The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | December 1, 2006

Robotics Institute Seminar, December 1, 2006
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

What Devices Should Capture Visual Appearance?




Jack Tumblin

Assistant Professor

Northwestern University


Time and Place


Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm




This talk will broadly survey recent progress and proposed methods in computational photography. It explores novel “computational” sensors/arrays, illuminators, displays, probes, and expandable “visual archive” data types that are much richer, revealing and accessible than a simple grid of pixels. I describe how we can escape limitations of film-like photography and build visual archives we can explore interactively, perhaps by varied lighting, focus, viewpoint, pose, and more: what else might we want to adjust *after* we take our pictures? Such visual appearance archives are especially enticing for museum collections; I will preview our current collaborative work with the Art Institute of Chicago (see photo), and a project now beginning with Chicago’s Field Museum as well.  


The goals of photography have always been much broader and ambitious than "light measurement and display".  Good photography encompasses any technical method that makes a meaningful visual experience tangible, that lets us save, share, and manipulate what we have seen or would like to see.  Photography may soon take a great leap towards more active and direct descriptions of visual appearance in more machine-readable forms.  By generously applying low-cost computing and storage, the emerging field of "computational photography" shows new classes of computer-driven devices can better capture meaningful features for interactive exploration.


Speaker Biography


Jack Tumblin is keenly interested in how new machines can help us see. He co-organized 3 computational photography courses (ACM SIGGRAPH 2005,6; Eurographics2006), was Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Graphics 2001-06, and enjoys funded research with NSF, Adobe, and others (example: Google “flutter shutter”). His Assistant Professor position began in 2001, after two years of post-doctoral at Cornell Univ., a PhD in computer science from Georgia Tech in 1999, and a year at Microsoft Research.  Before his 1990 Masters in Electrical Engineering, he co-founded flight-simulator company IVEX Corp.  He holds 9 patents.


Speaker Appointments


For appointments, please contact Janice Brochetti (

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