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Stefanie Tellex Receives Salomon Award

Assistant Professor Stefanie Tellex of the Computer Science Department has just received a Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award from Brown University’s Office of the Vice-President for Research. She joins multiple previous winners from the Department, including Rodrigo Fonseca, Ugur Cetintemel, and John Jannotti. The award, given annually, was established to support excellence in scholarly work by providing funding for selected faculty research projects of exceptional merit with preference given to junior faculty who are in the process of building their research portfolio.

Stefanie’s scholarly interests include human-robot collaboration, and her Salomon-funded research will continue her study of the interaction between robots and children in particular. An important concern is the highly complex motion patterns that children produce. “Most pose-tracking research to date has focused on adults,” she explains. “We aim to bridge this gap by using Kinect sensors, developed for the Xbox, to create a corpus of RGB-D video of young children, then implement a basic pose tracking algorithm.”

Funds provided by the award will allow the creation of an entire prototype perceptual system, from acquiring cameras and sensors to collecting data to developing a first pass algorithm that will track a child’s pose over time, then assessing its speed and accuracy using the dataset. “I’m very grateful to win this award,” Stefanie comments. “Creating and analyzing this corpus of data is a necessary first step before robots can assist with childcare or perform other key tasks. If we better understand how children move, the ramifications may be as significant to other fields, such as architecture and education, as they will be to robotics.”