As an Internet of Things pioneer, Android expert, YouTube* Channel host, founder of her own game development company, Google* Developer Expert, and Intel® Software Innovator, Macy Kuang, is very involved in the technology and innovator communities. Her most recent work involves improving an interactive meditation experience through making virtual reality more user friendly and immersive.
Tell us about your background.
I worked for a number of large organizations in software development and gaming before founding my own company, Maiomaio Games, in 2013. In my spare time, I do a lot of research on robotics. I love technology, which is why I started organizing a lot of tech events and becoming more involved in the global tech community doing workshops, presentations and lectures. I am a part of the Intel Software Innovator program, a Google Developer Expert for Wearable and IoT technologies, organizer of AndroidTO - a long-running technology conference, and the host of my own Youtube Channel Code to Create.
What got you started in technology?
Growing up, my family was always really into technology - especially my uncle. He is a tech entrepreneur, and he lived with my family for a while when he was in College. At one point in the early ‘90s, he made an accounting software program for my mother which helped my mother be much more productive than others in the same field. He also taught me how to use computers; I particularly remember when he showed me how to use command line to open Pac-Man, and some basic software skills.
I didn’t realize working with computers would be part of my life until I studied programming as a part of a Digital Media course I was taking at Seneca College in Toronto. I had studied painting since I was 6 years old and I always thought I would become an artist when I grew up. When I discovered coding, however, I immediately loved it. The ability to create useful tools is really appealing to me.
What projects are you working on now?
Currently, I am helping build a platform for a meditation company, Unyte to improve their interactive meditation experience. Their mission is to help people with their mind and improve their mental health. I have also stayed busy working on some research projects, such as building experimental wind turbines for alternative energy sources, as well as stress-testing machines for hockey sticks.
Do you see meditation as a space that Virtual Reality will be able to find success in?
Yes, I think there is a lot of alignment for meditation products to emerge and be effective in virtual reality (VR). VR has a way of creating an extremely immersive atmosphere which is great for something like meditation where having a disruptive environment full of distractions can be an obstacle. Also, as the popularity and availability of VR grows, maybe people will be more willing to give meditation a try if it is available to them in a VR experience.
Tell us about a technology challenge you’ve had to overcome in a project.
Developing for VR is very challenging right now because it is very new for the users. Right now we are at a point where the initial novelty excitement about VR as a platform is gone, and we realize that the users actually need a lot of guidance and training to understand how VR works. For example, the understanding of space, the comfort of turning their head, the ability to locate objects and understand the control are not things that come naturally to many people in VR.
To improve these experiences, and help people have more fulfilling VR experiences, we have added more content to our tutorials, and put forth a lot of time and effort to avoid ambiguous controls. As a result we have been seeing a lot of positive results in helping the transition into VR easier for our users.
Tell us about your experience as a woman working in technology.
I really love the technology industry. It is a very innovative, energetic and less hierarchical field than others that I have been involved with or become aware of. As an organizer of large events, I have made it a point to strive to ensure our speakers and attendees are representative of a community that we can all be a part of. The teams I work with encourage diversity and seek to showcase talent from every gender, race and culture.
I think the best way for me to help women in the industry is by holding myself to a high standard and continuing to grow and develop myself, and continue participating in and supporting the community. Being fortunate enough to have received some recognition by the industry, hopefully others will be encouraged. If I can do it, then they can as well.
What trends do you see happening in technology in the near future?
My outlook consists of a future that will be more automated; where we will become more comfortable living with robots. As most developed countries are aging it seems quite likely that we will benefit from robots joining our workforce and helping take care of us. This is one of the reasons why I started doing a lot of research within the realm of hardware and robotics, because I am very interested in helping us maintain our quality of life as we age.
Outside of technology, what type of hobbies do you enjoy?
I love sports. I really want to be able to do space travel even when I am older. Physical training helps me with my energy level and also makes me stronger. I am always finding ways to be more active, particularly with activities like snowboarding, running, hiking, cycling and even golfing.
Do you envision space travel as being like taking a vacation to another planet or to view the galaxy or more of a long-term living in space solution?
At first I was really into the idea of living on other planets, but a lot of research I have come across has me thinking that humans are born to live on Earth. At least right now our technology is not advanced enough to allow us to live naturally on any reachable planets that I am aware of. In my life time, I would be interested in travelling to space and Earth will still be our home.
How does Intel help you succeed?
Intel supports me with my community endeavors by helping me organize events and workshops. I really appreciate companies like Intel who are willing to invest in the people doing incredible things. Additionally, on the personal level, Intel is an international brand and just by being recognized by Intel helps me in my career as a whole.
Want to learn more about the Intel® Software Innovator Program?
You can read about our innovator updates, get the full program overview, meet the innovators and learn more about innovator benefits. We also encourage you to check out Developer Mesh to learn more about the various projects that our community of innovators are working on.
For more such intel IoT resources and tools from Intel, please visit the Intel® Developer Zone