Center for Perceptual Systems

Daniel Panfili

B.S., Drexel University

Graduate Research Assistant



XR, Visual Perception, Visuomotor Planning, Biometrics, Human-Computer Interaction, Big-Data Analytics, Machine Learning. Game Design & Development


Higher Education:

Dan earned his B.A. in Psychology from Drexel University, spending two years as a research assistant in the Drexel Laboratory for Adaptive Cognition and two more as a research assistant under Dr. Karol Osipowicz in his neuroimaging lab.

Research Overview:

Daniel is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Center for Perceptual Systems. He is a member of the Vision, Cognition, and Action Virtual Reality Lab under the advisory of Dr. Mary Hayhoe. He has collaborators across UT Austin, Northeastern, Georgia Tech, and Indiana University. His research focuses on the impact of visual cues on motor behaviors. This branches into two primary questions: how are visual signals like optic flow processed and utilized in motor behaviors, and how are visuomotor behaviors planned and executed under natural conditions? Studying natural visuomotor behavior was previously impossible due to severe technical limitations. However, Daniel and his collaborators have been able to overcome these barriers through inventive methodologies; combining XR, biometrics, photogrammetry, and machine learning techniques.

Technical Expertise:

Daniel acts as the Principal XR Developer for the Center for Perceptual Systems. He has developed XR paradigms for various labs in the center, as well as novel data collection and analysis tools. One such algorithm is the Panfili Functional Eye (PFE) model for ground-truth optic flow analysis in 3D game engines. It will soon be freely available for research use on the Unity asset store (Q2 2022). He also has expertise in biometrics, utilizing eye-tracking and body-mounted motion-capture across his experiments. Daniel's primary tools are: Unity (C#), MATLAB, and Python.

Teaching and Mentorship:

Daniel has put on introductory XR development workshops for audiences ranging from secondary-school to university faculty. Previously employed as a special education teacher, Daniel prioritizes public outreach and the accessibility of science to all demographics. He has functioned as a mentor to his undergraduate assistants as well as graduate-level mentees, helping others develop team-based coordination, technical expertise, and individual growth since 2019.


To reach Daniel about his workshops or collaboration opportunities, please reach out via email.