January 28, 2019

"And the (technical) Oscar goes to…Bernd Bickel from IST Austria"

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors Austrian researcher with “Technical Achievement Award”

Austria has another Academy Award winner. Having honored actor Christoph Waltz (2010, 2013) and director Michael Haneke (2013), the Oscar Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded Bernd Bickel, a computer scientist from Vorarlberg, with this year’s Technical Achievement Award. This prize is granted each year two weeks before the Academy Awards of Merit (“Oscars”). Bernd Bickel will be given the prize on 9 February at the award ceremony in Los Angeles.

Bernd Bickel and his colleagues Thaboo Beeler, Derek Bradley and Markus Gross will receive the prestigious award for developing a computer-based system which allows translating facial expressions and gestures from human beings to animated characters. The “Medusa” system was used in such films as “Maleficent”, “Star Wars” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”.

From 2010-2014, Bernd Bickel was part of the team at Disney Research in Zurich that developed the Medusa system. Since 2015, the computer scientist has been conducting research at Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) in Klosterneuburg.

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