Prof. Wojciech Matusik

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Primary DLC

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

MIT Room: 32-312


Felicia Raton

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Research Interests include:
(*) Computer Graphics: Data-Driven Methods, Physics-Based Simulation, Appearance Modeling, Computational Displays
(*) Computional Design and Fabrication: Additive Manufacturing, Textile Manufacturing/Functional Fibers, Design/Simulation Tools, Inverse Problems, Topology Optimization
(*) Computer Vision: Inverse Problems, Data-Driven Methods, Gaze Models, Computational Photography, Multi-Modal Learning
(*) Robotics: omputational Design/Simulation for Robotics, Soft Robotics, Tactile Sensing/Modeling, UAVs
(*) Human-Computer Interaction: Design Tools for Fabrication, Crowdsourcing

Research Summary

Professor Matusik's primary research is in the field of computer graphics and interactive methods. Focus is on four areas that push the boundaries of traditional computer graphics: (1) data-driven representations for materials, (2) computational design and fabrication, (3) virtual humans, and (4) computational photography and displays.

Data-driven representations for materials. Designing mathematical models that accurately represent and predict physical properties of real world materials is a central component in computer graphics as well as mechanical engineering and materials science. The problem is challenging because real world materials exhibit extraordinary variety and complexity. Matusik hasapproached this problem by constructing acquisition devices to measure properties of real world materials and then deriving accurate data-driven models from these measurements. In particular, Matusik has developed data-driven representations for texture, reflectance, spatially-varying reflectance, time-varying reflectance, subsurface scattering, and elastic material behavior.

Computational design and fabrication. Future manufacturing will be driven by flexible robotic assembly lines composed of many different automated machines. This will allow us to manufacture objects that are highly custom and complex. From the hardware perspective these flexible new factories are possible even today. For example, 3D printers allow manufacturing objects with highly complex geometries and using different classes of materials (e.g., metals, plastics, ceramics). Matusik's research focuses on computational design and fabrication that aims to set the foundations on how to develop the next manufacturing workflows and systems. Matusik brings a strong computational perspective on how these workflows should be shaped. Computational design and fabrication deals with all computational abstractions and processes that are necessary to specify an object, convert these specifications to a concrete design, and then translate the design into a set of instructions that need to be executed on fabrication machines to build a complete physical realization of the design. Matusik draws inspiration on how to define these workflows from decades of research and implementation in computer hardware, systems, and languages. In particular, my research has been centered on the following areas: (1) domain specific languages and compilers for fabrication, (2) efficient and accurate simulation for fabrication, (3) interactive design methods for fabrication, (4) inverse problems in computational design, 5) computational discovery of optimal designs, and 6) intelligent manufacturing machines.

Virtual humans. One of the most difficult computer graphics challenges is creating digital humans that are indistinguishable from real ones. This process has applications in movies, games, medicine, cosmetics, computer vision, biometrics, and virtual reality. The problem is challenging because we are incredibly sensitive to the subtleties of human appearance and motion. In order to solve the problem, Matusik has applied data-driven methods to capture and analyze human appearance, shape, motion, and contact with external forces. All these components are essential for creating realistic virtual humans. First, he has developed algorithms for computing image-based and polyhedral visual hulls to capture human shape and appearance in real-time. Matusik has improved these systems by using high-quality templates or multi-view normal maps. In order to capture motions outside of a special studio, he has designed wearable systems that combine miniature ultrasonic and inertial sensors. In parallel to investigating full-body capture methods, He has explored methods for face acquisition. Matusik has made key contributions in this area by developing representations for face appearance, face geometry, hair, and motion.

Computational photography and displays. The emerging field of computational photography and display adds general computation capabilities and generalized optics to digital cameras and displays in order to obtain a superior imaging, viewing, and interaction. The main challenge is how to combine the hardware, the associated algorithms, and representations for images and video. Matusik has developed several application-specific systems that demonstrate exceptional capabilities by blending custom hardware and novel algorithms. In particular, Matusik has worked on three-dimensional TV, which has a significant potential impact and is expected to be the next big step in digital communications. He has proposed the first complete 3D TV system that allows for scalable real-time acquisition, transmission, and 3D display of dynamic scenes. Matusik has worked on the fundamental algorithms for 3D TV Ð antialiasing, stereoscopic perception, and multi-view expansion. In the field of computational photography, Matusik has designed imaging systems and associated algorithms for completely automated scene segmentation (e.g., alpha matting) and systems for changing aperture and focus in post-production.

(summary updated 2019)

Recent Work

  • Video


    April 5, 2023Conference Video Duration: 29:50
    Can Computers Beat Humans at Design? 


    April 5, 2023Conference Video Duration: 32:7
    Can Computers Beat Humans at Design? 


    November 16, 2022Conference Video Duration: 31:12
    Wojciech Matusik
    Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science , MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory


    May 5, 2022Conference Video Duration: 29:51
    Wojciech Matusik
    Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


    November 18, 2021Conference Video Duration: 32:49
    Wojciech Matusik
    Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


    March 2, 2021Conference Video Duration: 17:14

    Wojciech Matusik
    Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

    Wojciech Matusik - 2019 ICT Conference

    April 16, 2019Conference Video Duration: 31:34

    Computational Design and Manufacturing

    Over the next few decades, we are going to transition to a new economy where highly complex, customizable products are manufactured on demand by flexible robotic systems. This change is already underway in a number of fields. For example, additive manufacturing is revolutionizing production of parts in consumer, aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. Overall, these new machines enable batch-one manufacturing of products that have unprecedented complexity.

    In this talk, I will present a new computational design and manufacturing workflow that draws inspiration from computer architectures, programing languages, and program synthesis. I will describe how designs can be synthesized from their functional specifications to the corresponding low-level instructions that are executed on intelligent manufacturing hardware.

    2019 MIT Information and Communication Technologies Conference

    Wojciech Matusik - 2018 Japan Conference

    February 2, 2018Conference Video Duration: 39:50

    Computational Manufacturing

    We are in the process of transitioning to a new economy where highly complex, custom products are manufactured on demand by automated manufacturing systems. For example, 3D printers are revolutionizing production of metal parts in aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. Manufacturing electronics on flexible substrates opens the door to a whole new range of products for consumer electronics and medical diagnostics. In this talk, I will show that computation is an integral component of modern design and manufacturing. I will demonstrate how computational tools allow creating digital materials with precisely controlled physical properties and how these digital materials are used to automatically synthesize product designs with desired specifications. I will also show how computational tools enable real-time, closed-feedback loop in additive manufacturing systems to improve their reliability and to fabricate complex products with integrated electronics.

    Wojciech Matusik - RD2017

    November 22, 2017Conference Video Duration: 33:26

    Computational Manufacturing


    2017 MIT Research and Development Conference