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A webcam is a video camera that feeds or streams its image in real time to or through a computer to a computer network.
Some cameras, such as mobile-phone cameras, use a CMOS sensor with supporting electronics "on die", i.e.Researchers claim that this method is accurate to ±5 bpm.Webcams may be installed at places such as childcare centres, offices, shops and private areas to monitor security and general activity.the sensor and the support electronics are built on a single silicon chip to save space and manufacturing costs.Most webcams feature built-in microphones to make video calling and videoconferencing more convenient. The USB video device class (UVC) specification allows inter-connectivity of webcams to computers without the need for proprietary device drivers.Some of them, for example, those used as online traffic cameras, are expensive, rugged professional video cameras.
Image sensors can be CMOS or CCD, the former being dominant for low-cost cameras, but CCD cameras do not necessarily outperform CMOS-based cameras in the low-price range.
Support electronics read the image from the sensor and transmit it to the host computer.
The camera pictured to the right, for example, uses a Sonix SN9C101 to transmit its image over USB.
Webcam features and performance can vary by program, computer operating system, and also by the computer's processor capabilities.
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.
Various lenses are available, the most common in consumer-grade webcams being a plastic lens that can be manually moved in and out to focus the camera.