Through the lens of 25 Years: The Real Lessons of Through-the-Lens Camera Control

Michael Gleicher


I was invited to reflect on Through-the-Lens Camera Control, a paper that I wrote 25 years ago. Its original vision never materialized, its specific ideas are long forgotten, and its mathematical details have been rendered obsolete. Yet, elements of the ideas continue to shape my thinking today. In this talk, I will try to distill some lessons from Through-the-Lens Camera Control, with the lens of 25 years of hindsight. I will point out the aspects rendered obsolete by advances in Graphics and Vision. I will critique the interaction techniques to assess why they never caught on. And, I will explain how the philosophy of Through the Lens Control still serves as a basis for my work, with recent examples from Visualization, Virtual Reality, and Robotics.


Michael Gleicher is a Professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Prof. Gleicher is founder of the Department’s Visual Computing Group. His research interests span the range of visual computing, including data visualization, robotics, image and video processing tools, virtual reality, and character animation. His current foci are human data interaction and human robot interaction. Prior to joining the university, Prof. Gleicher was a researcher at The Autodesk Vision Technology Center and in Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group. He earned his Ph. D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, and holds a B.S.E. in Electrical Engineering from Duke University. In 2013-2014, he was a visiting researcher at INRIA Rhone-Alpes. Prof. Gleicher is an ACM Distinguished Scientist.

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