A free web widget for Zoom could be just the soothing balm your overworked nerves need. Zoom Escaper is a program that helps you ditch those soul-draining, painfully awkward video conferences on Zoom and other apps. And how does it achieve this noble goal, you ask? By giving you multiple audio options that make it sound as if your connection has been disrupted.
From echos, bad connectivity, upset baby crying sounds to a man weeping in the background, dogs barking, wind blowing, construction noises, and even peeing sounds, the Zoom Escaper by Sam Lavigne is a blessing for everyone who has been glued to exploitative video conference software programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s how it works — In order to take advantage of Zoom Escaper, you need to enable the microphone via the prompt on the site. Then you have to download VB-Cable, hit refresh, and pick whichever effect you want. On Zoom, you'll have to switch your output and set your microphone to VB-Cable for it to work. And when you're done using the perfect audio excuse, just switch your microphone back to your computer's original setting and go about your day.
You won't be able to hear the interjecting sounds yourself but other participants in the call will. The stream of sounds will be constant. Fair warning, though, the sounds may not sound natural all the time, as Verge notes. So you better hope people on the call fall for it.
Lavigne demonstrated the program on YouTube, showing how the sounds will come across to the listener. This could be a hit or miss. For example, it’s hard to see people believing that you’re in the middle of a construction site. But sounds like a dog barking incessantly in the background or an echo affecting your audio are plausible scenarios.
The fatigue is real — The exhaustion many describe after a Zoom call is so pervasive that it has its own name: Zoom fatigue. Researchers have an explanation for why you feel completely drained after a Zoom meeting.
Scientists point to reasons like having to maintain constant eye contact while also observing your own video and the limited physical mobility during these sessions as the contributing factors for that super-tired feeling. They also explain that Zoom users have to spend more time and energy on picking up and parsing social cues during these calls than normal, in-person interactions.