From virtual anatomy for robotic surgery to photo-realistic face modelling on the Internet

Newton 11 January 2001LifeFX Inc., a developer of life-like virtual people for the Internet, will renew contracts with two integral members of its product development team, Dr. Paul Charette and Dr. Mark Sagar. Both expert professionals have been instrumental in the development of the unique biologically based facial modelling system technology which is the core of the LifeFX virtual people. Dr. Charette and Dr. Sagar share the title Vice President and Co-Director of Research and Development at LifeFX company and will be based in the Los Angeles office.


Both Dr. Charette and Dr. Sagar have been working with Dr. Ian Hunter, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bio-Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and LifeFX board member. Dr. Paul Charette obtained his doctorate degree from McGill University for his work on mechanical studies of biological membranes using laser speckled interferometry, during which he studied with Dr. Ian Hunter. Dr. Sagar completed his Ph.D. in 1996 and was appointed a Post-Doctoral fellowship at Dr. Ian Hunter's laboratory at MIT.

Lucie Salhany, CEO and co-president of LifeFX stated: "Through the work of talented scientists such as Dr. Charette and Dr. Sagar, LifeFX has added a human element to on-line communications. We are fortunate to work with professionals of their calibre and global experience and value their commitment to the technology, and to our company."

Prior to joining LifeFX, Dr. Charette held post-doctoral fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in the Department of Engineering Science. Dr. Charette has published his work in a number of leading scientific journals and has won numerous prizes and scholarships for his research work. Dr. Charette is experienced in the areas of precision scientific instrumentation, lasers and optics, parallel computing, numerical methods, image processing and bio-engineering mechanics.

Dr. Mark Sagar was formerly a member of the Bio-Engineering Group of Professor Peter Hunter at the University of Auckland, where he developed an anatomically accurate computer model of the human eye combining visual and mechanical realism for use in robotic eye surgery. Dr. Sagar extended existing computer graphics modelling techniques and also developed a new methodology and software for the creation of complex solid-based virtual anatomy for bio-engineering virtual environments. These methods were used to create a photo-realistic bio-mechanically based virtual model of the heart.

LifeFX Inc., a Safeguard Scientifics partner company, is creating the face of the Internet by developing photo-realistic, Stand-In virtual humans, which can interact in real time. LifeFX Stand-Ins will be used by Web businesses as life-like customer-service and sales representatives, guides, entertainers, and teachers while consumer applications are expected to include e-mail, instant messaging, and chat rooms. The LifeFX technology was originally developed for professional medical applications by the University of Auckland, with which LifeFX has an exclusive, worldwide, perpetual license. LifeFX holds three patents and has four pending.

Leslie Versweyveld

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