These keys are so hot

A project log for RemuterMCS

Remote control for muting and unmuting the microphone, camera, and speakers

WJCarpenterWJCarpenter 04/16/2021 at 23:050 Comments

I originally thought that the computer side of this was going to be the easy part. And, I guess it is or it isn't, depending on how you look at it.

If you are only interested in using a single video conferencing application, and if you can live with the ambiguity of keyboard shortcuts that act as toggles, then you can customize the RemuterMCS keyboard codes on the remote device to do your bidding. For example, here are the keyboard shortcuts I found for some popular video conferencing applications:

; Google Meet default Windows shortcuts
; microphone toggle: Control-d
; camera toggle:     Control-e

; Webex Meetings default Windows shortcuts
; microphone toggle: Control-m
; camera toggle:     Control-Shift-v

; Zoom default Windows shortcuts
; microphone toggle: Alt-a
; camera toggle:     Alt-v

; Microsoft Teams meetings and calls
; microphone toggle: Ctrl+Shift+M
; camera toggle:     Ctrl+Shift+O

 I really don't care for the simple toggles that the standard hotkeys use, and I myself use multiple conferencing applications. So, I started looking at my original plan, which was to have AutoHotKey do the heavy lifting. 

That's still my plan, but it takes a little detective work to figure out the details. I was hoping to have a recipe so anybody could figure out what they needed to paste into an AutoHotKey script, but it turns out that there are a lot of variables. Part of the problem, which I didn't anticipate, is that AHK's ability to find things in controls inside an application probably depends on the use of technology that isn't in common use any more. For example, looking at "all text in a window" pretty much comes up with nothing useful. I had originally planned to look for text "Mute" or "Unmute", for example, to know the state of the microphone mute.

In the next few project logs, I'll describe some of the techniques I am using to find and change states of devices. I don't yet have a simple recipe, but maybe that will arise as I document my trail. Ironically, the least useful of the 3 devices, the speaker, is the simplest to control via AHK.