Title: Interactive Playspaces for 3D Content Creation

Speaker: Ankit Gupta, Microsoft

Abstract: Designing interfaces for 3-dimensional tasks poses interesting challenges. The traditional desktop or tabletop setups do not work very well here because it is hard for the user to visualize the 3D virtual world using 2-dimensional displays and control them using un-intuitive devices like keyboard/mouse/joystick etc.
In this talk, I explore an easy to set up interactive environment, called a playspace, for 3D content creation. The user performs the task with physical 3D objects while a color+depth camera observes and understands the task in real-time. It then presents context-specific feedback and automatically reflects the inferred activity in a virtual world on a screen in front of the user.
I will talk about two particular applications in the playspace environment --
1. Block model assembly - The system automatically learns and builds a virtual replica of a Duplo-block model by observing the user build it. It also assists the user in creating a predefined model in a novel way while detecting any mistakes and assisting in making any corrections on the fly. I report on a user study that shows that the proposed guidance method is better than the traditional figure-based guidance method.
2. Digital storytelling - The system allows a user to act out a story using rigid puppets and automatically converts that into an animation. Further, it also allows the user to record multiple takes for the same story and merge them automatically after the user has roughly annotated them based on his liking. This is helpful when the user wants to try out different styles and later merge them. I report on a user study to test this utility.
Towards the end, I will briefly talk about my experience of doing research and development in Computer Vision for a product at Microsoft.

Bio: Ankit Gupta is a research and development engineer in the Analog Group at Microsoft. His research spans computer vision, computer graphics, computational photography and human computer interaction. He is passionate about developing and advancing state-of-the-art algorithms in these fields to enable novel interactive experiences with 2D/3D visual content.
Ankit completed his PhD from Graphics and Imaging Lab at University of Washington in August 2013, where he was co-advised by Prof. Brian Curless and Dr. Michael Cohen. Earlier, he completed his Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (2007) and Masters degree in the same field from University of Washington (2009). He has done research internships at Intel Labs (Seattle), Microsoft Research (Redmond) and Microsoft Research (India).