LIGHTBOARD FOR ZOOM TEACHING
When USC professor Emily Nix tweeted her DIY lightboard — like a see-through chalkboard — Alex Hollingsworth ran with it and shared a how-to on YouTube. Top tips: Edge-light the plexiglass with LEDs to make your writing shine, flip the image in OBS software so it’s not backward, and shine a ‘key light’ on yourself.
$3 DOCUMENT CAMERA
For distance learning, kids have to submit photos of their work, and using the laptop camera is just awkward. Kindergarten teacher Andres Thomas’s 3D-printed clip-on mirror transforms it into an instant document camera. He’s got a cardboard version too.
WORK FROM HOME
HOME OFFICE STATUS ALERTER
Light the beacon for your family: Green = I’m free, Yellow = I’m busy, and Red = Def don’t disturb! This project is a glorified IoT demo by developers at BalenaCloud, but I love that big industrial LED tower, controlled by a Raspberry Pi running a web page you access from desktop or phone. As seen at Virtually Maker Faire 2020.
BLUETOOTH ZOOM COMMANDER
Need to mute or kill the camera quick? George White built this little Bluetooth Zoom keyboard “based on an Adafruit NeoTrellis and seeded with code from John Edgar Park. Still more work to do, but having the main Zoom features as single presses is happy-making.” Find more information on Github and Twitter.
ZOOMOUT “END VIDEO CALL” PULL CORD
“I always awkwardly struggle to get to the ‘end call’ button on video calls,” says Brian Moore. So he used an Adafruit Feather Bluetooth board to make his Zoomout pull-chain switch. “It sends a key command to my computer, and then Alfred app runs an AppleScript based on that hotkey that kills any open Google Meet tabs or Zoom calls.” Find more on Twitter and Github.
OUT AND ABOUT
GLAMOUR FACE MASK
If you gotta wear it, then wear it well. Sewing author, YouTuber, and pattern designer Gretchen “Gertie” Hirsch shared this vintage burlesque-inspired mask in two versions, one with Chantilly lace and one with French veiling and rhinestones. Sew yours at CharmPatterns.
Thai artist Natthakit “Kimbab” Kangsadansenanon was already tinkering with a 3D-printed personal projection rig, using the surrounding environment as a canvas. Then social distancing gave him his first topic: a “private zone” cast upon the sidewalk around him. Also good for projecting nighttime traffic cautions for pedestrians or cyclists, or “I am single” if the bars ever reopen.
PARKLETS FOR OUTDOOR DINING
Indoor dining is outlawed in many places, but not every eatery has room for outdoor seating. “Parklets” to the rescue! Art and events producer Paul Belger has pivoted from building Burning Man spectaculars to helping restaurants build these little outdoor cafés in parking spaces on city streets. He’s shared this basic plan in PDF form.
HUGGING BOOTHS FOR SENIORS
One of the saddest sights of the pandemic: elderly folks quarantined behind glass, unable to hold or touch their loved ones. Plastic “hug curtains” appeared last spring and quickly evolved to fully enclosed “hugging booths” — like a big DIY biosafety glove box — so that families can hold each other again. This one by Steven and Amber Crenshaw is my favorite, two-way and simple to build because it mounts in an existing doorway. It’s not much more than Lexan glass mounted in a PVC pipe frame that’s wrapped in foam pipe insulation to create a flexible seal against the door frame. The gloves are off-the-shelf cast covers, like for taking a shower with your broken arm cast.
Polycarbonate sheet, clear, 1/4″ thick, 4’x8′ aka Lexan glass
Adult forearm cast covers (4)
PVC pipe, Schedule 40, 1″ (30 linear feet)
PVC 90° elbows, 1″ (4)
PVC tees, 1″ (2)
Pipe insulation, 1″ ID (30 linear feet) depending on your doorway
Pipe straps, adhesive velcro, etc. to mount the polycarbonate sheet to the PVC frame