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Challenge the way you perceive the world

Challenge the way you perceive the world

Computer scientists and entrepreneurs working with artificial intelligence reveal how they adapt visual perception to enable robots and intelligent systems to see and interpret the environment.

Much of how we perceive our daily lives stems from the visual input we receive ­ paintings, photographs, and videos reveal how we think, feel and perceive light. Creating sensors for robots, intelligent machines, and augmented reality, researchers enable machines to perceive information related to the task­at­hand, without having to produce visual images. Tasks such as search and rescue, industrial inspection, crop monitoring or archeological surveying require an unconventional approach that delivers visual information in differing formats. Speakers will reveal how sensory perception allows robotic devices to operate at high speeds and with a fraction of the power consumption of a conventional camera. They will also demonstrate multiple scene perception algorithms based in Computer Vision techniques and their applications.

As a participant, you will have the opportunity to challenge your own perception with interactive visual illusions and convince yourself that what your brain perceives is not what your eyes see.

Moderation: Susan Kish, CEO Andesa

Event language: English

Wann 14.09.2018
Zeit 14:00 - 17:00
Wo Schiffbau


  • 14.00-14.10

    Welcome and Introduction (Susan Kish)

  • 14.10-14.25

    Teaching robots to see
 (Margarita Chli, Vision for robotics lab, ETH Zürich)

  • 14.25-14.40

    Spatial Computing: Towards a Co-Processor to the Human Brain (Alexander Ilic, Magicleap/Dacuda)

  • 14.40-14.55

    Interview with Markus Gross, Computer Graphics Laboratory, ETH Zurich and Disney Research Zurich

  • 14.55-15.15

    Conversation with Margarita Chli, Alexander Ilic and Markus Gross

  • 15.15-15.45

    Break, Demos

  • 15.45-16.05

    Machine Perception for VR
 (Alexander Sorkine-Hornung, Oculus)

  • 16.05-16.25

    Creating visual technologies in-silico inspired by what is found in-vivo
 (Yulia Sandamirskaya and Julien Martel, Institute of Neuroinformatics ETH Zürich and University of Zurich)

  • 16.25-16.45

    Applications and recent advances of deep learning for robot applications
 (Isaac Deutsch and Daniel Hoeller, Nvidia)

  • 16.45-16.55

    Talk (tbd)
 (Marc Pollefeys, Computer Vision and Geometry Group, ETH Zürich)

  • 16.55-17.00

    Q&A and Closing

  • 17.00

    Networking Reception


Prof. Margarita Chli

Computer Vision for Robotics at ETH Zurich

Margarita Chli is a Professor at ETH Zurich leading the Vision for Robotics Lab at ETH Zurich. Originally from Greece and Cyprus, she studied Information & Computing Engineering at the University of Cambridge and has conducted her PhD at Imperial College London, UK. Margarita’s interests lie in Computer Vision for Robotics and her work contributed to the first vision­based autonomous flight of a small helicopter. In 2016, she featured in Robohub’s list of 25 women in Robotics you need to know aboutand in 2017, she received the biannual Zonta prize on the basis of her high impact contributions to the development of robotic vision and was a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Isaac Deutsch & David Hoeller


Isaac and David both work in deep learning and robotics at NVIDIA Zurich. It was similar interests but different paths that eventually brought them there:

Isaac was born in Bern. He went to study Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich, before then focusing on robotics. For the Bachelor and Master theses, Isaac stayed in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, respectively. Both theses discussed Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM); The former in the context of multi-robot collaboration, the latter in the context of active exploration. Isaac joined Zurich-based startup Nomoko as one of the first employees, working on 3D reconstruction from very high-resolution images, before coming to NVIDIA. There, he started collaborating with David Weikersdorfer on robotics.

David was born in Paris. Like Isaac, he studied Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich where he focused mainly on Robotics, Systems and Control. As part of his studies, he developed algorithms for satellite guidance and navigation at Airbus. In 2017, he started a PhD at the Robotics Systems Lab at ETH Zurich in conjunction with NVIDIA. He develops deep reinforcement learning algorithms to teach the lab’s quadrupedal robot ANYmal to move around and navigate in complex environments. These learning algorithms greatly benefit from the large computational infrastructure at NVIDIA.

