Last Friday, April 1, Google announced Gmail Motion—a new system that lets Gmail users navigate their email, sans mouse and keyboard, with their body movements. Of course, Gmail Motion was just one in a series of elaborate April Fools Day hoaxes, but a group of Kinect geniuses from USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) MxR Lab had the last laugh when they actually brought Gmail Motion to life using their own body motion technology. A video of one such Kinect genius, demoing the product in action, is currently spreading like wildfire on YouTube and beyond.
In the video, Postdoctoral Researcher Evan Suma explains that he, and others, at the MxR Lab have created something called the ‘Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST)’. FAAST allows users to control Windows applications and games using body motion. Evan says, “Naturally, we were pretty excited this morning when Google introduced Gmail Motion, which allows you to control Gmail using gesture. However, no offense to the geniuses at Google, but we weren’t able to get their application running on our computers, for whatever reason. Apparently it’s still pretty buggy.”
The ICT MxR Lab came up with their own solution and introduced the ‘Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving (SLOOW—get it? FAAST and SLOOW? Ha.)’. Evan then shows how SLOOW works, opening, responding to and sending emails using the gestures recommended in Google’s Gmail Motion video. Amazing. Check out the ICT MxR demo below, followed by one of the videos from Google’s Gmail Motion hoax, if you haven’t had the chance to watch it yet.
What do you think of MxR’s SLOOW technology? Obviously it’s not ideal (that’s what made the idea so funny as a Google April Fools hoax). But would you try it out, just for kicks?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.