Remedy for Zoom fatigue? Animal avatars, of course

Zoom is adding new avatars that will allow you to appear in conference calls as one of your favorite barnyard friends.

Like Apple’s Animoji, you can disguise your appearance as a friendly bunny, dog, raccoon, cow, mouse or fox when you show up to your next virtual meeting, adding a bit of fun and whimsy to the new era of working at home. home that started more than two years ago.

Using software, Zoom will apply the animal avatar of your choice to your face using your webcam to detect the location of your face. Given Zoom’s high-profile privacy issues with Zoom’s pandemic bombings, the company is paying greater attention to privacy and security when implementing this feature, and Zoom says avatars of animals do not use facial recognition to identify who you are.

“So while the Avatars feature can tell what a face is or isn’t, it doesn’t recognize or distinguish individual faces,” Zoom explained.

And seeing animal crossing performing in real time on your video screen may not seem appropriate in the company’s next virtual meeting, Zoom believes there are use cases where using animal avatars may make sense . In a blog post announcing the new feature, Zoom mentioned that doctors dressed in their pediatric patient’s favorite animal avatar can make telemedicine less stressful, and using avatars can help shy or socially anxious colleagues to break the ice at virtual teambuilding events. This feature can also make remote learning more engaging and fun for younger students.

So before you say no to blurting out “What’s the fox saying” when you see your co-worker dressed as an avatar fox, Zoom’s latest attempt to try and fix Zoom fatigue has some benefits. For starters, if you’re working from home and don’t want to get fully dressed just to appear on a more casual call with teammates, avatars can allow you to feel more relaxed without the pressure of looking your best at home. any time. And as The Next Web reported, using animal avatars can help shy people get into meetings without the pressure of showing their faces on camera.

A screenshot shows some of Zoom's new animal avatars on a conference call.

The launch of animal avatars is Zoom’s latest attempt to make video calling more fun and engaging, alongside previously released features like virtual backgrounds, immersive scenes and filters. The new feature is available on Windows, MacOS, and iOS mobile devices. You’ll need to be running a Zoom client with version 5.10.0 or higher, and the animal avatar feature must also be enabled by the account owner or admin.

To use an avatar, you need to open the Zoom app and access the meeting toolbar. Next, you will need to select the Stop Video option to open the video options menu.

Next, you will have to choose the option Choose virtual background or Choose video filter. At this point, you will be able to go to the Avatars tab and choose your favorite animal avatar. At launch, 11 animal avatars are available, and Zoom says it’s looking to provide avatars beyond just animal type in the future. It would be interesting to see a science lesson where students can appear as their favorite scientists, from Albert Einstein to Marie Curie.

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