Chao Zhang has followed technology all around the world. From China to Germany and finally to Seattle, where he worked in the Microsoft Accelerator to help launch his company UBI Interactive. What’s next? Touch screens on any surface and exploring the future of human computer interaction. Find out more on this Nextcast.
Growing up with scientist parents, Chao “had a lot of toys, but they were all chemistry sets.” When it came time to specialize in school, he pursued computer science which eventually led him halfway around the world to Germany, and eventually to Seattle to an intensive mentorship program with Microsoft.
When asked he’s learned from building UBI Interactive, Chao smiles and says, “Starting a company is really, really hard. That’s what I learned.” Coming from an international background and struggling with visas, legal statutes, and networks, he explains, “It’s hard to just come here and get into the environment.”
While UBI Interactive wants you to be able to turn any surface into a touch screen, Chao hopes the interaction between humans and computers doesn’t stop there. “If humans want to work together with machines, there needs to be a more comfortable way to interact,” he says. He looks forward to a day when “normal, ordinary people can talk to computers”.
“In the future, it could be a 3D screen instead of a touch screen,” Chao says, musing on the future of technology. “All the surfaces, all the walls, all the places - you can control them or they can read your mind.”
Chao follows one mantra when he works: “Always make things perfect.” He continues, “In software development, the perfection never stops. The end user’s satisfaction is most important, so if they feel good that’s a kind of perfection for us.”