Thursday, June 19, 2014

World's Nerdiest Glasses

Here I am modeling our "idealized head tracker" glasses for the Fire phone announcement:

We built these in the early days of developing our head tracker. You can see three small IR lights mounted on the frame which made it easy to track the head's location in space. We used it to emulate a near-perfect head tracker which allowed us to achieve two important goals:
  • Unblock teams that need a working head tracker immediately.
  • Learn how close to perfection we had to be in order to reach shippable quality (our exit criteria). Because we started with a near-perfect signal we could insert synthetic noise and latency in a controlled manner to measure how it would impact the user experience.
I prefer to think of this photo as me keeping a close eye on Jeff but it was really the other way around!

Amazon Fire Phone

I can finally reveal the reason for letting my blog lie dormant for so long. I've been fully occupied (and then some) working on a secret project at Amazon: the Fire phone. This is the message I sent to my team, just a few moments before Jeff took the stage to make the announcement:
This is a proud day for the company and a proud day for the Emerging Technologies team.
You have attained two genuinely great industry and scientific milestones. You built the first reliable, usable head tracker to ever ship in a phone. You built the first robust, usable gesture recognizer to ever ship in a phone. You did these while meeting quality and power goals that once seemed impossible. You have – without the slightest exaggeration – significantly advanced the state-of-the-art in both technologies.
You will carry the accolades and lessons learned for the rest of your careers. You have made your mark and no one can ever take this away from you.
You are a world-class team and I am extremely proud of what you have accomplished.
It has been a privilege to lead such an amazing team.

You can pre-order the Fire phone here:

The video of the product announcement is embedded below.