Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Foot Operated Zoom COVID-Safer

Foot Operated Microphone
With a move back to campus I have been considering how technology to make for COVID-19 safer environment. One idea is a foot operated video conference: step up to the microphone, stand on the mat and you are on the air.

One example, is having blended meetings and classes. Some people can be in a room on campus, linked to others online. For this a large screen in the room will typically display the remote participants, as well as any shared presentation. In a small room a few microphones can pick up the local participants voices and relay this online. In a larger room this become difficult with out an extensive and expensive, A/V setup. One method used has been to hand a wireless microphone around the room, but that not advisable to to the risk of infection spread from the device.

In a flat floor classroom or meeting room, where there is sufficient space, a speaker would be able to step up to one of a number of strategically placed microphones.  But those not is use would need to be switched off. An approach I have tried out at home is to connect the microphone through a pressure may designed for burglar alarms.

I purchased a pressure mat for under $50 at a local store (Jaycar Electronics) and wired this in series to a microphone plug and socket (another $10). Pressure applied to the mat closes the circuit and connects the microphone.

One simple way to use this is plugged into a smart phone or small tablet: step on the mat, talk and you appear on Zoom. This might also be useful for home office situations where you want a fail safe system.

No comments:

Post a Comment