The Robotics Institute
RI | Seminar | May 7

Robotics Institute Seminar, May 7
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

On Seeing Stuff: The Perception of Materials by Humans and Machines

Ted Adelson
Professor of Vision Science
Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Time and Place

NSH 1305
Talk 2:00 pm
Refreshments at 1:45 pm

The perception of objects is a well-developed field, but the perception of materials (the stuff of which objects are made) has been studied rather little. This is surprising given how important materials are for humans, and how important they must be for useful robots. In studying material perception, we can take ideas from various areas in vision research, including lightness and texture perception. We can also learn from computer graphics, where the realistic rendering of materials is an important research topic. I will describe recent psychophysical and computational results that indicate some of the mechanisms that are used humans and could be used by machines.

Speaker Biography

Edward Adelson is Professor of Vision Science at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is a member of the Artificial Intelligence Lab. He has a B.A. in Physics and Philosophy from Yale University (1974), and a Ph. D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Michigan (1979). After a post-doc at NYU, he worked on vision and image coding at RCA Sarnoff Labs in Princeton. He came to MIT in 1987. He has published numerous papers in the fields of human perception, machine vision, visual neurophysiology, and image processing. His current interests include motion perception, and the perception of materials and surfaces. He has been honored with the Adolph Lomb Medal and the Rank Prize in Opto-electronics.

Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Tai Sing Lee (

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.