ASEF Speaker Series
Online Events

Dr. Jernej Barbič: Anatomically Based Modeling of Hands

March 10, 2022 | 7:00 pm | Online

How to acquire complete human hand bone anatomy in multiple poses using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?

The American Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF) is organizing a new ASEF Speaker Series event. This time prof. Jernej Barbič will deliver a lecture titled “Anatomically Based Modeling of Hands”. The lecture will be held on Thursday, March 10th, at 19:00 CET.

We ask attendees to register by March 10th at 18:00 CET (one hour before the event) on the following link. Registered attendees will receive a Zoom link an hour before the event.


One of Slovenia’s comparative advantages in the cultural sphere has long been its creative literature in the genres of narrative prose fiction, poetry and drama. Offsetting the country’s remarkable literary productivity and originality has been the relative obscurity of the literature’s medium, the Slovene language, not to mention the location and identity of its speakers. For over two centuries it has been a perennial dream and challenge of many of Slovenia’s most accomplished literary practitioners to write on themes and in styles, language and genres that might impart enough momentum to their work to take root in foreign as well as dWe demonstrate how to acquire complete human hand bone anatomy (meshes) in multiple poses using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Such acquisition was previously difficult because MRI scans must be long for high-precision results (over 10 minutes) and because humans cannot hold the hand perfectly still in non-trivial and badly supported poses. We invent a manufacturing process whereby we use lifecasting materials commonly employed in film special effects industry to generate hand molds, personalized to the subject, and to each pose. These molds are both ergonomic and encasing, and they stabilize the hand during scanning. We also demonstrate how to efficiently segment the MRI scans into individual bone meshes in all poses, and how to correspond each bone’s mesh to the same mesh connectivity across all poses. Next, we interpolate and extrapolate the MRI-acquired bone meshes to the entire range of motion of the hand, producing an accurate data-driven animation-ready rig for bone meshes. We also demonstrate how to acquire not just bone geometry (using MRI) in each pose, but also a matching highly accurate surface geometry (using optical scanners) in each pose, modeling skin pores and wrinkles. We also give a soft tissue Finite Element Method simulation “rig”, consisting of novel tet meshing for stability at the joints, spatially varying geometric and material detail, and quality constraints to the acquired skeleton kinematic rig. Given an animation sequence of hand joint angles, our FEM soft tissue rig produces quality hand surface shapes in arbitrary poses in the hand range of motion. Our results qualitatively reproduce important features seen in the photographs of the subject’s hand, such as similar overall organic shape and fold formation.


Jernej Barbič is a full professor of computer science at the University of Southern California. Jernej is also a co-founder, CTO and board member of a successful computer animation/games startup company “Ziva Dynamics” (acquired by Unity Technologies), whereby he contributed technical and business leadership on real-time character deformation, anatomically based modeling and digital humans. In 2011, MIT Technology Review named him one of the Top 35 Innovators under the age of 35 in the world. In 2014, he was named a Sloan Research Fellow. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Ljubljana (pure mathematics), Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, followed by postdoctoral research at MIT. His interests include computer simulation, digital humans, computer graphics, animation, interactive physics, haptic rendering, visual effects for film, medical imaging, FEM deformable objects, biomechanics, sound simulation, model reduction, control of nonlinear systems, intellectual property law, business/management and startup companies.Jernej lives in Los Angeles, United States and is a dual citizen of Slovenia and the United States.


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