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Kinect Developer Leaves Microsoft for Google

By - Source: Tweak town | B 12 comments

Microsoft's Johnny Chung Lee has left the company for Google.

Microsoft Kinect developer and infamous Wii hacker Johnny Chung Lee said Tuesday that he resigned from his position at Microsoft to join a special projects team at Google.

Johnny Chung Lee, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate with a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction, previously served more than two and a half years in Microsoft's Applied Sciences group and was a core contributor to Kinect's human tracking algorithms. Lee will now serve as a "Rapid Evaluator" at Google, however he did not elaborate on the new position.

In a blog posted on Tuesday, Lee admitted that leaving his position was an extremely difficult decision to make. He also seemingly regretted leaving "many great colleagues" behind.

"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," he said. "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."

Before revealing himself as one of the masterminds behind Project Natal (Kinect), Lee was well known for hacking the Nintendo Wii, using the remote and sensor bar to create a head-tracking device, a multitouch user interface and more. He joined Microsoft shortly after graduating from college in 2008, and then moved to the Xbox team a year later to help commercialize the Kinect device.

"It was great to be a part of such a unique project," he said Tueday. "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 exceptionally well positioned to do great things in the entertainment space. It's 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."

Currently it's speculated that Lee will be working on Google's upcoming gaming division. It's also possible that his knowledge on human-computer interaction may be applied to the Android OS. Until Lee updates his blog regarding the new Google position, it's all just guesswork for now.

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  • 0 Hide
    yao , January 25, 2011 4:28 PM
    Repid Evaluator"? it doesn't look like google put his talent to good use..
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , January 25, 2011 4:49 PM
    guy just gets jobs thrown at him
  • 0 Hide
    gogogadgetliver , January 25, 2011 5:47 PM
    I bet his non-compete is a mother fu23423
  • 0 Hide
    tsnorquist , January 25, 2011 5:57 PM
    I think "Rapid Evaluator" is more along the lines of context aware services and or computer /smart phone environmental augmentation purposes.

    ... If i had to guess.
  • -4 Hide
    timberland67 , January 25, 2011 6:10 PM
    Another great developer leaves Microsoft for Google because Microsoft believes in keeping corporate profits for the company instead of the people who help create the wealth. Soon there will no longer be any profits to keep.
  • 1 Hide
    husker , January 25, 2011 6:31 PM
    timberland67Another great developer leaves Microsoft for Google because Microsoft believes in keeping corporate profits for the company instead of the people who help create the wealth. Soon there will no longer be any profits to keep.

    How did you arrive at this conclusion? Do you know his salary information? Maybe he just prefers the sunny sky above Google's headquarters over the rainy Seattle weather.
  • 1 Hide
    restatement3dofted , January 25, 2011 7:30 PM
    timberland67Another great developer leaves Microsoft for Google because Microsoft believes in keeping corporate profits for the company instead of the people who help create the wealth. Soon there will no longer be any profits to keep.


    And so any time a quality developer decides to leave the company, for any reason (since we have no idea why this guy left), Microsoft should just start throwing potentially limitless piles of cash at them to keep them on board?

    Solid financial plan.
  • 1 Hide
    timberland67 , January 25, 2011 9:21 PM
    "Since we had no idea why this guy left" pretty much says it all. As far as the weather goes, we had rain almost every day last month, so I doubt that's it, and besides I can see the top of a Microsoft Building from my office right here in Silicon Valley.
  • 1 Hide
    otacon72 , January 25, 2011 10:57 PM
    timberland67Another great developer leaves Microsoft for Google because Microsoft believes in keeping corporate profits for the company instead of the people who help create the wealth. Soon there will no longer be any profits to keep.


    You have no facts, articles or links to backup anything you say. Just stop posting.
  • 0 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , January 26, 2011 5:06 AM
    "Currently it's speculated that Lee will be working on Google's upcoming gaming division"

    Are they making a new gaming console ?
  • 0 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , January 26, 2011 5:16 AM
    Quote:
    Another great developer leaves Microsoft for Google because Microsoft believes in keeping corporate profits for the company instead of the people who help create the wealth. Soon there will no longer be any profits to keep.


    did you work for microsoft?
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 26, 2011 4:58 PM
    It's great to see innovative minds like Lee pursue opportunities. Good luck to him.
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