Toshiba's Digit prank packs way too much tech into a glove

Toshiba's April Fools' ode to overstuffed technology comes in the form of the fictional Digit product, gloves crammed with everything from a phone to a video game controller.

Digit prank gloves
Hold your fingers over your eyes to watch Digit's screen. Toshiba

Toshiba sure knows how to pour on the magic for April Fools' Day. It all started when a mysterious video was shared to my YouTube account, courtesy of Toshiba USA. I went to watch it and was pulled into a world full of tinkling piano music and lovely slo-mo footage of hip people wearing what looks like a modified red mechanic's glove. The video introduces a wearable technology product called "Digit."

These shiny, happy people were listening to music from the glove's thumbs, taking selfies with the squeeze of a finger, creating real-time ultrasound images with the wave of the glove over a woman's belly, and using the glove to talk on the phone (which is actually a real product, by the way).

Everything about the video screams "technology ad," marketing meant to inspire and move you. That's why it's such a quality April Fools' joke. It could almost be real. A somber voice-over intones, "These hands were made for me. These hands they set me free." A freaky mime shows up and stares into the camera for absolutely no reason at all.

A fake press release for Digit reads, "Ideal for everyday tasks, this device offers all the performance and functionality of a smartphone, DSLR camera, media streaming box, gaming console, home theater system, mp3 player and even an ultrasound machine in an immensely simple and familiar form factor - a pair of gloves." (And they're not the only high-tech gloves made especially for fools on this day.)

Digit promises to update your relationship status on social networks when you hold hands with another person wearing Digit gloves. It supposedly contains a 32-megapixel camera, near-field communication for mobile payments, and a 12-hour battery life.

Perhaps what's best about Digit is that there's no attempt to make the gloves look sexy. They're just work gloves with Velcro closures and little bits of fake technology glued on. Despite the clunky appearance and the sincerely written instructions to stick your thumbs into your ears to activate the audio feature, I still kind of want a pair. Considering the growth of wearable technology, we might all be laughing a few years from now when someone comes out with a real version of Digit.

 

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