With the pandemic still going strong, more people are working and learning from home. To that end, most home video setups use multiple components to converse with others — including cameras, microphones, and speakers. One of the more useful features in some setups are mute buttons, which allow users to cut video and sound when needed quickly. One of the drawbacks to these systems is they’re not exactly portable. While smartphones can handle video conferencing tasks, they can’t replace the advantages of a full setup in terms of video quality and sound clarity.
To prepare for the fall semester, engineer Erich Styger designed a portable video conferencing platform that incorporates everything needed in a small laser-cut wooden box he can take anywhere. The DIY portable video conference device measures just 290 x 150 x 40mm and is outfitted with a single USB port and a four-port hub that connects an 8MP auto-focus USB camera module, Jabra Speak 410, and speaker. It also packs a tinyK20 microcontroller, NXP K20DX128 MCU, and handy mute buttons that kill audio and video streams.
Styger's unit works in tandem with a laptop. It uses a pair of aluminum rods to position the camera, allowing others to see him and to display a whiteboard or documents needed during meetings.
Styger has uploaded a detailed walkthrough of his DIY video conferencing system on his website, complete with all the necessary files and folders for those who would like to recreate his build.