I'm Sven. I am a postdoctoral research fellow at Indiana University's School of Informatics & Computing, working with David Crandall, Chen Yu, and Linda B. Smith. This website aims to give a brief overview of what I do. For a more in-depth, printable summary, please refer to my CV.

Research Interests

My main research interest is computer vision, i.e. the intersection of computer science, machine learning and artificial intelligence that investigates methods of analyzing and understanding the visual world. My Ph.D. work focused on vision algorithms for first-person (egocentric) cameras that approximate a person's field of view. Motivated by the recent success of deep neural network models in vision, and inspired by many collaborations with developmental psychologists, my current work aims at exploring the interdependency of human learning and machine learning. Can understanding visual learning in toddlers help us improve artificial vision models, and can we use artificial vision models as proxies to helps us better understand human vision?


  • Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science (joint degree) Sept. 2016
    • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • M.S. in Computer Science May 2013
    • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
  • B.Eng. in Media and Imaging Technology Nov. 2010
    • TH Köln - University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany

Peer-reviewed conference proceeding papers:

  • Active Viewing in Toddlers Facilitates Visual Object Learning: An Egocentric Vision Approach, in 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2016 (with D. Crandall, L.B. Smith, C. Yu) (Oral, 34% acceptance rate) [PDF]
  • Objects in the Center: How the Infant’s Body Constrains Infant Scenes, in IEEE 6th Joint International Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL), 2016 (with L.B. Smith, D. Crandall, C. Yu) (Oral) [PDF] Distinguished Oral Presentation Award
  • Lending A Hand: Detecting Hands and Recognizing Activities in Complex Egocentric Interactions, in IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2015 (with S. Lee, D. Crandall, C. Yu) (Poster, 31% acceptance rate) [PDF] [Dataset WWW] [Paper WWW]
  • Viewpoint Integration for Hand-Based Recognition of Social Interactions from a First-Person View, in 17th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI), 2015 (with D. Crandall, C. Yu) * (Poster, 41% acceptance rate) [PDF]

    This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in the Proceedings of the 17th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction.

  • This Hand Is My Hand: A Probabilistic Approach to Hand Disambiguation in Egocentric Video, in 3rd Workshop on Egocentric (First-person) Vision, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2014 (with S. Lee, D. Crandall, J. Franchak, C. Yu) [PDF] Intel Best Paper Award
  • Detecting Hands in Children's Egocentric Views to Understand Embodied Attention during Social Interaction, in 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2014 (with J. Franchak, D. Crandall, C. Yu) (Oral, 41% acceptance rate) [PDF]
  • Understanding Embodied Visual Attention in Child-Parent Interaction, in IEEE 3rd Joint International Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL), 2013. (with D. Crandall, C. Yu) (Oral, 33% acceptance rate) [PDF]

Abstracts, challenges, and other things:

  • Active Vision: Learning Visual Objects through Egocentric Views of Children and Parents, 1st Workshop on Action and Anticipation for Visual Learning, European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2016. [Abstract]
  • Analyzing Hands to Recognize Social Interactions with a Large-scale Egocentric Hands Dataset, Workshop on Observing and Understanding Hands in Action, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2016. [Abstract]
  • Detecting and Classifying Hands in Social and Driving Contexts, Vision for Intelligent Vehicles and Applications (VIVA) Challenge and Workshop, IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium, 2015. [Poster]
  • Tracking Hands of Interacting People in Egocentric Video, Workshop on Observing and Understanding Hands in Action, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2015. [Abstract][Poster]
  • Watching is not the same as doing, International Conference on Infant Studies, 2014.
My dissertation, for those interested in a coherent summary of my work on analyzing hands from first-person cameras:
  • Sven Bambach, Analyzing Hands with First-Person Computer Vision, 2016. [PDF]
Survey papers from my Ph.D. qualifying exam that might be of interest for some:
  • Sven Bambach, A Survey on Recent Advances of Computer Vision Algorithms for Egocentric Video, 2013. [PDF] [ArXiv PDF]
  • Sven Bambach, A Survey on the Cognitive Basis of Visual Attention in Real-World Behavior, 2013. [PDF]
My bachelor's thesis from TH Köln - University of Applied Sciences:
  • Sven Bambach, Design and Realization of an Experimental Optical Stop-Motion Capture System, TH Köln ePublications, 2010. [PDF] [Video]

I've been lucky enough to have gained a variety of teaching experiences at IU, working together with many talented people. I've been involved in teaching/designing graduate, undergraduate, and online courses.

