2-5 June 2009 University of Sassari, Italy



The 3rd IAPR/IEEE International Conference on Biometrics




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Keynote Speakers

  Heinrich H. Bülthoff
    Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
    Tübingen, Germany

Heinrich Bülthoff holds a Ph.D. degree in the natural sciences from the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen. From 1980 to 1988 he worked as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was Assistant, Associate and Full Professor of Cognitive Science at Brown University in Providence from 1988 – 1993 before becoming director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. Since 1996 he is also Honorary Professor at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen and since 2004 Editor in Chief of the ACM Transactions on Applied Perception. He is head of the Department “Human Cognition, Perception and Action” in which a group of about 60 biologists, computer scientists, mathematicians, physicists and psychologists work on perceptual, cognitive, and computational aspects of higher level processes in three research areas: recognition and categorization (RECCAT), perception, graphics, and computer vision (PGCV), and perception and action in virtual environments (PAVE). Prof. Bülthoff is involved in many international collaborations on these topics including a highly successful track record of EU-funded projects. Prof. Bülthoff was member of the board of directors of the Graduate School for Cognitive Neurobiology, Tübingen – first Graduate School in Germany that implemented a PhD curriculum in cognitive neurobiology and founding member of the board of d irectors of the Graduate/Postgraduate School of Neural & Behavioural Sciences and International Max Planck Research School – one of the first international graduate schools in Germany. He is in the Advisory board of the Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 550. the Advisory board of the Research Planning Committee of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and in the board of the Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN).


My philosophy to understand higher brain functions is to analyze human behavior in psychophysical experiments using physically realistic stimuli by making use of state of the art computer graphics and virtual reality technology. The primary purpose of perception is to enable interaction with the environment. Interactions may include walking from one place to another, grasping an object, talking to a person, or navigating a car. In return, such actions directly affect our perception of the world. The view we take is that in many aspects of behavior, motor actions and sensory processing are inseparably linked and therefore can be best studied in a closed action/perception loop by using virtual reality technology, part of which has been developed in house.

Research groups in the Bülthoff Department

Studies of multimodal cue integration, navigation and scene recognition in the PAVE group make use of a large virtual reality projection, motion capture and body tracking facilities, and a six degree of freedom motion simulator platform. Our unique motion simulator based on an industrial robot arm (Kuka) has been further developed into a full closed-loop simulator. This simulator has allowed us to use novel paradigms for investigations ranging from low-level perceptual processes such as visuo-vestibular cue integration to high-level issues such as learning of dynamic systems. In our recognition and categorization group (RECCAT) we aim to understand how the visual system represents, recognizes and categorizes different classes of objects. We are actively studying both static (e.g., color, texture, shape) and dynamic (e.g., characteristic movements, facial expressions, body actions) aspects of faces and non-face objects, the importance of the context in which these stimuli are learned; and how the visual system may interact with other sensory modalities in recognition and categorization (e.g., audition, haptics). Face recognition is studied in our face lab using a unique face database of more than 200 laser-scanned 3D head models which we collected over the years and which are now used in many other laboratories all over the world. Recently we built also a very large video corpus of dynamic facial expression which we plan to make publicly available. Results from the research in the face lab have already been applied to machine vision systems for the automatic synthesis of faces and facial expressions. This successful integration of computer vision, computer graphics, and perception has become another strong focus of our department in the PGCV group. Using our expertise in computer animation we have built a highly realistic and flexible facial animation system which in turn has allowed us to conduct perceptual experiments at levels of detail that had not been possible before. Computational analyses have started to be applied to higher-level topics such as perception of art, whereas exploiting the properties of human perception has resulted in image manipulations that change the appearance of materials using only simple heuristics.

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Last update : December 12, 2007