Research Fellows Directory
Dr Darren Cosker
University of Bath
The entertainment industry has invested millions of dollars into technology for movies and video games. The result is a multi-billion-dollar industry – enjoyed by millions around the world. However, what most people do not realise is that the technology used to create our entertainment can be harnessed to benefit people across society and our economy.
My research aims to capture the world around us using computers – so we can understand it more. This area of research is called Computer Vision. In particular, I am interested in people. As humans, it is second nature for us to look at each other and make judgements. For example, is that person walking? What are their intentions? How do they feel? However, for computers, this is very difficult. If we can teach computers to do the same, I believe we will have learned something more about ourselves.
In the world of entertainment, we want to create images – often of people and characters. We call this area Computer Graphics. Doing this requires the measurement of people, say actors, and then turning this into something new, e.g. turning Andy Serkis into Gollum in the Lord of the Rings Movie. This is currently achieved using a mixture of technology, but also with very highly skilled artists who can correct computer mistakes. One aim of my research is to make this capture process of people easier and more accurate. Faces are perhaps the hardest part of a person to measure and reproduce, as we are highly skilled at reading faces and detecting flaws in fake ones. My research to date has therefore largely focused on this area. However, more recently I have started to move beyond faces to bodies and animals.
How does this research go beyond Entertainment? While entertainment industry has spent millions on tools to capture people. However, other areas – such as Healthcare and Sport – use older technologies. One challenge is to take what we have learned from entertainment, vision and graphics and transfer it to these areas.