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Fake Loading Circle Machine Helps You Escape Video Calls

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Written by Paul Strauss | June 25, 2020

Do you find yourself stuck on endless video conference calls these days? Looking for an excuse to tune out? Blame it on your crappy internet connection. This silly gadget from Japan makes it look like your video is stuck buffering by popping up one of those loading circles in front of your face.

Designed by “useless machine” inventor Marina Fujiwara, this goofy invention pops up a fake loading circle, so all you need to do is sit still and not move, and your fellow conference attendees will think you’ve dropped out of the conversation. Of course, as soon as you move, the illusion is blown, so maybe you should get a life-size cardboard cutout of yourself to go with this thing. Then just quickly pop back into the room if you hear your name mentioned.

Marina first made a version of the gadget for herself, but decided to put it into production so you can join in the fun on your own Zoom calls. Thanks to its completely analog design, it works with Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Skype, and Google Meet too.

I was hoping that she designed it so the loading icon would spin, but it just pops up and blocks your face. I want a version with a spinning motor and interchangeable icons, like a beachball or dots. Sadly, the production version of the loading circle is quite expensive to import, with Japan Trend Shop asking $88 for the device. If you live in Japan, you can find it over at Maywadenki for ¥4180 (~$39 USD).