Dimitris Zarpalas CRe-AM Interview

Name : Dimitris Zarpalas

Job Title : Research Associate

Organisation : Centre for Research and Technology Hellas / Information Technologies Institute

Sector : Immersive Technologies

Web Link : www.iti.gr http://vcl.iti.gr/

Interview Date : 22/10/2015

Location : ICT 2015 Lisbon

Short Biography

Dimitris Zarpalas is an Electrical and Computer Engineer, with an MSc in Computer Vision (Penn State University, USA) and a PhD in Medical Informatics (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece), currently employed in the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas  (CERTH) as a Research Associate in the Visual Computing Lab of the Information Technologies Institute, serving as the project manager and the technical lead in R&D projects.

He has been involved in numerous EU projects, working on the topics of: Tele-Immersion, real-time 3D reconstruction of humans appearance and performance, compression of time-varying 3D meshes, 3D motion capturing and skill performance evaluation, Holoscopic imaging, holoscopic depth extraction, 3D and 2.5D object recognition, medical imaging and segmentation, 3D content based search and retrieval. Currently, his focus in on the tele-immersion technologies and its applicability to various domains (e.g. games).


1. What current technologies and tools fulfill your needs in your practice?

Microsoft Kinect, Wearable sensors for 3D motion capturing and 4D media generation.

2. What technologies do you see emerging in the next 5-10 years?

Real time 3D appearance and performance reconstruction, Tele-immersion: Multiplayer 3D environments where 3D reconstructions of remote users are immersed in real-time in the same 3D environment.

A simple prototype example could be seen here: https://youtu.be/6K9ItlpWRF8

3. Could you identify any strengths and weaknesses with these technologies?

Strengths: Being able to see the 3D reconstruction of your (remotely located) friends in real –time and interact with them within the 3D game environment, will provide a unique experience to the users.  

Weaknesses: Cost (need to have 3-4 Kinect sensors); Difficult to calibrate accurately and set up the capturing platform; required bandwidth.


4. Do you think there are additional technologies or tools needed, or that you would wish for?

Simplified motion capture and rgb-d capturing tools to recreate the appearance of the player.

Commercial solutions for AR glasses (e.g. Microsoft Hololens) or holoscopic projectors


5. If these were available what would you be creating?

Multiplayer, tele-immersion based, personalised games

6. Can you see any strengths and weakness involved?

Strength is that these games and experiences will be fully immersive, offering more natural experience in interaction among remote users

7. What do you recommend to fill the gap between creators and technology providers?

There is a gap currently – better communication and collaboration is needed as creative and technologists speak different languages

About the EU RePlay Project

RePlay: Reusable low-cost platform for digitizing and preserving traditional participative sports

Currently, within the RePlay project (http://www.fp7-replay.eu/index.php/en/) a set of 4 Kinects and 9 Wearable Inertia Measurement Units are utilized to offer a game like experience for children and athletes to practice traditional sports (https://www.youtube.com/user/fp7Replay). More specifically, the data from all these sensors are initially temporally and spatially aligned, and subsequently fused on a per frame basis, to accurately and realistically create the user’s pose together with his photo-realistic 3D reconstructed model. The resulting 4D media and 3D motion information are respectively used for visualization and evaluation of the user’s performance. Such technologies can be exploited in game content creation (realistic 3D models and custom generated animations) and to increase gaming immersion in either entertainment or serious games.