Kinect hack makes April Fools’ prank a reality

gmail_motion

Unless you have been hiding out in a cave for the last week or so, you have heard about this year’s April Fools’ joke from Google. Gmail Motion was purported to be an action-driven interface for Gmail, complete with goofy poses and gestures for completing everyday email tasks. Unfortunately it was all an elaborate joke and no gesture-based Gmail interface is forthcoming…at least not from Google.

The team over at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies have stepped up and made Google’s hoax a reality.  You might remember these guys from their Kinect-based World of Warcraft interface which used body motions to emulate in-game keyboard actions. Using their Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST), they developed a Kinect interface for Gmail which they have dubbed the Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving (SLOOW).

Their skeleton tracking software allows them to use all of the faux gestures Google dreamed up for controlling your inbox, however impractical they might be. We love a good April Fools’ joke, but we really enjoy when they become reality via some clever thinking.

Stick around for a video demo of the SLOOW interface in action.

[via Adafruit]

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Kinect, mouse, and nerf gun combine for House of the Dead

[Tony Blanch] built his own motion controller for playing House of the Dead. It should work with any shooter that follows the ‘rail’ type of game play (your character is not free walking, but moves along a set path beyond your control).

Two parts come together to make this happen. The first is the Nerf dart gun that you see above. The circuit board fitted into the top portion of the plastic housing is from a five-button wireless mouse. The buttons are used to sense trigger pulls from the player. The second portion of the controller is a Kinect. It has been set up to work with a Windows 7 machine. [Tony] used the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST) to bind and track the gun controller, moving the mouse cursor on the screen to match the movements of the weapon. Check out the video after the break to see how responsive this system is.

This is a very interesting departure from the gun controllers we’ve seen before.

[Read more...]

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