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Last December, Johnny Chung Lee, then a doctoral candidate, posted a five-minute video on YouTube that became an Internet sensation.

The video showed, in a few easy steps, how the Nintendo Wii remote controller – known as a Wiimote – could transform a normal video screen into a virtual reality display, with graphics that seemed to burst into the living room. So far, the video has been viewed more than six million times…

When he completed his degree this year at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute of Carnegie Mellon, he received “lots of offers from all the big places,” said Paul Dietz, who persuaded Lee to join him in the applied sciences group of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division. “When we told Bill Gates we were trying to recruit Johnny, he already knew about his work and was anxious to bring him to Microsoft,” said Dietz, a research and development program manager.

Contrast this with what might have followed from other options Lee considered for communicating his ideas. He might have published a paper that only a few dozen specialists would have read. A talk at a conference would have brought a slightly larger audience. In either case, it would have taken months for his ideas to reach others.

After writing a paper on his invention, Dietz wanted to test the concept in the market. His first step? He posted a video on YouTube.

The power of internet communications is amazing. Hopefully, the quality and relevance of the message is what sticks.




  1. Miguel says:

    Smart guy! Really, in more ways than one. He’s the one who’s going t take the XBox 720 to the top!

  2. Jägermeister says:

    Truly gifted guy. I remember his low-cost multi-touch whiteboard.


  3. McCullough says:

    Thats freaking amazing…..

  4. soundwash says:

    outstanding brain this guy has.

    -would love to see sales numbers
    of the Wii (or just the remote) in correlation to say a 6months after the date this vid was initially released..

    -also.. this is could probably be used as just another reason why the “peer review” process should be scrapped, and a different system (or simply a “post on YouTube and see-what-happens”
    process should be adopted..

    peer review these days is all about company percs and cronyism.. i’d bet some good money we’d all be seeing far more advanced technology
    in use if it was scrapped for a “YouTube Review process” -at least then the idea/thesis could “infect” alot more talented brains instead of the current practice of shelving the “new tech” until whatever “old tech” the new idea
    would potentially replace has “run its course/been fully exploited” in the marketplace.

    one case: the mass field effect spinning bodies produce (i think that’s how its called) that was discovered by Von Braun during the Explorer 1 missions that initially resulted in the satellite being a few hundred miles off course.. iirc that effect is calculated for, nowadays but the actual effect is more or less
    kept secret from public knowledge.

    (because it effectively destroys Newtonian Law and some of Einstein’s Laws as well..)

    -someone correct me on the actually name of the effect if they know what i’m talking about..(something i learned some years ago that still has a remnant or two left in my brain..)

    (all poorly worded but i think it gets the concepts across)

    -anyway.. kudos to Lee on some very simple outside the box thinking..

    -s

  5. sargasso says:

    Johnny Chung Lee, R.I.P,
    Went to Redmond with a hot CV.
    No one’s seen him since, never going to,
    Johnny Chung’s property of You Know Who.

  6. god says:

    #5 – RTFA

  7. Angel H. Wong says:

    Finally a Carnegie Mellon graduate with a student who made a great idea NOT BASED ON AN ACCIDENT AT THE LAB.

  8. Montanaguy says:

    I get the same effect by actually getting up off my lazy ass, going outside and walking around in the woods. It’s amazing and never the same scenario twice. Infinite role-playing possibilities. Other living things interact with you and the resolution is astonishing. I’m going to patent my concept. Gotta go outside now. I see something in the distance like virtual elk, but much cooler. See you later.

  9. Paddy-O says:

    #4 soundwash “one case: the mass field effect spinning bodies produce (i think that’s how its called) that was discovered by Von Braun during the Explorer 1 missions that initially resulted in the satellite being a few hundred miles off course..”

    You’re referring to something related to the Allais Effect.

  10. brendal says:

    Yes, it’s amazing for the privileged elite who have access…

  11. Glenn E. says:

    Andy Warhol was wrong! Everyone could now get their own fifteen minutes of fame, via Youtube. But Youtube restricts you to only ten minutes. Unless you submit your idea in parts.


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