Loading Circle Machine for Escape from Zoom is a communications solution for our weird new normal.

Thanks to the prevalence of video chat apps, communication is really only slightly impeded by the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus outbreak. But shouldn’t technology be doing more than making it easy for us to have visually face-to-face conversation without being in the same place? Shouldn’t it also be helping us to get out of those conversations?

That’s the reasoning of inventor Marina Fujiwara (@togenkyoo on Twitter). Half engineer and half comedian, Fujiwara bills herself as someone who makes “useless inventions,” but her newest creation seems like it’d be plenty useful. Called the Loading Circle Machine for Escape from Zoom, he battery-operated device consists of two parts: a button marked “EMERGENCY ESCAPE” and a mechanical arm that extends upward once the button is pressed.

Fujiwara herself demonstrates its use at the video’s 14-second mark. Once you decide you want to escape whatever pointless, boring, or otherwise unwanted video chat you’re stuck in, you’ll need to strike some sort of pose with one hand out of frame in your video feed.

Then, while keeping the rest of your body and face as still as possible, use your hidden hand to slap the EMERGENCY ESCAPE button, which will deploy the mechanical arm. At the tip of the mechanical arm are an array of prongs, meant to look like the loading circle symbol that pops up on your monitor when an app has run into a problem and is stalling out. Once that’s in place, once again use your hidden hand to work your PC’s mouse and click out of the chat.

In Japanese, Fujiwara calls her latest creation the “Online Nomikai Kinkyu Dasshutu Button,” or “Emergency Online Drinking Party Escape Button.” However, as appreciative comments from other Twitter users have been quick to point out, the machine’s potential applications go beyond social boozing, with some saying they’d like a Loading Circle Machine for Escape from Zoom of their own to use for fleeing work meetings or for opting out of difficult questions when their teacher calls on them during an online school lesson.

Fujiwara also has a YouTube channel where she presents her unique brainchildren, like a machine that scratches your face for you if you’re avoiding touching it with your own hands as part of coronavirus precautions.

Oh, and if you’re worried that Fujiwara’s friends had their feelings hurt when they say her video, don’t be. As the inventor explained in a follow-up tweet, “I don’t have anyone who’ll have an online drinking party with me, so the other people in the demonstration are from a free video database,” proving that she’s actually one step further ahead of the game in avoiding unwanted online conversations.

Source: Twitter/@togenkyoo via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Twitter/@togenkyoo 
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