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Tom Garner

Dr Tom Garner BA(hons.), MA, PGCE, PhD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer of Interactive Technologies


Senior Lecturer in Interactive Technologies and Senior Research Fellow at CENTRIC. Research and innovation interests include design for serious games and extended reality (XR) technologies as applied to training and operational enhancement, auditory perception theory, and psychophysiological data collection methods.


Dr Garner is a Senior Lecturer in Interactive Technologies at Sheffield Hallam University and Senior Research Fellow at the counterterrorism and intelligence research centre, CENTRIC. Tom has expertise in auditory perception theory, psychophysiological research methods and design for serious games and extended reality (XR) technologies as applied to training and operational enhancement. He has led software development projects across several universities for over 6 years and has written extensively on matters of trans-diegesis and mixed-reality, physiology-based approaches to user experience (UX), audio-centred biofeedback in game design, and auditory perception in virtual reality. Tom has published three books, conducted research on behalf of BAFTA, and collaborated on XR projects with notable partners including The Royal Shakespeare Company, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Epic Games, The Mary Rose Trust, and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Senior Lecturer


Department of Computing

College of Business, Technology and Engineering

– 2022. On-demand adaptation to operational stressors. Funded by HSSRC, Human Augmentation Fund. In partnership with Exeter University and the University of Chichester

– 2021. Enabling XR Enterprise. Funded by UKRI, UK Renewal Fund. In partnership with The Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth Aspex Gallery, The D-Day Museum, and The Spinnaker Tower.

– 2021. Visual technologies to support naturalistic HCI in multiuser VR. Funded by Innovate UK, Knowledge Transfer Partnership fund.

– 2020. Dream. Innovate UK Audience of the Future fund. In partnership with the Royal Shakespear Company, Epic Games, and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

– 2019. XR4TE: Multi-user VR for communication and collaborative skills training in a military context. Funded by DSTL, R-Cloud Lot 4 fund. In partnership with QinetiQ.

– 2018. DentaSIM: VR for empathetic skills training in dentistry. Funded by theOral and Dental Trust, OHI PreViser Award. In partnership with Queen Mary University of London.

 Applied Computing


Courses taught:

BSc. Computer Science for Games

BSc. Computer Games Technology

Modules taught:

Fundamentals of Gameplay Programming

Programming 2D Games

Mobile Games & Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality Development


Current projects:

– 2023. ACCOMPLICE: Asymmetric multi-platform XR and transmedia design for military training. Funded by the Ministry of Defence, DASA (Defence and Security Accelerator) fund. In partnership with LimeTools, the University of Central Lancashire and Affective State.

Selected Publications:

1. Garner, T. (2022) How the World Listens. Routledge. UK.
2. Garner, T. (2021). Leveraging Motion and Conceptual Frameworks of Sound as a Novel Means of Sound Design in Extended Reality. Designing Interactions for Music and Sound. Routledge. UK.
3. Garner, T. (2019). A bridge between worlds: Exploring how digital game sound and the imagination can obscure the distinctions that separate the real from the other-real. The Oxford Handbook of Sound & Imagination, New York: Oxford University Press.
4. Garner, T., Powell, W. & Brown, P. (2019). Exploring Tracking Drift Compensation in Mobile VR for Locomotion Rehabilitation. IEEE VR: 2019. Osaka, Japan. March 23rd-27th 2019.
5. Garner, T. (2018). Echoes of Other Worlds: Sound in Virtual Reality. Palgrave Macmillan. UK.
6. Garner, T., Powell, W. & Powel, V. (2018). Everyday Virtual Reality. Encyclopaedia of Computer Graphics and Games. Springer International.
7. Powell, W., Garner, T., Shapiro, S., & Paul, B. (2017). Virtual Reality in Entertainment: The State of The Industry. BAFTA.
8. Grimshaw, M. & Garner, T. (2015). Sonic Virtuality: Sound as Emergent Perception, New York: Oxford University Press. US.

Several of Tom’s software projects, including several student projects, can be found online. Examples include: Village of the Year [VR Game]; DentaSIM [VR dental training sim]; Outworld Stories [AR GPS audio-game]; VICE: The University Simulator [PC game concept]; Summoned [biofeedback PC game]; and Goblins! VR. [Virtual reality game]. 

Postgraduate supervision

Tom is an experienced PhD supervisor and provides supervision across all undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He welcomes research degree inquiries across any of the following specialisms:

– HCI theory: Embodied cognition, cognitive load, affordance, perceptual motor theory, gamification, diegesis, social presence theory

– XR technology platforms: Virtual, augmented, mixed-reality, simulation, mobile applications

– XR systems: Asymmetric multiplayer, gesture/hand interaction, head/eye interaction, Real-world data integration, multisensory feedback, embedded artificial intelligence

– Serious games application: Skills training, real-time operational enhancement

– UX/Psychophysiology technologies: EEG, EMG, MEG, Skin conductance, HRV, eye-tracking

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