Great tech innovators: Alex Kipman

Innovation in motion

  • Age: 36
  • Company: Microsoft
  • Best known for: Kinect, HoloLens
  • Quote: "In physics, there are laws you can't bend. But in software, you can bend anything. So nothing is impossible."

Brazilian-born innovator Alex Kipman could be best be described as a creator of fantasies.

Currently technical fellow of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, he has led the shift away from traditional methods of computer interaction into areas such as motion control and virtual reality.

Kipman was the visionary and software creator behind the Xbox 360's motion-sensing Kinect controller, which translates players' body movements into in-game actions. Successfully bringing full motion gaming to the consumer market for the first time, it sold more than 1 million units in its first 10 days of launch to become the fastest-selling consumer gaming device of all time.

It led to the long-haired, blazer-wearing innovator being recognised as one of the Top 25 Nerds of the Year by TIME magazine in 2011, alongside Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Julian Assange and Elon Musk.

Kinect's success was no accident. A Microsoft employee for more than 15 years, Kipman claims to own more than 90 patents, and the mind-bending augmented-reality headset that he is currently evangelising, HoloLens, has the potential to go stratospheric.

A high-definition 3D optical head-mounted display attached to a self-contained Windows 10 computer, HoloLens builds on the promise of Google Glass by allowing the wearer to layer holograms over the physical world using voice and gestures.

Integrating Windows services such as Cortana and speech dictation, it's driven by Windows Holographic - software that Microsoft is positioning as the standard platform for similar VR headsets in the future.

Daring to dream comes naturally to some, but few have made a career out of it quite like Kipman.

  • In partnership with Microsoft, powered by the HP Spectre x360

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