine systems to be explored together with users as well as other stakeholders, combining user-centered and technology-oriented perspectives into a coherent interplay of people, complex technical systems, and processes. By taking all stakeholders into account at an early stage in the development process, it is possible to balance different, sometimes contradictory product and process qualities and significantly reduce development times.


We use software tools such as virtual reality to visualize and validate new concepts early on to explore human-machine systems. We use tangible XR virtual reality so that new concepts can also be experienced multimodally by integrating haptic elements. In combination with the spatial infrastructure and modular hardware in our Exploroscope, prototypes for new human-machine systems can quickly be implemented and tested.

Exploration uses methods such as the Wizard-of-Oz or the Theater method to simulate system functionalities at an early stage with a significantly reduced implementation effort and to investigate their effect on users and the overall system. This allows even highly automated and semi-autonomous systems, such as those used in modern automobiles or smart factories, to be explored quickly as “rapid prototyping” and can be improved in a participatory manner together with stakeholders.