Simon Choppin

Postdoctoral researcher, Sheffield Hallam University


New hardware applications, high speed video optimisation and neural networks, biomechanics and motion analysis, impact mechanics.


I am interested in enhancing the lives of others through the use of affordable consumer technologies. Competition in consumer electronics has always pushed forward technology and driven down prices. Within the last five years, a number of developments have given the average consumer access to devices which only a decade ago would have cost tens of thousands of pounds.

The Microsoft Kinect (released at the end of 2010) has created new research activity in a number of different areas. The £100 computer camera is able to see depth and uses this information to track body position, automatically detect objects and scan objects in 3D. Within a year of its release, universities were showcasing new applications in robotics and artificial intelligence.

As a researcher interested in engineering, sport and biomechanics, I’m working to adapt the Kinect and devices like it into human analysis tools for use in sport, education and health. These areas have so far been ignored, but our research group is exceptionally well placed to deliver them.

Our current work includes developing fast and accurate body scanners for use in rehabilitation after surgery, body tracking systems for sports coaching, and gesture controlled virtual environments for the infirm and elderly. All these applications use a combination of hardware and custom software in combination with the Microsoft Kinect (although we envisage future generations of the hardware to be even more powerful, and fully intend to use it). I intend to create all software as open access, so that anyone with the appropriate hardware (a computer and Kinect) can benefit from these tools.

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