Angelos Barmpoutis is an associate professor of digital arts and sciences and coordinator of research and technology at the UF Digital Worlds Institute, a partnership between the university’s College of the Arts, Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and the College of Journalism and Communications. Barmpoutis, who earned his Ph.D. in computer engineering from UF, focuses his research on collaborating with specialists around the world to apply cutting-edge technology and cross-disciplinary expertise to solve global problems.
“I call my students ‘Little da Vincis’ because of our inventive approach that combines digital arts and sciences,” said Barmpoutis. “We have the technology and we can use it in a new way to solve a real-world problem, using it not as it comes out of the box, but in a way that will create a better outcome.”
Three-dimensional sensing and imaging play key roles in Barmpoutis’ research, underlying projects such as imaging the Rosetta Stone and monitoring patients’ responses to physical therapy techniques. In 2018, he was awarded a patent for an algorithm he built to virtually model the human body in real time, enabling scientists to analyze behavioral and health patterns in subjects.
Barmpoutis has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers and is currently a co-principal investigator on a 5-year, $5.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how artificial intelligence can be used to boost early detection of brain cell deterioration typically related to Parkinson’s disease. He and a team of researchers from 20 institutions across the U.S. will build the country’s largest database of brain scans to test algorithms that can hone in on subtle signs of neurological damage that aren’t visible to clinicians.
“The computer has the ability to observe in much higher detail than what humans can – it’s not comparable to human intelligence yet, it’s just able to identify patterns using systematic observation,” he said. “It can help us become cyborgs, if you will. We can extend ourselves, our current capabilities, with what the computer can do.”
Barmpoutis, who said he’s been drawn to computers since elementary school, added that COVID-19 has increased public demand for technology that can enhance virtual education and research.
“I don’t like doing science for the sake of an academic publication, because in many cases it just sits on a digital shelf in an online library and very few people really care about that,” Barmpoutis said. “So, what I really am always proud of is when I can accompany these publications, inventions or results of research projects with a publicly accessible resource that everyday people can go to and actually utilize.”
“Whatever is the current form of computer, from a large-scale hyper computer to a wearable device, my work is to apply that to the real world. And to make the world a better place through this digital world.”
Barmpoutis is an affiliate faculty member of the computer and information science and engineering department and the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. He was recognized as the College of the Arts’ Undergraduate Teacher of the Year in 2018.
Learn more about Barmpoutis’ work.
Learn more about the Digital Worlds Institute.