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Video calling support has also been added to several popular instant messaging programs. Software is available to allow PC-connected cameras to watch for movement and sound, a computer e-mailed images of the burglar during the theft of the computer, enabling the owner to give police a clear picture of the burglar's face even after the computer had been stolen.
Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).
The video streams provided by webcams can be used for a number of purposes, each using appropriate software: Most modern webcams are capable of capturing arterial pulse rate by the use of a simple algorithmic trick.
Researchers claim that this method is accurate to ±5 bpm.
The most popular use of webcams is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations.
Other popular uses include security surveillance, computer vision, video broadcasting, and for recording social videos.
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.
Improved video quality has helped webcams encroach on traditional video conferencing systems.
With very-low-light capability, a few specific models of webcams are very popular to photograph the night sky by astronomers and astro photographers.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.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 term "webcam" (a clipped compound) may also be used in its original sense of a video camera connected to the Web continuously for an indefinite time, rather than for a particular session, generally supplying a view for anyone who visits its web page over the Internet.