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European Conference on Computer Vision

Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund Report – Stanislaw Szymanowicz (2022, DPhil Engineering Science)
Tel Aviv, Israel, October 2022

I had the chance to attend one of the top-tier Computer Vision conferences – the European Conference on Computer Vision. I presented my paper “Photo-realistic 360 Head Avatars in the Wild” which details a system for capturing fully photo-realistic head avatars from just a mobile phone capture. The conference was an extremely valuable experience, and it allowed me to advertise my work, learn about the newest research and network with other researchers in my field.

The work I presented was designed to push the capabilities of immersive telepresence – a scenario in which we can call someone in a different location, see them as a hologram on Mixed Reality glasses and interact as if they were physically present. My work aimed to tackle 3 shortcomings of currently proposed solutions: the avatars should look exactly like real people (not like cartoons), they should look photorealistic from all 360 degrees (not only frontal) and one should only need commodity hardware like a phone to capture such avatar. My presentation met with both high interest at the conference and on social media.

Apart from presenting my work I got to attend workshops on the newest developments in my topics of study, as well as poster sessions at the main conference. I was familiar with many of the works presented, but it was great to dive deeper into the details as well as to hear about the challenges the authors faced during their work (this is something which is not usually mentioned in the papers, but is important when attempting to build on existing research). It was a great opportunity to chat to other researchers in person, find out more about the papers they were presenting, as well as their current work. Attending the conference in person made interacting with others a lot easier than doing that online. I was particularly interested in workshop on ‘Self-Supervised Learning – What is next?’, partially organised by my supervisors here at Oxford. I found the talk on multi-modal self-supervised learning where the authors were jointly analysing the data present in images, videos and data from 3D sensors the most interesting as it relates to where I would like to take my research in the future.

Outside of the scheduled parts of the conference, I had the wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse of Tel Aviv, which was incredibly exciting because this was my first time in the Middle East. Exploring the city was also a great opportunity to spend some time with my lab colleagues outside of the usual work environment and get to know them better.

In summary, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity, thanks to the financial support from the Travel Grant, to attend the conference in person – I made some valuable connections, shared my work with a wider audience, learned about the most recent research and explored the wonderful city of Tel Aviv. It was an enriching and enlightening experience.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 24 March 2023

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