Bob Stone graduated from University College London in 1979 with a BSc in Psychology, and in 1981 with an MSc in Ergonomics. He held the position of Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Integrated Systems Design within the University of Plymouth between 2005 and 2009 and was made an Honorary Professor of the South Russia State Technical University (Novocherkassk) at that University’s 100th Anniversary in 2007.
After 9 years of ergonomics research at British Aerospace in Bristol, where he specialised in military human factors and remotely operated systems (conducting applied research and consultancy for the Department of Energy, the nuclear industry and the European Space Agency), Bob was involved in the launch of the UK’s National Advanced Robotics Research Centre, funded by the Department of Trade & Industry. Having been one of the first Europeans to experience the NASA VIEW Virtual Reality (VR) system in 1987, he established the UK’s first industrial VR team at the Robotics Centre and, over a number of years undertook numerous telerobotics and VR consultancy and research projects for commercial and government clients (including developing the world’s first tactile feedback glove for VR applications, Teletact).
Following an appearance on the BBC’s 9 O’Clock News in January, 1993, he brought together a range of companies to fund the world’s first industrial collaborative project addressing the commercial uses of VR. The success of this initiative enabled Bob’s group to be launched as VR Solutions Ltd in the mid-1990s, a company he remained a Director of until 2002.
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”. As well as his current defence-related activities, Bob’s pioneering surgical task analysis efforts in the mid-1990s led to the development of a suite of simulated perceptual-motor tasks for a unique keyhole surgery VR trainer (MIST), which went on to become one of the world’s most successfully marketed surgical skills trainers.
From 1999 to 2002, Bob sat on the Royal College of Surgeons’ Joint Committee on Higher Surgical Training, investigating the assessment of surgical training and competence and, in January 2000, passed the College’s Basic Surgical Skills course. Today, he works closely with the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, is an Honorary Consultant in Human Factors & Simulation within the UK’s Hollier Medical Simulation Centre (http://www.hollier-simulation-centre.co.uk/) and was a Human Factors consultant to the US Office of Naval Research-funded Pulse!! Virtual Healthcare Project (led by Texas A&M University Corpus Christi).
His work has received numerous awards, including, in 2003, the Laval Virtual Trophée d’Honneur for his “service to the European Virtual Reality Community” since 1987. In the same year, was made an Honorary Cossack at a ceremony in Starocherkassk, the former Don Cossack regional capital, recognising his decade of VR collaboration with the Russians. In 2007, he was awarded the UK Ergonomics Society’s Sir Frederic Bartlett Award, the highest award given by that Society to an individual (and the first time ever that an individual had been awarded by the Society three times in their career). Bob lectures to audiences of all backgrounds and ages across the world on the subject of VR, serious games and human factors.
From 2006 - to date
Ch’ng, E. & Stone, R.J. (2006), Enhancing Virtual Reality with Artificial Life: Reconstructing a Flooded European Mesolithic Landscape. Presence (Special Virtual Heritage Edition – Stone also co-guest editor); June, 2006; 15(3); 341-352
Stone, R.J. & Barker, P. (2006), Serious Gaming: A New Generation of Virtual Simulation Technologies for Defence Medicine & Surgery. International Review of the Armed Forces Medical Services; June 2006; 120-128.
Stone, R.J. (2007), Virtual Scylla”; UT2 (Society for Underwater Technology); June, 2007; 30 and 32.
Stone, R.J. (2009), Virtual Environments and Human Factors: a Personal Reflection on the Last 30 Years. Invited article for Ergonomics at 60: A Celebration; The Ergonomics Society; January, 2009; 8-9.
Stone, R.J. (2009), Serious Games – Virtual Reality’s Second Coming?” Editorial in Virtual Reality; 13(1); February 2009; 1-2.
Stone,R.J., Caird-Daley, A., & Bessell, K. (2009), SubSafe: A Games-Based Training System for Submarine Safety and Spatial Awareness (Part 1). Virtual Reality; 13(1); February 2009; 3-12.
Stone,R.J., White, D., Guest, R., & Francis, B. (2009), The Virtual Scylla: an Exploration in Serious Games and Artificial Life. Virtual Reality; 13(1); February 2009; 13-25.
Stone,R.J. & Caird-Daley, A. (2009), Submarine Safety and Spatial Awareness: the SubSafe Games-Based Training System. n Proceedings of the Ergonomics Society’s 60th Anniversary Conference; Royal College of Physicians; London; 23 April 2009; 320-331.
Stone,R.J. (2009), How Human Factors Helps to Drive Down Casualties of War – Part 1. Invited Feature for The Ergonomist; 470; August, 2009; 4-5.
Stone,R.J. (2009), How Human Factors Helps to Drive Down Casualties of War – Part 2. Invited Feature for The Ergonomist; 470; September, 2009; 4-5.
Stone,R.J. (2010), Serious Games – the Future of Simulation for the Royal Navy? Review of Naval Engineering; 3(3); March; 37-45.
Stone,R.J., Caird-Daley, A., & Bessell, K. (2010), Human Factors Evaluation of a Submarine Spatial Awareness Training Tool. In Proceedings of the Human Performance at Sea (HPAS) 2010 Conference; Glasgow, 16-18 June; 231-241.
Stone,R.J. (2010), Serious Games. Ingenia; 345; December; 33-38.
Stone,R.J. (2011), The (Human) Science of Medical Virtual Learning Environments. Invited Paper; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B; 366 (1562); 2011; 276-285.
Depledge, M., Stone, R.J., Bird, W. (2011), Can Natural and Virtual Environments be used to Promote Improved Human Health and Wellbeing? Environmental Science and Technology; June, 2011 (In Press; submitted 29 November, 2010; Web Publication, 19 April 2011: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es103907m).