Jinha Lee, 27
Finding more powerful ways to manipulate and interact with digital data.
“I’m keen to explore better ways to interact with data and environments,” says Jinha Lee. “What would be the tools that help us think better? What would be the tools that help us reflect ourselves better?” Statements about his research often come after a pause of 15 to 20 seconds; it is, he says, the time he needs to picture his thoughts in images and translate them into words.
Among the projects Lee worked on as a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab is one he began developing as a research intern at Microsoft Applied Sciences Group; it is a 3-D desktop that allows a user to “reach inside” the screen, flipping through digital documents and windows. He also created a physical pixel that levitates and moves freely about, allowing users to physically manipulate data in three-dimensional space.
Lee, who is from South Korea, cultivated his algorithmic and artistic sense by making origami with his mother, a professional teacher of the art form. These days, as leader of the Interactive Visualization Lab at Samsung Electronics in Suwon, Korea, he is working on user interfaces for the company’s next-generation products, including its interactive TVs.
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