Instructor of Record

In the Fall 2016 semester IU offered CSCI B551 - Elements of Artificial Intelligence as an online course for the first time (in parallel with the residential version of the course). Prof. Crandall and I shared responsibilities for teaching both, with me being the lead-instructor for the online course. Together, we designed and recorded interactive video lectures that were well-received by the students:

  • I liked the online videos and lecture style and assignments.
  • Timely and substantial comments and replies, easy logistics around the course, good on-line videos.
  • The method of teaching and stimulating thinking. A lecture was divided in multiple short videos with assignments in between which helped us understand what we learned and what not.

What did you like most about this course and instructor? Answers are from an anonymous course questionnaire.

Teaching Assistant

During my first two years as a graduate student I helped teaching the following courses:

  • Spring 2013: CSCI C211 - Introduction to Computer Science with Francisco Lara Dammer (included preparing and teaching labs)
  • Fall 2012: CSCI C211 - Introduction to Computer Science with Suzanne Menzel and Prof. Sabry (included preparing and teaching labs)
  • Spring 2012: CSCI A321 - Computing Tools for Scientific Research with Prof. Bramley (included designing and grading homeworks)
  • Fall 2011: CSCI P573 - Scientific Computing with Prof. Bramley (graduate level course)

C211 is the main introductory course to computer science at IU and is attended by hundreds of students each semester. While there is a large team of teaching assistants to handle the logistics, hosting office hours and labs still provides opportunities to make personal impacts:

  • Great instructor, always willing to help and give advice. Never talks down to students. Makes sure the students understand.
  • Sven is very patient and willing to help his students. He is a good instructor.
  • Sven was very helpful, encouraging and very open (meaning there was no hesitation to ask him questions).
  • He's a cool dude. Imitates Germans very well.
  • Friendly, quick and to the point, but still very clear. Very capable.
  • Sven is really knowledgeable about a broad range of topics in computer science and is always eager to share his knowledge with others.
  • He was really helpful! The best TA in C211!

What did you like most about this course and/or the TA? Answers are from an anonymous course questionnaire, Fall 12 + Spring 13.


I have also been asked to give various guest lectures in computer vision related courses both at the graduate and undergraduate level (e.g. CSCI B490 - Introduction to Computer Vision or CSCI B657 - Computer Vision.

I've been working in several academic roles since joining IU. During my undergraduate time and in the time between graduating and going to the U.S., I could also gather experiences in different industrial appointments.


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow since Sept. 2016
  • Research Assistant June 2013 - July 2016
    • School of Informatics and Computing,
      Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University
  • Associate Instructor (Teaching Assistant) Sept. 2011 - May 2013
    • School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University


  • Self-employed media engineer (working with almö GmbH) Jan. 2011 - July 2011
    • I worked self-employed on several projects related to web development.
  • Intern and student assistant at nexum AG June 2008 - Nov. 2010
    • nexum is a big consultancy and agency for digital media. I worked in the development department and was responsible for the planning and implementation of large scale internet solutions (front end and back end web development).
  • Intern at meta-fusion GmbH May 2009 - Aug. 2009
    • meta-fusion is a service provider for multi-media and internet applications and specializes in internet video streaming of major conferences. I worked both with the technical staff on location (United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Bonn, Germany) as well as with the research/development department.


I have a dog, Mooka, who was the "dog of honor" at my wedding.

I biked regularly for a while, and when our computer vision lab received a new GoPro, I "tested" its battery by recording several biking trails in Bloomington. Result: I got exhausted before the battery ran out. Here's the one-hour video... – More recently, I picked up running as well, mostly because I was jealous of my wife after she ran her first half-marathon.

Inspired by playing foosball in-between classes, a friend and I developed a software capable of tracking all key components of a foosball game in real time (30+ FPS). It was a project for a computer vision class that we took in the Spring 2012 semester and a lot of fun to realize. A video of our results can be seen here.

Lastly, I don't just like to work on algorithms that analyze photos, I also love taking them! Although I took a few photography classes as an undergraduate, I am far from being a professional. However, I am a proud owner of a Canon SLR camera, and you can check out a very sparse selection of my photos below:

Andes behind Santiago de Chile

Santiago Santiago Santiago

The People of Osaka, Japan

Osaka Osaka Osaka Osaka Osaka Osaka Osaka

Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Rhine Falls Rhine Falls Rhine Falls

Zoo Impressions from Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Zoo Zoo Zoo Zoo Zoo Zoo