Face Lab

Face Lab


Learn more about Face Lab

Face Lab conducts research into the digital creative agenda

Director: Professor Caroline Wilkinson

Face Lab focuses on the digital creative agenda. Specifically, Face Lab explores faces and art-science applications. Face Lab’s research includes:

  • the further development of a 3D computerized craniofacial depiction system, utilizing existing 3D modelling software and haptic technology
  • the development of a database of anatomical structures and facial features
  • the use of cutting edge technology in facial depiction, animation and recognition

The craniofacial computer system has been employed to analyse, authenticate and/or depict the faces of key historical figures, such as:

The system has also analysed, authenticated and/or depicted people from the past from skeletal remains, death masks and portraits. This work has directly influenced current digital human research, especially in relation to the creation of 3D facial avatars and facial recognition.

Professor Wilkinson has an international reputation and contributes to international policy, cultural enrichment and expert training. She has collaborated frequently with museums, the media and other organisations, including the National Museum of Scotland, National Museum of Ireland, Museum of London, Egyptian Museum of Cairo, FBI Academy, Interpol, Moesgaard Museum, Manchester Museum and the Fraunhofer Institute.

Research projects

  • Faces of Merseyside – the use of average faces to challenge cognitive bias relating to population demographics, immigration and employment
  • The Face of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots – collaboration with Glasgow University and Hunterian Museum
  • Facial avatars and familiar face recognition – the recognisability of features in composite faces
  • Prevention of child trafficking using juvenile face identification and age progression – in collaboration with Computing Science
  • Postmortem face identification in mass disasters
  • Computerised craniofacial superimposition and human identification – in collaboration with the University of Granada
  • Laws of the Face – Contemporary Postmortem Depiction in Art and Science
  • Transsexual faces (FTM) and the effects of hormone treatment
  • Animating people from the past
  • What ancient skulls tell us about migration patterns in mediaeval Norway


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Director: Prof Caroline Wilkinson
RAs: Mark Roughley, Chris Baker, Lambros Pantsios, Sarah Shrimpton
PDRAs: Dr Stenton Mackenzie
GTA: Kathryn Smith
PGRs: Ching Liu, Isabelle Hengelhaupt, Sarah Shrimpton
Visiting researcher: Dr Maria Castañeyra Ruiz