Prof. Dr. Heinrich Bülthoff

Emeritus Director
Alumni of the Group Cybernetics Approach to Perception and Action
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action
+49 7071 601 200
+49 7071 601 616

Main Focus

The superior performance of natural over artificial intelligence rests on the ability of the human brain to integrate and process complex sensory information for useful actions. Future advances in our understanding of the human brain will need integrating approaches across disciplines, including psychology, computer science, robotics, and neuroimaging.

The department is concerned with the fundamental processes of human perception. The primary focus is how the information from different sense organs is integrated to create a consistent representation of the “world in our heads”. Traditional psychophysical methods emphasize the analysis of perception using simple stimuli; however, computer vision studies have made it clear that further advances in our understanding of perception and cognition will rely on the use of realistic stimuli and tasks. In the Cyberneum we use methods developed from computer graphics and virtual reality to build simulated naturalistic environments under precise experimental control in order to investigate cognition in a closed perception-action loop. In psychophysical studies we could show that humans can integrate multimodal sensory information in a statistically optimal way, in which cues are weighted according to their reliability.

The research focuses on the integration of information from the visual, haptic and balance senses and on the development of efficient algorithms for building assistant systems to help the aging society to cope with the challenges of the decline with age in perceptual and cognitive capabilities.

Many of our results from basic research in perception and cognition are further developed into useful application.

Our group led or participated in several of the European Research projects: myCopter, SUPRA, TANGO, VR-Hyperspace.

Curriculum Vitae

Heinrich Bülthoff is a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Emeritus Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen. He holds a Ph.D. degree in the natural sciences from the Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen. From 1980 to 1988 he worked as a Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was Assistant, Associate and Full Professor of Cognitive Science at Brown University in Providence from 1988-1993 before becoming a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. He is Honorary Professor at the Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen, and was an Adjunct Professor with Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. Heinrich Bülthoff was editor of several international journals and is involved in many international collaborations as well as being a member of many national and international University boards. He was initiator of the European Projects CyberWalk and myCopter and member of several European research networks.


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