On April Fool's Day, the prank that was the biggest hit in the office was Google Motion. With a realistic faux launching page, the seriousness of the prank definitely sparked some loud laughter here at Journyx. But it turns out, this idea isn't impossible.
The folks at the MxR Lab at the University of Southern California made a real version of Google Motion using a Microsoft Kinect sensor to read body motion. Evan Suma spearheaded this project and demonstrated the prank coming to life on YouTube, even using the silly gestures made up by Google. They named their device Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving (SLOOW) in direct contrast to their successful FAAST (Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit). However, the two devices appear to be the exact same since Suma links to FAAST in order to try out 'the real software supporting this silly application.' By downloading FAAST, you can actually perform the Google prank yourself, and write and send Gmail messages by using body motions -- if you have a Microsoft Kinect sensor, that is. FAAST is used to control Windows applications and games with body motion, and is especially popular for the game World of Warcraft.
This proves an interesting fact: what we can dream up in technology can, in fact, become reality, and sometimes, rather easily. Here at Inc, I have mused about many crazy ideas regarding where I would like technology to go. But the more that technology advances, the more my ideas become feasible. Though the Google Motion gestures were created to make the sender appear silly, the idea of not having to sit at your desk is a great idea and one I've advocated before, though I suggested touch screens instead of sensors reading my body movements.
What other April Fool's Day pranks got a chuckle at your workplace?
By the way, did anyone notice the April Fool's Day prank on the Journyx web site? You can thank me, Curt Finch, for initiating that!
CURT FINCH has more than two decades of software development and distributed workforce management experience. In 1997, Curt created the world's first internet-based timesheet application and the foundation for the current Journyx product offering. Curt has a B.S. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech. His book, All Your Money, is available on Amazon. @curtfinch