Apr 5, 2011

ICT MxR Lab's Response to Google's "April Fools Day" Gmail Motion, using OpenNI and FAAST

I recently purchased a Kinect and have been chomping at the bit to do something creative with it.  I have been  too busy with work to dive into a project. Fortunately,  great minds have been paving the way!

I was almost fooled by Google's April Fools prank, "Gmail Motion", a mythical application designed to allow Gmailers the opportunity to conduct email tasks through gestures alone. 

Robert Kosara, an assistant professor of computer science at UNC-Charlotte, and author of the EagerEyes visualization blog,  recently shared a link to a video of  a working prototype of the Gmail Motion concept.  The video features Evan Suma, a post-doc at USC who earned his Ph.D. at UNC-Charlotte.  

"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 uses OpenNI coupled with FAAST and was made by Evan Suma and the folks at Mark Bolas' MxR Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies."

Below is the video that almost had me fooled on April 1st  : )

FAAST Video Gallery
Download FAAST from the USC ICT FAAST website.
University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (USC ICT) 

The FAAST website has loads of  additional "how-to" information. The list below is just a sample of what can be found on the site:

To use FAAST, you will need to download and install the following software:
  1. OpenNI Unstable Build for Windows v1.0.0.25
  2. PrimeSense NITE Unstable Build for Windows v1.3.0.18
    During NITE installation, enter the free license key from OpenNI: 0KOIk2JeIBYClPWVnMoRKn5cdY4=
  3. Hardware drivers for your sensor (only one of the following)
FAAST should then run out-of-the-box; no additional installation or setup is necessary. If you encounter an error on startup, you may also need to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package.

FAAST project members are Evan A. Suma, Belinda Lange, Skip Rizzo, David Krum, and Mark Bolas

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