At an early age, Alex Kipman '01 (software engineering), fell in love with what he calls the art form of software. "For epochs we have been building bridges, painting caves and creating amazing music while discovering and philosophizing about our universe," he says. "In contrast, we have been creating software for less than a century." He sees software as the only art form in which the laws of physics can be easily and purposely ignored, making it "the only medium where nothing is impossible ... and with a little imagination and a lot of pixie dust we yield signal from noise and make the improbable possible."
Today, Kipman is the general manager of incubation for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft where he has led three major innovations for the company. The Kinect sensor is one of his best-known creations and he says anyone who has used this gaming system has experienced the seeming defiance of the laws of physics through his technology.The application of this hands-free gaming technology now extends into areas such as health care and education.
Kipman is the primary inventor and holder of 60 patents, all issued since 2001. He was recently named IPO Foundation's 2012 Inventor of the Year. And in 2015, Kipman and Microsoft unveiled their boldest venture yet: HoloLens, a holographic headset that fundamentally changes the way we will experience computing going forward. Writing for Venture Beat, Jim Hunter describes HoloLens as a "game-changer," explaining, "the reason it is so important is because it shows an amazing and achievable new paradigm for the future. It presents a vision; with a video of just a few use cases and two minutes of my life, it changed how I see our world."