Nick catches up with Prof. Bob Stone at the Medifest Plymouth Conference to talk about the importance of Human Factors considerations in designing and implementing immersive technology environments. Bob is a technology 'veteran' and has been working in VR since 1990 and more recently collaborating with Nick in VR R&D within the NHS. In this episode, Bob shares a wealth of experience and lessons for best practises on the front line of development, as well as offering an honest opinion on the progress of the industry.
Robert (Bob) Stone holds a Chair in Interactive Multimedia Systems within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, where he is also Director of the Human Interface Technologies (HIT) Team. He graduated from University College London in 1979 with a BSc in Psychology, and in 1981 with an MSc in Ergonomics.
One of the first Europeans to experience the NASA VIEW Virtual Reality (VR) system in 1987, and having established the first industrial VR team at the UK’s National Advanced Robotics Centre, following an appearance on the BBC’s 9 O’Clock News in January, 1993, he brought together (initially) 12 companies to fund the world’s first industrial collaborative project addressing the commercial applications of VR. In May 1996, Bob was elected to become an Academician of the Russian International Higher Education Academy of Sciences in Moscow and was, in 2000, accredited by General Klimuk, Director of Russia’s Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre as responsible for “introducing VR into the cosmonaut space programme”.
Bob’s work has received numerous national and international awards for his Virtual Reality and Telepresence efforts, including, uniquely, three from the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, and, in 2011, the MoD Chief Scientific Advisor’s Commendation for his contribution to Defence Science and Technology.