April 4, 2011, 7:30 AM
Hackers Turn a Gmail April Fool’s Joke Into a Reality
By NICK BILTON
If you happened upon the Internet Friday, you would have been faced with what has now become an annual tradition online: Technology companies trying to one-up each other with April Fool’s jokes posted online.
Google, for one, takes its April Fool’s gags very seriously. This year was no exception. Users of Gmail, Google’s e-mail service, were told about a new product, Gmail Motion, which would allow people to “control Gmail with your body!”
The company created an in-depth video explaining how this new mock service would work, where users could literally bounce around in front of their computer to sift through their inbox. Swinging a fist backward through the air would allow you to reply to a message; swinging two fists would reply-to-all; licking your hand — intended to be a stamp — and then tapping your right knee would send the message.
Of course this was all a joke. But hackers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies wanted to make it a reality. To do this, a team of developers took a Microsoft Kinect sensor and some software they had built for previous projects and tied them together to create a fully working version of Gmail Motion.
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