Do you remember who Johnny Lee is? He made that truly awesome Wii hack that allowed head tracking and true 3D immersion (check the video) and I said at the time that I hope someone sees him and pays him a bomb to come work with them.
Well Microsoft did and he was part of the Kinect team up until recently before he left for Googler pastures. However what I didn’t know and what he has recently announced on his personal blog is that he is partly to blame for the first Kinect hacks and subsequent opening up of the SDK for non-commercial use.
While working at Microsoft he attempted to get them to open up the device for hobbyists and enthusiasts alike but found himself grinding against the corporate wheel that is inside every massive company.
They just wouldn’t budge and he was becoming more and more frustrated at the lack of movement so he did what any well funded hacker would do, he turned to the local community in the form of AdaFruit and helped fund the Open Kinect contest to the value of $3000.
Obviously since he was still working for Microsoft at the time this was all done in secret and it was that competition that really started the ball rolling and in the end helped convince Microsoft to release a licenced SDK for the Kinect.
Johnny is now working at Google as a Rapid Evaluator but his passion does appear to be user interfaces and motion control so I would love to know what he is working for Google? Motion controlled search?
Source: His Personal Blog
Last Updated: February 24, 2011