Yang's work is focused on creating systems to capture visual data in three dimensions as well as understand the content inside of the data. Yang says that, just as color photography superseded black-and-white, 3D imaging will one day create new capablities that are unattainable with today's two-dimensional imaging technology.
From his beginnings working on "telepresence" applications for remote collaboration, Yang developed new sensors and algorithms for 3D imaging. Then, setting his sights on a larger scale than the office environment, Yang turned his attention to creating real-time 3D images from vehicle-mounted video sources.
This type of research has many applications, for example, in creating three-dimensional street views (like Google Street View, but in 3D) or even enabling consumers to create their own avatars with a cellphone.