Seeing What You Will Look like in the Future Can Change Your Life; Health Wales Is Highlighting the Work of Welsh Crucible Researchers - the Cream of Welsh Research Talent. Dr Bernie Tiddeman Develops Computer Software to Analyse Human Faces
YOU could be forgiven for wondering what the subject of computer science, often portrayed as a haven for the antisocial geek, has to do with steamy topics such as sex, evolution, health and attractiveness, but these are exactly the areas that my research is involved with.
I work with research psychologists, cosmetics manufacturers and medical professionals interested in faces.
I develop software and algorithms to help them study images, videos and 3D models of faces.
The analysis and synthesis of facial images has long been a topic of interest for computer scientists, and is still an active area of research in laboratories around the world.
There are a wide range of applications, including face recognition for security, interpreting facial expression for robotics and human computer interaction, face reconstruction for forensics or facial animation for animated films. Although a great deal of progress has been made, there are still many areas that could be improved - face recognition that can handle changes in the subject's age, or a wide variety of poses, expressions and lighting.
In facial animation, although impressive results have been achieved, by tracking markers placed on an actor's face for example, a great deal of input is still required from talented animators.
My research started with a PhD project developing software for analysing the shapes of patients' faces for surgeons, helping them to plan and evaluate their treatments.
The main focus of the project was cleft-lip and cleft palate, conditions that affect about one in every 700 newborn babies.
More recently, I have been working with orthodontists, analysing both cleft lip and palate and also congenital hypodontia (missing teeth). …