Developing International Research – 3D Body imaging conference

Alice Bullas, Researcher (sport and health innovation) within the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) provides a synopsis of the impact/benefits in attending a conference funded by the Developing International Research Funding Opportunities scheme.

Over the last eight years, the Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) has explored several applications of 3D surface imaging systems, for example: body segment tracking, whole-body person tracking, and three-dimensional scanning. The aim of CSER’s work in this area has been to establish the feasibility and accuracy of low cost depth camera devices in the use of surface imaging systems in various biomechanics and kinathropometric contexts. To date we have conducted a number of specific studies in the context of 3D surface imaging;

Recently, we have established a morphology research group within CSER and Three Space – an externally facing platform in which to attract and develop external consultancy opportunities. However, engagement with other imaging research groups has been limited, due to their sparsity and the reluctance of commercial companies to share data and techniques. This has restricted our ability to engage within large cohort investigations, international projects and external grant opportunities.

In summer 2016 we became aware of the IEEE 3D Body Processing Research Group – an international alliance of diverse stakeholders from across technology, retail, research and standards development to build leadership around 3D body processing technology standards. This group is formed of, but not limited to: Target, IBV, 3dMD, SizeStream, Human Solutions, Columbia University, Kalypso, University of Oregon, University of British Columbia, BodyCloud, Google, Lululemon, Warsaw University and Vital Mechanics. We liaised with the group throughout the summer – digitally, through online meetings – we were invited to join the group at their biannual face to face meeting in Lugano, Switzerland. This meeting would focus on networking, developing new international research collaborations, and exploration of new and emerging areas of research.

We knew that attendance to this meeting would allow us to solidify our membership to this group, and that membership would allow us to drastically expand our research ability, facilitate our contribution to the establishment of international imaging standards and provide us with the essential network and experience we require to apply for external funding, such as the Wellcome Seed awards and/ or the ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme. However, no financial support was available to allow us to attend the meeting but we applied and appreciated have the funding granted through the DIRFO scheme.

In October, Myself and Dr Choppin (leader of the morphology research group within CSER) attended the IEEE 3D Body Processing Research Group meeting in Lugano, Switzerland. The meeting allowed us to position ourselves perfectly for future grant opportunities and create an internal network of contacts we have been previously been unable to foster. We hope that membership and input to this international research group will give us international standing within this research area and open up collaborations with university and industry partners. Our intention is to use new relationships to develop consultancy and grant opportunities over all three university research and impact platforms. In the longer term, the development of our research in this area allows us to target larger, longer term grants such as NIHR’s research for patient benefit award and / or the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships. In addition we hope this opportunity will boost the number and quality of our REF research outputs, improve our research led teaching practice and consultancy opportunities.

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