USC's ICT Turns Gmail's April Fools' Day Prank A Reality

Remember Gmail Motion, that prank Google played on unsuspecting users of its popular email service last April Fools? The web giant went to great measures to promote a new service called Gmail Motion, which was a feature that would allow users to access, read, write, and do a host of other functions on Gmail by making hand gestures and movements instead of using the usual controls, such as the mouse and keyboard.

Google revealed that it was all just a prank once you tried to enable the feature and access it. However, the folks over at the Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT) at the University of Southern California (USC) think differently. It doesn't have to be just a joke because it was possible, and they have an actual system that works.

So what do you need to make Gmail Motion a reality? Apparently, just a laptop, the sensor from Microsoft's Kinect gaming system for the Xbox, and the ability to keep a straight face--at least while you try to use Gmail using the recommended gestures that Google came up with.

The application is dubbed as the Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving (SLOOW), which is a take on the actual system that ICT's Mixed Reality (MxR) group used to spoof Gmail Motion: the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST).

To refresh your memory, here's the guide by Google on the gestures that need to be performed to use Gmail Motion:

Now here's the team from ICT using SLOOW to open and send an email reply by using just the motions of his body:

I laughed out loud when I saw the video but I was amazed and quite impressed at the same time. Good stuff. What did you think of MxR's work?

Source: USC ICT