If, like many people, you've found yourself working from home over the last few months, you've probably experienced the soul-crushing awkwardness of forgetting to unmute. It's especially bad when you were simply trying to say "yes," "no," or offer an all-important "ha".
In an attempt to quell the awkwardness, a Netflix engineer has created a video lens which can detect gestures, and turn them into on-screen words and phrases. And best of all, they're all designed in delightfully comic book-style speech bubbles (check out our best web comics if you're looking for design inspiration).
In video meetings it's a hassle to unmute just to say one word especially if someone else is speaking. I created a video lens that uses hand gestures to show comic-book style messages instead. So far it's been pretty fun! pic.twitter.com/wp6XO5QDQcSeptember 15, 2020
All you have to do is make a simple gesture, such as wave, thumbs-up or finger-point, which will bring up the 'Hello', 'Yes' and 'Question' bubbles respectively. There's even a smile-detecting 'Ha ha', for when you're required to laugh at one of your boss's jokes.
The lens was designed by Cameron Hunter, who built it using Snapchat's Lens Studio. In subsequent tweets he reveals that it was initially only intended for his own use, but "it's really nice that people are so into the lens". Indeed, his initial video has gained over 600k views in two days.
According to Mashable, Hunter hopes to add more gestures such as 'time's up' and 'you're on mute'. "The middle finger is also a highly requested feature," he says, "but I'll just leave that one alone".
If you want to try out Hunter's lenses, all you have to do is install Snap Camera, then add Hunter's Meeting Gestures lens. Snap Camera essentially creates a virtual webcam which can then be selected as a source in Zoom or Google Hangouts (you can find instructions for this on Snapchat's website).
Not only are Hunter's lenses a brilliant tool in the battle against video call awkwardness, but we love their fun design. The different bold colours should serve a practical purpose too, making 'yes', 'no' and more easy to differentiate quickly. if you're looking to up your Zoom game even more, our guide to the best webcams is on hand to keep you looking crystal clear.