This ace video call hack will make you less awkward on Zoom

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). 

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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.

Video call lens

No more unmuting just to say "Hi".  (Image credit: Cameron Hunter)

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.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.