The four-key keyboard for the next time you have to PANIC!

Have you ever been in a video chat, and had some kind of disaster happen that left you scrambling to mute and cut your video feed? I know I have - the most recent being when I spilled hot coffee on my lap. PANIC!

This project was inspired by Simon Prickett's Zoom Panic Button, which allows a user to both mute and cut video at the push of an arcade switch embedded in a Starbucks cup.

Like many of us, I'm spending a lot more time on video calls these days, but Zoom isn't the only video conferencing software I use. Most of my work meetings are on Microsoft Teams or Skype, and personal meetings are on either Zoom or Jitsi.

Each one of these applications uses its own hotkeys for muting and stopping the camera, so one button wouldn't do the trick, and my desk is already littered enough with Starbucks cups, so I thought it would be best to build something new!

As it turns out, I had a Trinket M0 already embedded with four buttons in the form of an Adafruit PyRuler. Even better, it's already pre-programmed as a USB HID device, so it was ready to go as a keyboard entry device.

This is a quick and easy project that lets you program your PyRuler as a multi-application panic switch. If you have access to a 3D printer, you can also create a labeled enclosure for it for when you PANIC!

How quickly can you hit both of these buttons with a lap full of hot coffee? A PyRuler can help...


A purple-manicured finger presses the capacitive touch pads on a purple electronic ruler. The LEDs light up as the finger presses the capacitive gold pad.
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This guide was first published on Aug 04, 2020. It was last updated on Jul 18, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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