Professor  Peter Robinson Digital Library

Based in Cambridge, United Kingdom
Peter Robinson


Peter Robinson is Professor of Computer Technology in the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in England, where he leads work on computer graphics and interaction.

Professor Robinson's research concerns problems at the boundary between people and computers. This involves investigating new technologies to enhance communication between computers and their users, and new applications to exploit these technologies. The main focus for this is human-computer interaction, where he has been leading work for some years on the use of video and paper as part of the user interface. The idea is to develop augmented environments in which everyday objects acquire computational properties through user interfaces based on video projection and digital cameras. This led to work on desk-size projected displays and tangible interfaces. Recent work has explored applications of computer vision to enhancing driver experiences in semi-autonomous vehicles.

With rapid advances in key computing technologies and the heightened user expectation of computers, the development of socially and emotionally adept technologies is becoming a necessity. He has led investigations of the inference of people's mental states from facial expressions, vocal nuances, body posture and gesture, and other physiological signals, and also considered the expression of emotions by robots and cartoon avatars. This has led to work on analysing facial expressions of domestic animals and also to more general consideration of what it means to be human in an age of increasingly human-like machines.

He has also pursued a parallel line of research into inclusive user interfaces. Collaboration with the Engineering Design Centre has investigated questions of physical handicap, and research students have considered visual handicaps. This has broader applications for interaction with ubiquitous computers, where the input and output devices themselves impose limitations.

Professor Robinson is a Fellow of Gonville & Caius College where he previously studied for a first degree in Mathematics and a PhD in Computer Science under Neil Wiseman. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the British Computer Society and member of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Available Lectures

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  • Computation of emotions
    The importance of emotional expression as part of human communication has been understood since the seventeenth century, and has been explored scientifically since Charles Darwin and others...
  • Driving the future
    Road transport is changing.  Drivers will see more changes in the next five years than they have seen in the last 100.  How can we make these changes easier?  How...
  • Of machines and men
    Continuing improvements in computer technology are allowing machines to perform in ways that model human activity, to the extent that many people now treat machines as if they were...

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