DLS Talk by Michael Black (Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems)

Thursday, November 29, 2018 | 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Hugh Dempster Building (6245 Agronomy Rd), Room 110

Speaker:  Dr. Michael J. Black, Managing Director, Perceiving Systems, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Title: The Digital Body: Capturing, Modelling and Animating Realistic 3D Humans


We interact with the world through our bodies.  As many of our interactions move on-line, we become literally disembodied in the virtual world, breaking the metaphor of the Internet as a replica of our physical space. Can we take our bodies with us on-line?  Can we create virtual humans that look and behave in ways that are indistinguishable from real people?  This talk will introduce the current state of the art in capturing, modeling, and animating realistic 3D human bodies.  The talk will introduce the latest technology for 4-dimensional body capture and the use of machine learning to create avatars that mimic our shape and motion.  We then exploit these detailed models of human bodies and how they move, to train deep neural networks to estimate 3D human shape and pose from images and videos.


Michael Black received his B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia (1985), his M.S. from Stanford (1989), and his Ph.D. from Yale University (1992).  After post-doctoral research at the University of Toronto, he worked at Xerox PARC as a member of research staff and area manager.  From 2000 to 2010 he was on the faculty of Brown University in the Department of Computer Science (Assoc. Prof. 2000-2004, Prof. 2004-2010).  He is one of the founding directors at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany, where he leads the Perceiving Systems department and serves as Managing Director.  He is also a Distinguished Amazon Scholar, an Honorary professor at the University of Tuebingen, and Adjunct Professor at Brown University. His work has won several awards including the IEEE Computer Society Outstanding Paper Award (1991), Honorable Mention for the Marr Prize (1999 and 2005), the 2010 Koenderink Prize for Fundamental Contributions in Computer Vision, and the 2013 Helmholtz Prize for work that has stood the test of time.  He is a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 2013 he co-founded Body Labs Inc., which was acquired by Amazon in 2017.

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