Deva Ramanan, associate professor of computer science at UC Irvine, has been named one of Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant 10” young scientists of 2012 for enabling computers to “see people.”
“Deva’s research is absolutely first-rate,” said Michael Goodrich, Chancellor’s Professor and chair of computer science in UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences. “It’s wonderful having him here to advise and attract students to work with him on this topic. This work also gives him an excellent opportunity to collaborate with scientists and engineers interested in the applications of pose detection in their work.”
Current computer vision systems – such as the motion-capture technology used by animation studios or the Microsoft Kinect input device for game control – analyze movements of the human body and require special-purpose sensors, typically mounted on the body or near a television.
Ramanan, 33, has devised a computational algorithm that allows similar analysis using only a single image or video of a person taken with a regular camera. This could facilitate a variety of advances. For example:
- People may soon be able to find all online pictures of themselves – even ones they didn’t take.
- Patients undergoing rehabilitation could be monitored long-term at home; such therapy now is often limited to weeks-long in-patient care.
- In the near future, computer vision may be used to build self-driving cars that avoid people walking in the street.
- Intuitive, gesture-based interfaces for appliances could be developed.
Prior to joining UCI in 2007, Ramanan was a research assistant professor at the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago. He has also been a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford’s Visual Geometry Group, Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and Microsoft Research’s Interactive Visual Media Group.
Ramanan received a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Delaware in 2000 and a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley in 2005.
In June, he received Elsevier’s Outstanding Young Researcher in Image and Vision Computing Award, presented at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, one of the major professional gatherings for that research field.
“It’s certainly exciting to be recognized for one’s work,” Ramanan said. “In my case, I’ve been very fortunate to work with a great group of students and collaborators, so I share this recognition with them.”
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