Professor John Tyrer

Msc, PhD

  • Professor of Optical Instrumentation

Research groups and centres


  • Educated at Cranfield and Loughborough University in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Worked as an experimental test engineer/designer in the automobile industry harnessing laser technology for engine design studies.
  • Joined Loughborough University as a lecturer in engineering design in 1983.
  • Senior Lecturer in 1988.
  • Professor of Optical Instrumentation in 2007.

Research interests and activities

  • Optical non-destructive testing
  • Laser safety
  • Computer-generated holography Display holography
  • Optical strain analysis
  • Optical vibration analysis
  • Underwater laser applications
  • High power laser machining
  • Human body shape measurement and performance analysis
  • Human biomechanical analysis using optical methods
  • Optical forensic analysis
  • Non-contact laser based temperature measurement of high speed components

External activities
Learned Society Engagement

  • 2007: Executive Board Member of Laser Institute of America

Professional Affiliations

  • FIMechE
  • FLIA

Major Conference Activity

  • For the Institute of Physics I helped establish and chair the Fringe Analysis Special Interest Group (FASIG) and the Underwater Optics Group.
  • I organised conferences and seminars for the:
  • IMechE/ BSSM: Opto-Mechanics and Strain Analysis, Bio-Mechanics.
  • 2004-2006: LIA: International Congress on Applications of Lasers and Electro-Optics (ICALEO).
  • 1997-2007: LIA: International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC).
  • 2007: LIA: ILSC International Conference General Chair

Invited lectures

  • Newton Lecture 1992
  • Croxton Lecture 1998
  • Faraday Lectures 1999
  • Henry Royce Lecture 2004
  • Rank Lecture 2008

Advisory roles

  • 1995-2002: DTI Length Working Group: National Measurement System Committee.
  • 2001-2004: BSI CEN-TC61 Safety Committee.
  • 2002-2006: DTI Measurement Advisory Committee.
  • 2003-2006: DTI Chairman of Temperature & Humidity Working Group, NMS.
  • 2003-2007: DTI Chairman of Frequency & Time Working Group, NMS.
  • 2007-: DTI Member of Physical Metrology, NMS DTI Member of Pathfinder Metrology (previously Quantum Meterology).

Journal referee

  • IMechE, IOP, BSSM
  • Exp.Mechanics

Collaborative research
Lead Consortia:

  • Member for EU - CRAFT LASSAR Project
  • DTI: OVD Project
  • DTI Airtest Project
  • LaserMem, LasInject, RenewIT, Sure2Grip

Commercialisation of research
I have been continuously involved in developing coherent Optical Metrology Equipment to investigate practical issues in Solid Mechanics, Dynamics and Underwater Imaging with funding predominantly from EPSRC and DTI and significant involvement from industrial co-sponsors. Four externally licensed instruments have been produced:

  • the VidiSpec by Ealing Electro Optics (Speckle Interferometer),
  • HC1000 by Newport Corporation (Speckle Interferometer),
  • Maximum Permissible Exposure Meter, and
  • High Power Diffractive Laser Beam Monitor both by Precision Optical Engineering Limited.

Pioneering the use of shearing interferometry on humans developed the use of pulsed and electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI) to examine hard and soft body tissue for bio-mechanical applications. This novel work has helped determine strain distributions in the human femur, jaws, fingers and recently the cornea of the eye. All this work has led to rigorous new understanding of human biomechanics.

Experience in developing licensed products led to the establishment of a Loughborough University spin out company, Laser Optical Engineering Ltd, in 1996. LOE has worked synergistically with my academic research group to provide new research opportunities

Laser optical engineering

  • Managing Director & Founder of University Spin Out Company now employs 10 permanent members of staff.
  • Patents / licences: Please See Additional List
  • 2004: Founder of Vehicle Occupancy Ltd
  • 2007: Founder of Residue Detection Ltd


  • 1989: British Institute of Management, East Midlands – Young Manager of the year
  • For use of research project management & introducing feedback process in student teaching.
  • 2000: The Queens Award for Further & Higher Education in Optical Engineering, one of the Awarded Applicants.
  • 2004: BINDT Roy Sharpe Prize for my work in Speckle Interferometry.
  • 2006: The Worshipful Livery of Scientific Instrument Makers Technology Prize for Multi Axis Strain Analysis using Speckle Interferometry.
  • 2007: The DaVinci Health Technology Innovation Awards second place for my work on the cornea using radial shearing interferometry.
  • 2007: IET Regional Innovation Engineering Award for the use of real time multi-spectral imaging applied to vehicle occupancy counting.
  • 2007: IET National Innovation in Engineering Award for Transport

Current administration responsibilities

  • University Laser Safety Advisor
  • Responsible for Laser Safety across Loughborough University