Jul 14, 2022
Body Models Driving the Age of the Avatar – with Michael J. Black, Director, Perceiving Systems Department, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
In this episode of Unboxing AI, I host Michael J. Black from the Max Planck Institute. We speak about body models, his journeys in industry and academia, representing all human body types and the age of the avatar. Michael explains about the early days of computer vision, his experiences commercializing body models through his startup, Body Labs, and how the metaverse and our avatars will revolutionize our everyday lives.
Episode transcript and more at UnboxingAI.show
TOPICS & TIMESTAMPS
00:39 Guest Intro
01:41 What are body models and why are they so useful?
04:17 Human interpretability - important or not?
05:32 Real use cases for body models
10:54 History of body model development leading to SMPL
19:21 Body model development beyond SMPL: MANO, FLAME, SMPL-X, and more
22:11 Edge cases: dealing with unique body shapes
24:45 Early days of computer vision
27:37 Working at Xerox PARC
30:00 Shifting to academia
31:30 The vision for Perceiving Systems at MPI-IS
34:15 Innovation and team structure at Perceiving Systems
37:40 Perceiving Systems - similarities to a startup
40:38 Founding Body Labs
45:30 Body Labs' Acquisition by Amazon
47:24 Distinguished Amazon Scholar role
49:03 About Meshcapade
50:05 What is the metaverse?
50:56 The age of the avatar
56:32 Career Tips for Computer Vision Engineers
LINKS AND RESOURCES
Michael J. Black @ MPI-IS
Papers at CVPR 2022
About Perceiving Systems
Our guest is Michael J. Black, one of the founding directors of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany. He completed his PhD in computer science at Yale University, his postdoc at the University of Toronto, and has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers to date. His research focuses on understanding humans and their behavior in video, working at the boundary of computer vision, machine learning, and computer graphics. His work on realistic 3D human body models such as SMPL has been widely used in both academia and industry, and in 2017, the start-up he co-founded to commercialize these technologies was acquired by Amazon. Today, Michael and his teams at MPI are developing exciting new capabilities in computer vision that will be important for the future of 3D avatars, the metaverse and beyond.
ABOUT THE HOST
I’m Gil Elbaz, Co-founder and CTO of Datagen. In this podcast, I speak with interesting computer vision thinkers and practitioners. I ask the big questions that touch on the issues and challenges that ML and CV engineers deal with every day. On the way, I hope you uncover a new subject or gain a different perspective, as well as enjoying engaging conversation. It’s about much more than the technical processes – it’s about people, journeys, and ideas. Turn up the volume, insights inside.