Door Mutes Microphone To Prevent Remote Learning Humiliation

In a kind of reverse twist on the doorbell, [TheStaticTurtle] whipped up a system to mute his computer’s microphone whenever someone opens the door to his room. He lives in France, where the government announced a strict lockdown last Friday. Like many university students around the world these days, he is now forced to take online classes. Even though he has his own room, occasionally someone will barge in and announce something, often to [TheStaticTurtle]’s embarrassment.  When his classmates suddenly heard “Do you want some pie?” the other day, it was the last straw.

His first decision was to sense the door opening with a magnet and sensor, which he stuck to the door and frame with hot glue. He then ran a long cable to his desk, where it connected to an ATTiny 85 with a DigiSpark boot-loader. He wrote firmware to simulate special key combinations, which were then registered with his audio routing software Voicemeeter Potato. We presume he isn’t using an external mic, in which case muting might have been easier to accomplish with a hardware switch. All in all, this is a pretty clever and timely hack. Should you be in a similar predicament and want to try this out, he’s published the source code on GitHub.

If you recognize the triangular motif on [TheStaticTurtle]’s desktop, that’s because we wrote about a couple of his projects last summer, most recently a compact 70 cm transceiver.

16 thoughts on “Door Mutes Microphone To Prevent Remote Learning Humiliation

  1. “We presume he isn’t using an external mic, in which case muting might have been easier to accomplish with a hardware switch” – if only it worked in Windows 10… It uses all the available microphones at the same time, so muting one doesn’t really do much more than reducing audio quality. I have a headset with a hardware Mute button – it’s almost useless now thanks to “smart” OS.

    1. My first guess about the mute button no longer working under Windows 10 is that the driver for that device made some inappropriate assumptions on previous versions of Windows that now don’t hold true on Windows 10. The manufacturer should release a Windows 10 update for their driver, but often they’re lazy and they just tell you to buy a new one. :-)

    2. While I really don’t like the M$ audio stack, with its oh there’s a new device lets change outputs by default etc. I have to agree with the others I’ve not see it be that egregious.. Could be part of the plug and play type crap though I suppose – if your mute disconnects the hardware in a way the OS notices, it then defaults to the next mic..

    1. You know, even Pope John Paul II said to the crowds gathered in Wadowice town square: “there used to be a bakery, after highschool exams we were going for creampies”. (PL: “tam była cukiernia, po maturach chodziliśmy na kremówki”).

    1. Indeed, though if you are actively using your device you probably don’t want to use any button on your KB/Mouse for PTT… As you will trigger it while interacting with another program, or it won’t trigger at all because the current program has ‘stolen’ the input..

      Nice dedicated foot switch required – either sending a keycode none of your other keyboards will (for those programs/OS that don’t know/care about what device an input comes from) or simply by being a different device won’t throw off your other programs.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.