Researchers convert Google's Gmail Motion joke into reality with Microsoft Kinect

By on April 4, 2011, 4:01 PM
On April 1, Google introduced a new Motion feature to its Gmail service. Gmail Motion is supposed to let you access and control your Gmail account using gestures, but the demonstration video made it quite clear that it was an April Fools' joke. Researchers at Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT) decided that they didn't find it funny, and announced a hack using the Microsoft Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 to control Gmail using Gmail Motion's exact suggested gestures.

Here's the video's description: " This morning, Google introduced Gmail Motion, allowing users to control Gmail using gestures and body movement. However, for whatever reason, their application doesn't appear to work. So, we demonstrate our solution - the Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving (SLOOW) - and show how it can be used with a Microsoft Kinect sensor to control Gmail using the gestures described by Google. This project was made by Evan Suma and the folks at Mark Bolas' MxR Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies."

The demo video above clearly shows that the researchers have managed to put together middleware dubbed SLOOW (Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving) that turns Google's joke into reality. The Kinect is hooked up to a Windows machine and then uses SLOOW to detect human motion and interact with Gmail with pre-configured controls.

Google's attempt at a positive PR push has suddenly become a great PR story for Microsoft. Ever since Redmond embraced the hacking community, the Kinect has been selling itself.

We're not huge fans of April Fools' here, as it often becomes quite a headache to distinguish the obviously fake news, the possibly fake news, the rumor news, and the real news. That being said, this is different, because it's a conversion of fake news to real news.




User Comments: 16

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Guest said:

Lol. I just heard a piece on NPR regarding this.

I thought for a minute that NPR had been duped by Google.

Can somebody really think that the "Gmail motion" concept is worthy of a prototype!? I might be narrow minded here, but I can't envision using a computer sans keyboard.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I think they were trying to be humorous, but show that they could build a framework for something just like it. It could have much better application but this also shows the flexibility it can have even if ridiculous.

Guest said:

Had a feeling the Kinect peeps would be all over this :) Nice lol. oh and...

SANS SANS SANS! Give it a friggin rest, it does not make you sound clever!

negroplasty negroplasty said:

Guest said:

SANS SANS SANS! Give it a friggin rest, it does not make you sound clever!

I agree 100%, it makes you sound stupid.

Guest said:

<Quote>

Quote:

Guest said:

SANS SANS SANS! Give it a friggin rest, it does not make you sound clever!

I agree 100%, it makes you sound stupid.

</Quote>

What does sans mean?

Guest said:

Sans - "the absence of something"

Or

Sans - Word douchbages use to sound smart

Guest said:

According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary sans is a Middle English term meaning "without." In saying a computer sans keyboard, they are combining English with Middle English, to say a computer [without] keyboard. I believe usage of "sans" causes more confusion then clear communication.

I trust this answers your question.

"Sans - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary." Dictionary and Thesaurus - Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 05 Apr. 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sans>.

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Guest said:

Can somebody really think that the "Gmail motion" concept is worthy of a prototype!? I might be narrow minded here, but I can't envision using a computer sans keyboard.

You know... most people didn't even envision a computer *with* a keyboard, 50 years ago or so. So what might happen in 2060? Will holographic technologies hit the roof like it's predicted? The G-Mail sans keyboard might very well become the standard setting (even with interactive holography making its debut in the far future).

I visited a high school class the other day at a school focused on IT-technology, and I was *very* surprised that no-one knew that computer mice "used to have" a ball checking the movement. Peripheral technology is making a big leap, dude.

Btw, contrary to many other TechSpot-readers reading this thread, I think that your use of the word "sans" was actually pretty cool

Guest said:

That is really awesome!

Guest said:

I wonder if anybody thought of using AMSLAN gestures -- similar to the speech to type software out there.

Guest said:

sans = cool to me!

Guest said:

"Sans" is a perfectly normal word used by many normal, educated, unpretentious people. Just because a few people had to look it up and feel angry at themselves, and thus felt compelled to lash out at the person that used it, doesn't change anything.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

i guess i may buy myself a kinnect sooner, but for my PC :P ... lol .. humm, i wonder if it makes coffee !? ...

no this is my idea .... i shall sue anyone trying to steal it, oops shouldn't have announced it before registering for the patent ...

OK off i go, enough carpet smokin 4 the day ..

cheers!

Richy2k9 said:

re - hello ...

sorry i missed the OT comments, i have to add that 'sans'is commonly used to express what the 1st guest said & like Lokalaskurar - it was cool, anyway ... "je parle aussi Franšais"so it came naturally :P

re- cheers!

Guest said:

I rick-rolled google on April Fools' day:

http://youtu.be/7qofxzRuxGo

Guest said:

Richy2k9 Stop using intriguing and unusual words in your posts - do you want to be responsible for causing brain-freezes or even, God forbid, brain-farts in the less adept? Oh my, I just did it too! I'll clarify:

adept: [adj. uh-dept; n. ad-ept, uh-dept]

-adjective

1.

very skilled; proficient; expert: an adept juggler.

-noun ad*ept

2.

a skilled or proficient person; expert.

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