About us

Established in 2003, we are a multidisciplinary group of award-winning researchers focused on human-centred research and design issues relevant to future interactive technologies.

Based within the Department of Electronic, Electrical & Systems Engineering, our research covers task and usability analysis; human factors integration;ergonomics; the design and evaluation of advanced interfaces, including wearable computing, virtual, augmented and “mixed” reality; and telerobotics and telepresence projects. We deliver our research on behalf of and in collaboration with a range of partners in defence, healthcare, heritage and telerobotics / telepresence.

We specialise in outward-facing, high-impact research. Our research is intended to avoid the “technology push” failures of the 1990s. We do this by both developing and evaluating capability demonstrators that emphasise the critical importance of exploiting human factors knowledge when specifying issues such as task and context fidelity, learning content, evaluation metrics, and interactive technology appropriateness.

Between 2003 and 2012, we participated in the UK’s Human Factors Integration Defence Technology Centre. This provided us with a range of excellent opportunities to work closely with military and commercial stakeholders and end users in the development of methodologies supporting human-centred design for Virtual Environments, part-task simulation-based trainers and related innovations in interactive technologies.

Areas of expertise

  • Virtual Reality, simulation and “serious games”
  • Augmented Reality
  • “Mixed” Reality implementations (e.g. for command and control)
  • Evaluation of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) interactive technologies
  • Wearable computing
  • Innovative interactive technology design and demonstration
  • Human Factors and human-centred design
  • Rapid development of concept capability demonstrators
  • Novel applications of drone (quadcopter/hexacopter) and other remotely operated technologies
  • Sensor data visualisation for human interpretation and interaction


YouTube channel

View our latest videos at www.youtube.com/channel/UCOe5kHLHsWefOECoS1DlYOw/feed

Links with industry

We undertake a wide variety of research and consultancy support projects with industry public bodies, government departments and charities. Examples of past and present partners are listed below. 

  • Defence: BAE Systems, QinetiQ, the MoD, Dstl and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine,
  • Healthcare: the NHS and Health Education England
  • Heritage: English Heritage, ProMare, South West Lakes, the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the Shipwreck Museum Hastings

We are also a member of a number of collaborative programmes, such as the Defence Human Capability Science & Technology Centre (DHCSTC) and the Maritime Collaborative Enterprise (MarCE).

Award-winning research

We have won many awards for our national and international research, including:

  • Innovative Team of the Year, West Midlands Academic Health Science Network’s Celebration of Innovation awards event (2017)
  • MoD Chief Chief Scientific Advisor's Commendation. Awarded to Professor Bob Stone (2011)
  • BAE Systems Chairman's Awards Ceremony (?)
  • BAE Systems Bronze and Sliver Awards for Gaming for Frontline Safety (?)
  • Diploma of Honorable Professor of the South Russian State Technical University. Awarded to Professor Bob Stone (2011)
  • Sir Frederic Bartlett Medal - UK Ergonomics Society. Awarded to Professor Bob Stone (2011)

is helping to avoid the "technology push failures" evident in the Advanced Robotics and VR “eras” of the 1980s and 90s by developing and evaluating demonstrators that emphasise the importance of exploiting human factors knowledge when specifying issues such as task and context fidelity, learning content, evaluation metrics and appropriate interactive technologies.

Students working with the HIT Team have also won awards for their research projects, including certificates and unique items of spaceflight memorabilia from the Russian Cosmonaut Training Centre, delivered to a student team developing virtual planetary rover concepts by Professor Valentin Shukshunov.




The HIT team have worked with a number of senior members in or connected to the armed services, both in the UK and abroad.  

  • Major General J F Rowan OBE QHS L/RAMC; Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Health), Headquarters Surgeon General
    • “I was very impressed with your recent demonstration of your work on my visit to DSTL. The innovative and novel use of AI to create synthetic environments which will assist with the rehabilitation of our wounded personnel is indeed exciting.”
  • Rear Admiral C C C Johnstone CBE; Royal Navy Command
    • “I am aware of the significant contribution that your small team of researchers has made over the last few years in the development of computer aided simulation to advance broader awareness and understanding of the safe maritime operations, particularly in nuclear submarines, and I thought it appropriate to acknowledge your achievements.”
  • Stephen Young; Submarine Training Director, Babock International Group, Marine & Technology Group
    • “During my visit to I/ITSEC last December it is clear to me that your work has been groundbreaking and the UK is now leading the other submarine services in finding new and effective ways to deliver training.”
  • M D Manfield; Commander, Royal Australian Navy, Submarine Training and Systems Centre
    • “I would like to offer my thanks, and acknowledge the excellent work that has been conducted by the Human Factors Integration Defence Technology Centre, in the areas of human factors research and especially in applications development (notably the SUBSAFE program).”
  • Simon Page; Captain (Navy), Director Maritime Training and Education (Canadian National Defence)
    • “Your work on virtual environments and more particularly your Sub-Safe virtual submarine project has greatly inspired the Royal Canadian Navy Learning Support Center in pursuing the development of the Canadian Virtual Naval Fleet Project.”
  • Surgeon Vice Admiral P I Raffaelli CB QHP BSc MSc MBChB MRCGP FFOM FRCP; Surgeon General
    • “I have been particularly impressed in recent years with your work in support of the work we do in rehabilitation and restorative medicine. Your novel utilisation of technology and synthetic environments has helped our development of our current approach to inter-active, assisted rehabilitation in our military population and is also influencing our future plans as we work towards the establishment of a Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre which will serve both military and civilian populations.”
  • Peter Luff; Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, MP Mid Worcestershire 
    • “The community {submariner trainers} cannot praise your work more highly and are greatly supportive of your approach to engaging interested parties to ensure that the output is directly relevant to the challenges they face.”