Microsoft Kinect 'core contributor' goes Google

Summary:Johnny Chung Lee, a Microsoft researcher who was a "core contributor" to Microsoft's Kinect gaming sensor, has jumped ship and gone to Google.

Johnny Chung Lee, a Microsoft researcher who was a "core contributor" to Microsoft's Kinect gaming sensor, has jumped ship and gone to Google.

Lee is now a "Rapid Evaluator" with Google, according to his Web page. (Thanks to @pradeepviswav for the link.)

In a January 18 blog post, Lee acknowledged he had switched horses. From that post:

"Very recently, I have left Microsoft to join a special projects team at Google. 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."

At Microsoft, Lee was a researcher in the Microsoft Applied Sciences group, chartered with exploring "novel input and output devices that can improve interaction with computing technology." He helped advise direction on existing hardware product lines and developed prototypes of new form factors. Lee holds several patents and has applications in for more.

He moved to the Xbox team in 2009 to help Microsoft commercialize the product, which it launched in 2010. Microsoft officials said in January 2011 that the company has sold 8 million Kinects to retailers in the first 60 days the product was available.

Lee joined Microsoft in June 2008 after graduating with a doctoral degree in human-computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon University. His research focused on projection technology, multitouch input, augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces, and haptics. He also is known for his Wii hacking work.

It's not all about departures in Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) unit, however.

As others have reported, Rahul Sood, the founder of VoodooPC (acquired by HP in 2006) became the General Manager of System Experience in IEB at the end of 2010.  Sood posted recently about Microsoft's hardware-recruitment efforts, noting the company is holding a product fair and networking event on January 26 in Silicon Valley to attract new talent in the Valley and Redmond who are interested in working on Xbox, Kinect, Surface, Windows Phone and other Microsoft hardware-specific teams.

Topics: CXO, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Security, Tech & Work


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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