A webcam is a video camera that feeds or streams its image in real time to or through a computer to a computer network.
When "captured" by the computer, the video stream may be saved, viewed or sent on to other networks travelling through systems such as the internet, and e-mailed as an attachment.
With very-low-light capability, a few specific models of webcams are very popular to photograph the night sky by astronomers and astro photographers.
Mostly, these are manual-focus cameras and contain an old CCD array instead of comparatively newer CMOS array.
By removing the IR filter of the webcam, IR LEDs can be used, which has the advantage of being invisible to the naked eye, removing a distraction from the user.
Track IR is a commercial version of this technology.
The Eye Toy for the Play Station 2, Play Station Eye for the Play Station 3, and the Xbox Live Vision camera and Kinect motion sensor for the Xbox 360 and are color digital cameras that have been used as control input devices by some games.
The most popular use of webcams is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations.Webcams have been used for augmented reality experiences online.One such function has the webcam act as a "magic mirror" to allow an online shopper to view a virtual item on themselves.The Webcam Social Shopper is one example of software that utilizes the webcam in this manner.Webcam can be added to instant messaging, text chat services such as AOL Instant Messenger, and Vo IP services such as Skype, one-to-one live video communication over the Internet has now reached millions of mainstream PC users worldwide.When sent to a remote location, the video stream may be saved, viewed or on sent there.Unlike an IP camera (which connects using Ethernet or Wi-Fi), a webcam is generally connected by a USB cable, or similar cable, or built into computer hardware, such as laptops.The lenses of the cameras are removed and then these are attached to telescopes to record images, video, still, or both.In newer techniques, videos of very faint objects are taken for a couple of seconds and then all the frames of the video are "stacked" together to obtain a still image of respectable contrast.Video features, including faces, shapes, models and colors can be observed and tracked to produce a corresponding form of control.For example, the position of a single light source can be tracked and used to emulate a mouse pointer, a head-mounted light would enable hands-free computing and would greatly improve computer accessibility.