Typically we think of hoaxes as malicious sorts of things. This 1934 photograph of the Lock Ness monster, for instance, terrorized the dreams of Scottish school children for over half a century. In the past few weeks, however, hoaxes have been a rather good thing--inspiring even.
First there was the Times Square jumbo screen hoax in March--a marketing stunt in which a man demonstrated how to play videos from his iPhone on the 5000-square foot screens of Times Square. The video went viral with 3 million+ page views before people realized it was a just a ploy to market a movie. Skeezy move. Nevertheless, it inspired 27-year-old Adi Isakovic to try it for real. With the help of a technician, he succeeded in taking over a Times Square screen with his iPhone (see the video).
The next inspirational hoax happened on April Fools', when Google announced an update to Gmail allowing users to "control Gmail with your body!" In the demo video, a funny-looking guy in a tie flops his arms around and sends messages without ever touching the computer. Wow!
Given the day the update was launched, everyone knew it was a hoax. But, again, it inspired some hackers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies to make it happen. Using a Microsoft Kinect and their own software, they succeeded in making their own version of Gmail Motion. Is this a new trend? Here's their demo video:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.