Alexander Sorkine­-Hornung

Research Scientist & Technical Lead for Mixed Reality at Oculus Zurich

Alexander is Research Scientist and Technical Lead for Mixed Reality at Oculus Zurich. With the teams in Zurich, he focuses on developing core technologies that bridge the boundaries between the Real and Virtual World, ranging from 3D computer vision and machine learning to high-performance graphics and experience design. Before his time at Oculus, Alexander headed the Imaging and Video group at Disney Research. The research and technologies developed by his group have significantly impacted Disney park attractions and movie productions such as Soarin’ over California and Soarin’ around the World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Maleficent, Cinderella, Big Hero 6, and various others. Alexander obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science at RWTH Aachen in 2008, and spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the Computer Graphics Laboratory at ETH Zurich. In 2012 Alexander received the Eurographics Young Researcher Award.

Dr. Alexander Ilic

Head of Magicleap and Founder of Dacuda

Alexander Ilic is the head of Magic Leap Switzerland and an experienced high-tech entrepreneur. He co-founded the ETH Spin-off Dacuda (acquired by Magic Leap in 2017) and served as Assistant Professor at University of St.Gallen. In 2011, he won the Swiss Economic Award and was named «Entrepreneur of the Year» in 2012 by E&Y.

Julien Martel

Institute of Neuroinformatics, Cortical Computation Group

Julien is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Neuroinformatics. His research interests lie in artificial vision with the aim to give machines the ability to see, and understand what they see. Julien is interested in the design of algorithms and systems with novel, unconventional vision sensors. In particular, he has devoted his efforts to create algorithms for sensors that embed intelligent circuits in each pixel and is collaborating with chip designers to drive the design of the next generation of intelligent vision chips.

Marc Pollefeys

Computer Vision and Geometry Group ETH Zürich

Marc Pollefeys is a Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich and Director of Science at Microsoft working on HoloLens and Mixed Reality.  He is best known for his work in 3D computer vision, having been the first to develop a software pipeline to automatically turn photographs into 3D models, but also works on robotics, graphics and machine learning problems.  Other noteworthy projects he worked on with collaborators at UNC Chapel Hill and ETH Zurich are real-time 3D scanning with mobile devices, a real-time pipeline for 3D reconstruction of cities from vehicle mounted-cameras, camera-based self-driving cars and the first fully autonomous vision-based drone.  Most recently his academic research has focused on combining 3D reconstruction with semantic scene understanding.  He received a Master of Science in electrical engineering and a PhD in computer vision from the KU Leuven in Belgium in 1994 and 1999 respectively.  He became an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 2002 and joined ETH Zurich as a full professor in 2007. 

Prof. Markus Gross

Institute for Visual Computing at ETH Zurich and Director of Disney Research Zurich

Markus Gross is a Professor of Computer Science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), head of the Computer Graphics Laboratory, Vice President Global Research and Development and the director of Disney Research. He joined the ETH Computer Science faculty in 1994. His research interests include physically based modeling, computer animation, immersive displays, and video technology. Before joining Disney, Gross was director of the Institute of Computational Sciences at ETH. He received a master of science in electrical and computer engineering and a PhD in computer graphics and image analysis, both from Saarland University in Germany in 1986 and 1989. In 2013 he received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Konrad Zuse Medal of GI and the Karl Heinz Beckurts price.

Yulia Sandamirskaya

Institute for Neuroinformatics at ETH Zurich and University of Zurich

Yulia Sandamirskaya is leading the group "Neuromorphic Cognitive
Robots'' that builds biologically inspired computing architectures for robots
using spiking and continuous neuronal dynamics. She is interested in
long­term memory formation, sequence learning, sensorimotor maps
learning, spatial cognition, and navigation, and aims at realising related
neuronal architectures in mixed signal analog/digital neuromorphic chips.
She builds neuronal architectures that can perceive, learn, and act
autonomously in a closed sensor­motor loop, inspired by biological