Very few of us had ever even heard of Zoom a year ago. Today, thanks to a little pandemic going around the world, just about everyone has had to participate in a Zoom video call. That means we, as a society, have had to rapidly develop and implement completely new etiquette guidelines for video conferencing. Some of those are straightforward: mute your mic when you aren’t talking and make sure you’re wearing pants before you stand up in front of the camera. But even ending a video call can be a challenge, which is why Brian Moore developed this simple “zoomout” device that lets you quickly and easily leave Zoom meetings.
This device is perfect for those situations when you have Zoom open in a background window or are otherwise unable to quickly get to that big red “end call” button. Moore has it setup to be triggered when he pulls on a chain, a bit like those old-timey toilet flushers. He has that mounted on the wall next to his desk, so he can simply reach over and pull the chain when he’s ready to exit a video conference. His project can be easily modified if you’d rather push a button or something. Anything that can act like a standard switch can be used to trigger the “end call” command. This device should work with any computer or tablet that supports Bluetooth keyboards, so you can connect it to whatever you use for your Zoom calls.
The most important component in this project is an Adafruit Feather nRF52840 Express development board. That tiny board has a built-in Bluetooth module to connect to other devices. It also has an onboard LiPo battery charging and regulator circuit, so you can mount the device anywhere and not have to worry about running power cables. The pull-chain switch is a standard model that is generally used for lamps and that can be purchased at any hardware store. The 3D-printed enclosure is designed to be mounted to wall. Moore’s code, which was tested on macOS Catalina (10.15), sets the device up to act like a Bluetooth keyboard. Pulling the switch causes the device to send the proper keyboard shortcut to end a Zoom call. It also works for Google Meet calls that are running in Google Chrome. If you’ve been struggling to end your video calls in a timely manner, this is an easy weekend project to solve the problem.