UK's Yang Receives Microsoft Award to Develop Real-time Tele-collaboration

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 11, 2015) — Ruigang Yang, professor of computer science at the University of Kentucky, has received a Microsoft Surface Hub for Research award totaling $25,000 to develop tele-collaboration/presence using the Surface Hub.

The Microsoft Surface Hub is a new large-screen pen and touch device designed to advance team collaboration and productivity. Microsoft is currently developing business productivity and collaboration apps, but to explore the potential of the Surface Hub in education, the company has awarded grants to 10 researchers across the world.

Funds from the award and a complimentary Surface Hub will allow Yang and a UK graduate student to develop a real-time detailed motion capture system that is able to generate complete and water-tight 3-D models of humans in motion, providing a more convincing experience for tele-conferencing.

While the primary objective of the project is to provide this experience using the Surface Hub, the underlying techniques can also be used with other visualization hardware, such as the HoloLens to provide a fully immersive 3-D tele-presence experience.

Prior methods deploy an array of cameras to first reconstruct the 3-D model of someone and then render virtual views, but these approaches require dedicated setup and careful calibration. Yang's project seeks to limit the input to a single camera so it can be integrated into the Surface Hub as a single piece of equipment, without the need for calibration and a large footprint.

Yang's research interests include computer graphics and computer vision, specifically in 3-D reconstruction and data analysis. He has published more than 100 papers, which, according to Google Scholar, has received close to 7,000 citations with an h-index of 38 (as of 2015). He has received a number of awards, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award in 2004 and the Dean's Research Award in 2013. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,