“We're building what we jokingly refer to as ‘thingatrons’, which let us test things for the things that aren’t yet in the market, but allows us to research the future,” says Dr Mike Seymour, co-founder of the Motus Lab.
One of the thingatrons the Motus Lab is working on uses A.I. machine learning technology called neural rendering to create completely believable digital humans.
Some of Mike’s research is deeply personal. His mother, father and an aunt have all suffered strokes. This has inspired Mike to work towards increasing quality of life for stroke survivors while the search continues for a cure, especially those young survivors of working age.
Working with international partners, Epic Games and Pinscreen in the US and Brain Injury Australia, the Motus Lab is using advanced technology to find solutions. One of the Lab’s new applications uses images of people from a person’s past to produce an interface that allows their device or computer to respond to that human face to talk to, interact with, and see them.
Mike says the aim of this research is not to replace caregivers, but to offer comfort for people living in the bewildering world of short-term memory loss by overlaying “a friendly face on technology”.
Before Mike began teaching and research at the University, he spent 25 years working on visual effects in the film industry, during which time he won an AFI award (now AACTA) and was nominated for an Emmy. He says he has always seen what he does as “visual creative problem solving.” As technology in the film industry rapidly advanced he wondered how it could be applied elsewhere.
Mike believes he and his team have an edge not just because of his industry connections, but as a result of the Motus Lab team’s strong history of researching digital disruptions, led by Lab co-founder Professor Kai Riemer.