For many people, the biggest change of 2020 has been adjusting to a glut of online teleconferences as a part of daily working life. [p_leriche] has had to adjust the way church services are conducted, and found managing a complicated streaming meeting setup to be complicated at best. To ease the workload on the presenter, he created a simple Zoom control box.
At its heart, the box is little more than a fancy keyboard. An Arduino Pro Micro is hooked up to a series of brightly colored pushbuttons, each labelled with regularly used Zoom functions. The Pro Micro is programmed to fire off the corresponding keyboard shortcuts when the buttons are pressed, activating the relevant function.
It might be a simple build, but it greatly reduces the hand gymnastics required mid-presentation, and we’re sure the users greatly appreciate the new hardware. While this is a quick-and-dirty build thrown together in a basic enclosure, macro keyboards can be both useful and attractive if you so desire. If you’ve built your own time-saving control console, be sure to let us know!
Working and learning from home may be the new norm, and if IKEA shelves are any indication, folks are tricking out their home office with furniture, gadgets, and squishy chairs. While teleconferencing has proven to be an invaluable tool, paper documents aren’t going down with out a fight.
Unfortunately dedicated document cameras require significant space and monies, so they’re impractical if you only share once in a while. [John Umekubo] didn’t want students and teachers hobbled by the same costs and inconveniences, so he modeled a mirror holder that slides over a laptop’s webcam and directs the view downward.
[John]’s adventures started with a Twitter post, as seen below, but the responses were so encouraging that he published his design on Thingiverse for everyone. There’s also a version that can be laser cut out of cardboard, though we imagine a pair of scissors would work in a pinch. He admits there’s already a consumer model, but wasn’t planning to sell them anyway. Like us, he wants to get people to share their work.
We recently covered a simpler version of the same idea in use at Northwestern University, and we’ve seen a similar hack that gives a split-screen effect to sketch and maintain eye contact. If you want to share the view in your room, we have a Raspberry Pi streaming option that’s worth checking out.
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