USC Lab Makes Gmail’s April Fools’ Prank a Reality


Every once in a while, April Fools’ jokes become reality and the result is a wonderful collision of silly and awesome. (Tauntaun sleeping bag, anyone?)

Last Friday, Google faux-announced Gmail Motion, which was supposedly a means of communicating with your computer via a webcam and physical actions that, in Gmail’s case, allow you to perform e-mail commands by flailing about. Pretty goofy, huh?

Not to the people over at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. They took Google’s prank as a challenge. You can see ICT’s results in the video below.

Granted, ICT’s video is done facetiously, as evidenced by the name of their solution: Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving (SLOOW).

Ridiculous application? Perhaps. But the software powering ICT’s demonstration is absolutely real. It’s called Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST) and, when paired with a Microsoft Kinect camera, is able to interpret Google’s suggested gestures to open e-mail, reply and send. FAAST was developed for body movement games and VR applications. It’s also being used in physical therapy applications.

Now, if we can just pair the ICT lab with ThinkGeek….

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!