Xiaoyu Miao

Principal Hardware Engineer


Xiaoyu Miao

Principal Hardware Engineer

Xiaoyu Miao joined Playground Global in March 2015 as Principal Hardware Engineer to lead the strategy and engineering development of optics, imaging, and visual sensing.

Before Playground, Xiaoyu was with Google from 2010 to 2015. There, he was one of the founding engineers of Google Glass, building and leading a multidisciplinary team to design and develop critical aspects of imaging including optics, image sensor, camera module, system integration, bring-up and debugging, image quality assessment, and manufacturing testing.

Xiaoyu designed and developed the miniaturized near-eye display for Glass, largely enabling it to transition from R&D phase to full-fledged product development. To do so, Xiaoyu spent many nights alone in the lab, devising and prototyping its distinctive mechanism, at times gluing its tiny optical components together.

When the prototype was operational, he recalls, “Everyone felt it was magic!”

After Glass, Xiaoyu joined the Google Robotics and Automation Division to focus on depth sensing technologies. This is where he met Playground co-founder Andy Rubin.

Prior to Google, Xiaoyu worked at Sandia National Laboratory, where he researched novel optics and photonic technologies.

At Playground, Xiaoyu will be working with entrepreneurs on a variety of projects. He sees his role as part engineer, part mentor. Successful consumer tech “has to deliver a delightful user experience, it has to be lightweight, small, and power efficient, and it can’t cost too much,” he says. “To get this all this done is tremendously challenging.”

Xiaoyu looks forward to bringing technology and products to market that “make people’s lives more wonderful, and easier.”

To unplug, Xiaoyu spends “simple and plain” time with his young family in Palo Alto. Watching his daughter grow up is a great antidote to tech overload, he says.

“Having too many tech things around you during work, it's probably not a big deal,” he says. “But during the off-time, I think having too many tech things around you might be a problem we need to address along the path forward.”

Staff Hardware Engineer and Technical Lead Manager, Google

Founding Engineer of Glass: Glass Explorer, near-eye display, camera, optics, and sensing

Google Robotics and Automation Division: Depth sensing technology

Postdoctoral Researcher at Sandia National Laboratories: nanophotonics

Principal Engineer at Playground Global

Over 30 patents granted and 20+ pending to date