Some of them, for example, those used as online traffic cameras, are expensive, rugged professional video cameras.
They have also become a source of security and privacy issues, as some built-in webcams can be remotely activated by spyware.Special software can use the video stream from a webcam to assist or enhance a user's control of applications and games.Video features, including faces, shapes, models and colors can be observed and tracked to produce a corresponding form of control.Webcams may be installed at places such as childcare centres, offices, shops and private areas to monitor security and general activity.Webcams have been used for augmented reality experiences online.Various software tools in wide use can be employed for this, such as Pic Master (for use with Windows operating systems), Photo Booth (Mac), or Cheese (with Unix systems).
For a more complete list see Comparison of webcam software.
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.
In December 2011, Russia announced that 290,000 Webcams would be installed in 90,000 polling stations to monitor the Russian presidential election, 2012.
Webcams can be used to take video clips and still pictures.
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