PITTSBURGH—Johnny Lee, whose creative uses of the Nintendo Wiiremote have made his instructional videos a YouTube sensation, has beenrecognized by Technology Review magazine as one of the world's top 35innovators under the age of 35.
Lee,28, received his Ph.D. from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute ofCarnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science this spring andis now working as a researcher in Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group. Apanel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Reviewselected him for the magazine's prestigious TR35 honors from more than300 nominees.
While agraduate student at Carnegie Mellon, Lee explored novel approaches thatmade technology less expensive and more accessible to the public. Hedeveloped a digital whiteboard that costs thousands of dollars lessthan existing commercial solutions, transformed a standard televisioninto an immersive virtual realty (VR) display using a few inexpensivecomponents, implemented a cheap calibration system for advancedprojector applications and helped thousands of filmmakers by sharinghis design for an inexpensive camera stabilizer.
"I have always been in awe of his ability to create a wide spectrum ofamazing projects using very few resources," said Luis von Ahn, anassistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon who wasnamed to the TR35 list in 2007. "He is like 'MacGyver' as a full-timeinventor. The world would be a better place if there were more peoplelike him."
Millions haveviewed YouTube videos about Lee's projects, and his "Head Tracking forDesktop VR" was nominated in the best instructional video category ofthis year's YouTube Awards.
"Johnny'screativity is truly amazing," said Dan Siewiorek, director of theHuman-Computer Interaction Institute. "He has the uncanny ability tolook at problems from new perspectives and create simple, low costsolutions. His Ph.D. thesis was composed of one creative technologyafter another, many of which could have been the foundation forstart-up companies."
Lee and the other TR35 winners for 2008 will be featured in theSeptember issue of Technology Review and will be honored at theEmTech08 Conference, Sept. 23-25 in Cambridge, Mass. Additionalinformation about past and present TR35 winners and judges is availableat www.technologyreview.com/tr35.
About Carnegie Mellon:Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a distinctive mixof programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business,public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000undergraduate and graduate students receive an education characterizedby its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems,interdisciplinary collaboration, and innovation. A smallstudent-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for close interactionbetween students and professors. While technology is pervasive on its144-acre Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive amongleading research universities for the world-renowned programs in itsCollege of Fine Arts. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campusesin Silicon Valley, Calif., and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australiaand Europe. For more, see www.cmu.edu.
About Technology Review, Inc.: TechnologyReview, Inc., an independent media company owned by the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology, is the authority on the future of technology,identifying emerging technologies and analyzing their impact forleaders. Technology Review's media properties include Technology Reviewmagazine, the oldest technology magazine in the world (founded in1899); the daily news website TechnologyReview.com; and events such asthe annual EmTech Conference at MIT.