Kinect researcher leaves for Google

One of Microsoft’s main researchers on Kinect has left the company to work with Google. Johnny Chung Lee has been at work on the 360’s motion device for two and a half years. Now that it’s out and has performed pretty darn well he’s moved on to a new, unknown project.

Lee shared on his blog: “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. 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.”

It’s goodbye for Xbox, then, but not forever. Lee – like any gentleman – promised he’d keep in touch: “It was great to be a part of such a unique project. 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.. 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.”