John Zelek, PEng

John Zelek, PEng
Associate Professor
Location: EC4 2017
Phone: 519-888-4567 x42567


Professor Zelek is an Associate Professor and co-director of the VIP (Vision Image Processing) lab. He is formerly the Associate Graduate Chair of Systems Design Engineering, serving from 2013 to 2017.
Professor Zelek’s current main research interests include autonomous robotic mapping and localization, 3D scene understanding, man made infrastructure assessment (e.g., roads, buildings, bridges), eye (fundus, OCT) image understanding for disease, learning 3D models from single-views, athletic sport tracking & biomechanical understanding of play & ability from video feeds, to name a few. Some of these projects make use of AI & deep learning techniques.
Prof. Zelek’s interests in the past have included assistive devices, social engineering, haptics, robot navigation to name a few.

Professor Zelek has been the co-founder of two startup companies: Tactile Sight and Sweep3D. Tactile Sight commercialized a haptic navigation device for people who are cognitively (e.g., dementia) or perceptually (e.g., blind) disabled. Sweep3D commercialized technology that produces 3D models by sweeping a camera around objects or spaces for various applications including clothes fitting, orthotics as well as well as exploring real estate premises remotely. Professor Zelek also sits on the advisory boards for Intelligent Health Solutions Inc. and EyeCheck.

Research Interests

  • Robotics
  • Computer Vision
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • SLAM
  • Anomaly Detection
  • Infrastructure Monitoring
  • Manufacturing Machine Health
  • Sports Analytics
  • Reinforcement Learning


  • 1996, Doctorate PhD, McGill University, Quebec
  • 1989, Master's MASc, University of Ottawa, Ontario
  • 1985, Bachelor's BASc, University of Waterloo, Ontario


  • SYDE 283 - Physics 3: Electricity, Magnetism and Optics
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • SYDE 600 - Systems Theory, Models, Research & Design
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • SYDE 671 - Advanced Image Processing
    • Taught in 2019
  • SYDE 673 - Video Processing and Analysis
    • Taught in 2021
  • SYDE 675 - Pattern Recognition
    • Taught in 2022, 2023
  • SYDE 770 - Selected Topics in Communication and Information Systems
    • Taught in 2021, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Gong, Zheng and Lin, Haojia and Zhang, Dedong and Luo, Zhipeng and Zelek, John and Chen, Yiping and Nurunnabi, Abdul and Wang, Cheng and Li, Jonathan, A Frustum-based probabilistic framework for 3D object detection by fusion of LiDAR and camera data, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 90, 2020
  • Minhas, Manpreet Singh and Zelek, John, Semi-supervised Anomaly Detection using AutoEncoders, arXiv preprint arXiv:2001.03674, , 2020
  • Raisi, Zobeir and Naiel, Mohamed A and Fieguth, Paul and Wardell, Steven and Zelek, John, Text Detection and Recognition in the Wild: A Review, arXiv preprint arXiv:2006.04305, , 2020
  • Sengupta, Sourya and Zelek, John and Lakhsminarayanan, Vasudevan, Generative Modeling for Retinal Fundus Image Synthesis, Journal of Computational Vision and Imaging Systems, 2, 2019
  • Minhas, Manpreet Singh and Zelek, John, Anomaly detection in images, arXiv preprint arXiv:1905.13147, , 2019

In The News

Graduate studies