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Computer Vision PhD Studentship-Real-time Action Recognition for Human-Robot Interaction, UK


The Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University is pleased to offer a three year full-time PhD Scholarship to a new student commencing in January 2015. The successful applicant will receive an annual bursary of £10,000 for three years (with no inflation increase) and the fees will be paid by the University.

The successful candidate will work within the Department of Computing and Communication Technologies – as part of both the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Vision group and the Cognitive Robotics group, under the supervision of Dr Fabio Cuzzolin and Dr Nigel Crook.

Topic of research: Real-time Action Recognition for Human-Robot Interaction

Action recognition is a fast-growing area of research in computer vision. The problem consists in, given a video captured by one or more cameras, detecting and recognising the category of the action performed by the person(s) who appear in the video. The problem is very challenging, for a number of reasons: labelling videos is an ambiguous task, as the same sequence can be assigned different verbal descriptions by different human observers; different motions can carry the same meaning (inherent variability); nuisance factors such as viewpoint, illumination variations, occlusion (as parts of the moving person can be hidden behind objects or other people) further complicate recognition. In addition, traditional action recognition benchmarks are based on a ‘batch’ philosophy: it is assumed that a single action is present within each video, and videos are processed as a whole, typically via algorithms which require entire days to be completed. While this can be suitable for tasks such as video browsing and retrieval over the internet (although speed is critical there), it is completely unacceptable for a number of real world applications which require a prompt, real-time interpretation of what action is taking place.

Examples are: human-robot and human-machine interaction (using gestures to send commands to a computer or a robot), surveillance (detecting potentially dangerous actions or events in live feeds), car driver’s monitoring (monitoring the level of attention, or responding to gestural commands), gaming (interpreting the body language of a video game player), intelligent vehicles (understanding the behaviour of pedestrians and other vehicles in the vicinity of a car).

Consequently, a new paradigm of ‘online’, ‘real-time’ action recognition is rapidly emerging, and is likely to shape the field in coming years. The AI and Vision group is already building on its multi-year experience in batch action recognition to expand towards online recognition, based on two distinct approaches: one based on the application of novel ‘deep learning’ neural networks to automatically segmented video regions, the other resting on continually updating an approximation of the space of ‘feature’ measurements extracted from images, via a set of balls of radius which depends on how difficult classification is within that region of the space.

For further information about the Artificial Intelligence and Vision group, consult  and Dr Fabio Cuzzolin’s web page:

For information on the Cognitive Robotics group, consult
The selection criteria will focus on academic excellence, suitability of research experience and skills, subject knowledge and references. If you would like to apply you should request an application pack from Ms Zane Kalnina,, quoting ‘Action Recognition PhD Scholarship’ in the subject line.

As part of the application you must submit a maximum 3 page outline research proposal (instructions on how to prepare a research proposal can be found on the Brookes website: , together with a supporting statement of no more than 300 words summarising:
•    Your reasons for undertaking this project;
•    Preparation undertaken and previous research experience;
•    How this bursary will make a difference to your research.

Eligibility: Home/EU and International students

Deadline: Fully completed applications must be sent to - by Friday 9th January 2015.

Further Information

Application Deadline : 9 January 2015

Computer Vision PhD Studentship-Real-time Action Recognition for Human-Robot Interaction : PDF

Contact Email:

Posted on 2015-01-03 01:50:12

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