Patricio Vela is ECE\'s latest recipient of the NSF CAREER Award.

Patricio Vela has received an NSF CAREER Award for his project entitled "Observer Design for Intelligent Visual Tracking." An assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech, Dr. Vela specializes in systems and controls.

In practical applications, sensor data is often filtered or passed to an observer, both of which provide a smoothed version of the noisy sensor signal. While computer vision algorithms are increasingly being used for feedback purposes, many of the algorithms do not temporally filter the signal from the computer vision algorithm in a manner consistent with the signal's mathematical structure.

With funding from the CAREER Award, Dr. Vela seeks to derive such algorithms and develop practical applications to problems that rely on a clean interpretation of an imaged scene. His specific areas of focus will be on workforce tracking for safety in heavily mechanized environments, cellular tracking, and human-robot gesture-based communication.

Dr. Vela has been on the ECE faculty since August 2005. He is a past recipient of the HENAAC Most Promising Engineer Award and is currently the faculty advisor for the Georgia Tech chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.