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Kinect researcher leaves Microsoft for Google

Wed 19 Jan 2011 9:10am GMT / 4:10am EST / 1:10am PST
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Input technologist and innovator Johnny Chung Lee makes switch

Johnny Chung Lee, one of the team who was instrumental in the 'commercialisation' of Microsoft's Kinect, has left the publisher to take up a position as a "rapid evaluator" at the internet monolith Google.

Lee, who first came to the public's attention thanks to his projects hacking the Wiimote back in 2008, had been part of Microsoft's Applied Sciences unit before moving across to the Xbox team in 2009. There, he became a major contributor to the adaptation of the prototype Kinect technology to the commercial sphere.

An announcement yesterday on his personal blog revealed that the technologist had moved across to Google, where he will working on an unknown project.

"I have some big news to announce on a personal front: Very recently, I have left Microsoft to join a special projects team at Google," wrote Lee.

"After more than 2 and a half years working as a core contributor to the human tracking algorithms for Kinect, it was an extremely difficult decision and I leave behind many great colleagues in Redmond.

"It was a wild ride, helping Kinect along through the very early days of incubation (even before it was called "Project Natal") all the way to shipping 8 million units in the first 60 days. It's not often you work on a project that gets a lavish product announcement by Cirque du Soleil and a big Times Square Launch party. The success of Kinect is a result of fantastic work by a lot of people. I'm also very happy that so many other people share my excitement about the technology.

"It was great to be a part of such a unique project. I look forward to seeing all the creative and unexpected ways that game developers will use the data from the camera to create fun experiences. The Xbox is.. a great console, and a great platform, with a lot of potential. I genuinely look forward to seeing how it will evolve over the next few years and I absolutely wish the Xbox team the best of luck."

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