Photo of Johnny Lee

Computer & electronics hardware

Johnny Lee

Streamlining human-computer interactions
Credit: Johnny Chung Lee <br>

Year Honored



When the Nintendo Wii came out, most people saw a fun new way to play video games. Johnny Lee saw a surprisingly good infrared camera that could make innovative computer interfaces affordable. At the 2008 Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference, he drew spontaneous applause when he demonstrated two devices he'd hacked together, which used the $40 Wii remote and some inexpensive hardware to simulate systems that can cost thousands. The audience may not have realized that Lee had spent no more than "a few days" on each. "I have some knack," he says, "for being able to identify easy projects that have a relatively big impact"--like those at right. Having completed his PhD at Carnegie Mellon, Lee is honing that knack as a researcher in Microsoft's hardware division. Read why Lee thinks researchers should focus on bringing technologies to all. --Larry Hardesty