Webcam – Advanced Webcam Types, Working Explanation & Applications

The evolution of webcam technology uses advanced webcams for a better capturing system. Rather than just hearing, visibility while talking improves communication in a better way. These are available at different sizes and ratings from simple to complex forms. Webcams can transmit their images or videos to the host computer or other devices. These are used in several industries including marketing, security, traffic management, and healthcare systems.

External Vs Embedded Webcams

Embedded Webcams
Embedded Webcams
External Webcams
External Webcams

Most of the desktops and laptops these days come with the built-in webcam but these do not have the features as that of an external webcam. Embedded webcams are small in size so the multi-piece lens is not possible.  This results in reduced image quality. In spite of the space consideration, external webcam gives high image qualities.

Only one-to-one communication is possible with the embedded webcam whereas external webcam deals with the wider fields and more than one person. Adjusting the position of the camera is difficult in the embedded one compared to the external one which we can place in the desired location. These two types can also be distinguished in terms of cost, focal length, stereo quality sound, light sensitivity, and certification.

Working of the Webcam

The webcam is a compact digital camera that works the same as a conventional digital camera but is designed to interact with the web pages and other internet pages. It captures the real-time images through a tiny grid of light-detectors, known as a charge-coupled device (CCD) from the location where it is placed. The CCD converts the image into a digital format so that the computer can access this data. Webcams don’t have the internal memory to store the images so it transmits the data immediately to the host device through the USB or other analog cable. Some of these devices also come with built-in microphone for video calling.

Webcam working
Webcam working

Webcam does two things, capturing the image or video and transferring it to the predestined device. Along with the digital camera, these also come with the appropriate software to interact with the host device. The software allows the user to edit the images and to record the videos for a particular duration. This software grabs the digital data from the camera at certain intervals of time. Depending on the frame rate, the number of pictures or video streaming is displayed on the computer or other display systems. The software receives the image frame from digital camera, converts it into JPEG file, and finally sends it to the webserver using the file transfer protocol (FTP). So before using this webcam, while working with the web, we need to do some configuration steps to upload the images and videos.

Selection of the Webcam

Before purchasing the webcam we have to consider the main features that are offered by it and those are described below.

Webcam with & without microphone
Webcam with & without microphone
  • Megapixels

It decides the quality of the picture or image. Most of the cameras provide a reasonable quality image.  It is good if we use 320*240 or 640*480 pixels. For better quality webcam should have 1280*720 resolutions.

  • Frames Per Second

This decides the speed at which the image moves on the screen. The minimum rate is 15 frames per second. The ideal rate is 30 FPS to have better video streaming.  This requires the speed of the internet to be enough.

  • Face Tracking

It allows the various options like digital zoom, side-to-side and up-to-down movements, always facing straight towards the screen. This is the advanced feature of the webcams.

  • Microphone

This feature offers voice recording along with the corresponding motion appearance. This is helpful while doing the video chat. Types of microphones depend on the required quality of the data or video.

  • Portable

The webcam should have the facility to be placed at convenient places like walls, top of the screen on the desktop/PC. Simple construction allows the user to use conveniently in well-suited places.

  • Type of Lens

Modern webcams come with a glass lens and a plastic lens. Compared to the glass lens, plastic lens types are of the high cost.

  • Low Light Quality

If the webcam is used for capturing the images or videos during the night time or low light conditions, it should have the features of optimized image quality in poor light conditions.

Applications of the Webcam

HD webcams
HD webcams

Webcams are extensively used in a wide variety of the application for image capturing and recording of the captured data. Some of the application areas are listed below.

  • Buildings, Offices, and Shopping Malls

Webcams are used to monitor the unauthorized entries and motion detection of the authorized things to improve the security. These also improve communication over the various clients in the offices through online chatting.

  • Banking Sector

Every section of the bank is monitored by webcams. Video files are transferred and stored to the main server for future investigation purposes. This increases security while identifying the people and mischief things.

  • Video Calling

This adds an advantage to the instant messaging by allowing visibility between the communicators. Webcams provide both one-to-one and conferencing communication features.

  • Astro Photography

Space applications use webcams to capture the geographical positions of the satellites and other surfaces. Various space vehicles are fitted with this device to capture images of the various planets.

  • Robotic Technology

Robotic technology popularly uses webcams in certain dangerous places (of defense applications) to transfer the data to the main server over the web.

  • Home Security Systems

Webcams can provide good security at home by constant vigilance and monitoring of any visitor to the house. At night motion detection turns the alarm on and starts recording the video.

  • Input Control Devices

Webcams are also used as input devices for user control applications and games. This allows the movement of the objects to control the operations on the specific applications. It tracks colors, shapes, models and other detections as input control.

  • Roads and Parking areas

Webcams can be used to record vehicle movements, a number of vehicles present, traffic situations, and accidental information and vehicle number plate details remotely through the web.

I guess I have provided you with ample and sufficient knowledge about webcams. I thank you all for spending your time on this article. Now that you are aware of the types, working, and applications of this device, I would like to ask you a simple question- Why are CCTV cameras used in public places and not external webcams? furthermore any queries on this concept or on electrical and electronic projects Please share your ideas in the comment section below.

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