29 Sep 2010   |   Network Updates

ETH Zurich: Disney lab wins technology and innovation investment award

Disney’s European laboratory, Disney Research Zurich (DRZ), has won the Tell Award, as the most significant Swiss technology and innovation investment in 2009.

The Tell Award is a mark of recognition to the US film company for successfully launching operations of its Disney Research Centre in the greater Zurich Area in collaboration with the ETH Zurich.

Robert Sumner, Associate Director of DRZ, said European scientists have always been notable for innovation and creativity in the computer graphics sector. ”This is particularly true for the vibrant information and communications technology scene in the greater Zurich Area, and was an important factor for Disney to partner with the ETH Zurich.”

Markus Gross, Director DRZ and professor of computer science at ETH Zurich, said the award highlights the importance of ETH Zurich’s strategic industrial partnerships. “The cooperation between Disney and ETH Zurich is quite unique in Europe and has already earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading innovation laboratories for computer animation. We are on a par with several of ETH Zurich’s strategic industrial partnerships, such as the IBM Research Lab in Rüschlikon.”

DRZ was officially launched at ETH Zurich at the end of April 2010. Approximately 30 computer scientists and 10 PhD students are jointly developing new algorithms for applications in the field of computer animation. One of more than 30 different projects addresses how to capture and animate extremely realistic representations of human faces for use in Disney’s animation studios, game divisions, and theme parks.

DRZ will be presented with the Tell Award by the Swiss ambassador at the Tell Awards on November 8th 2010, at the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC.

Named after the national hero Wilhelm Tell, the Tell Awards are an annual celebration of Switzerland’s most significant inward investment projects by North American firms organized by the Swiss Trade and Investment Promotion. Past winners include IBM, Microsoft, and Google.

DRZ, the only research lab that Disney operates in Europe, has strong ties to the Computer Graphics Lab at ETH Zurich.

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