Re-starting after a Year of Procrastination.

My last post here was more then a year ago after SIGGRAPH 2012. This is long time ago and a lot of things has happened since then: projects were started and finished, papers published, demonstrations demonstrated and various media wrote about my work. I have been planning to put it all here, while using mostly my twitter feed for updates. More then a year has passed and the backlog of material to share has became so large that it has became clear to me that I should just forget about documenting it all and re-start everything here and now. I am still hoping to post some of the most notable events that took place from 2012, but that would be done in spare time and will be clearly indicated as something that happened between 2012 and 2013.  So here we go, lets see how long it will last this time.

Good bye Sony!

After working in Sony Computer Science Laboratories and living in Tokyo for 9 years, I am leaving Sony and Japan and moving to the US to start at Walt Disney Corporation. August 10, 2009 was my last day at work.

I have mixed feelings about leaving. It is certainly a sad moment for me. Sony CSL provided an outstanding research environment which has been both very encouraging and highly challenging. I received full support,  e.g. funding has never been an issue, but in return I was requested to challenge myself both intellectually and creatively.

I very much appreciated that Sony CSL had strong and clear philosophy on what is research and how it should be done. Overall vision and goals were always very clear. I find this to be a very rare quality in research organizations which often tend to be somewhat amorphous. I strongly believe that it is because of this clear focus and vision that Sony CSL was able to remain one of the most original, exciting and creative research collectives in the world.

The intellectual level of people I was working with was extremely high. Working with Jun Rekimoto, the head of IL,  and Mario Tokoro, the President of CSL,  has been an amazing opportunity to learn the art of inventing and craft of selecting ideas worth implementing. I spent countless hours discussing and debating which allowed me to understand much deeper the meaning of research, design and technology. I can clearly see now that nine years in Sony CSL shaped me as a researcher and that when I first arrived to Sony CSL I had no clue about anything.

Saying that, I am also excited to try myself in a new environment. I have never worked in American company and have never directed a group. Walt Disney is probably the most iconic American company in the US and I will be running a small research team creating new interaction technologies. Its an exciting opportunity to take things that I learned in Sony and apply them in a different environment. And also I am happy to stay in industry.

I am really grateful for the opportunity that Sony and Sony CSL gave me and I am really thankful to everyone for supporting and enduring me for these 9 years!

Mario Tokoro, President of Sony CSL.

Natalia and Jun Rekimoto, head of Interaction Laboratory.

Astor House Hotel, Shanghai

Astor House Hotel, where I stayed in Shanghai, is apparently the oldest Grand Hotel in China. Or that what they told me there when I checked in.

Nice place. It was built in 1846 and it had quite a few celebrities staying there including Albert Einstein, 18th US President Ulysses Grant, Charles Chaplin, one of my most favorite writers and philosophers Bertrand Russel and of course … myself.

I was a bit surprised to see a Russian Consulate right in front the hotel.

It explained an unusual amount of Russians hanging out in the hotel as well as a big poster advertising some Russian airline that I have never heard of.

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