One of the cool technologies that is available now and just hasn't really caught on is video calling. You can place video calls from your computer today using a webcam, but most users still prefer to just text or IM.
Don't back away from the screen in terror; we've had it on good authority that the Hercules Dualpix HD720p you see here is actually considerably smaller in real life. What such a large image does help show you, though, is that the webcam is HD 720p capable, complete with an autofocus lens and integrated microphone.
Today marks the day that OmniVision announced a sensor that could potentially make 1080p video capture a very real possibility in mobile devices. And not in ten years. The sensor is called the OV2710, and it can record the HD resolution at 30 frames per second, and it utilizes a 2-megapixel camera that matches the format. Keeping the megapixels low adds quite a few benefits, like lower expenses and getting better image quality in low lighting situations.
If you've tried to use speech recognition to control your computer, then you may have experienced the frustration of finding "George, stop touching that!" transcribed into your letter to the bank since the system doesn't differentiate between your dictation and your asides. Intel are hoping to put a stop to all that, with their integration of facial-recognition and speech-recognition; part of the company's Research team experimentation, the prototype uses a webcam to track facial movement and only turn on speech-control when the user is facing their monitor.
Video demo after the cut
We first saw the Minoru 3D webcam back in October 2008, but the first reviews are only just coming in now. Crave managed to get their hands on the double-camera gadget and shot some test images and video, finding it to be a surprisingly straightforward way of getting a 3D effect.
Video demo after the cut
Sony have revealed plans to add facial recognition capabilities to their PlayStation Eye webcam, potentially stealing part of Microsoft's Project Natal thunder. According to Kish Hirani, Sony Europe's head of developer services, the functionality will soon be added to the existing hardware, with developer libraries available for games studios so that they don't need to exert effort specifically coding for the new system.
If the thought of remotely controlling you Rovio robot webcam from a cellphone is appealing, but you don't have a BlackBerry, then AndRovio may be the solution. Poignant Projects' app runs on Android devices, and allows full control of Rovio including live webcam viewing, camera position control and snapshots.
Autonomous, intelligent robots are great, but when they look like classic Transformers characters they're even better. The handiwork of Mellon University's Tekkotsu lab, the Chiara Robot has six independent legs, a claw arm with six degrees of freedom, and a combination of webcam and IR rangefinder for spotting objects and obstacles. Even better, this is no simple lab project: the Chiara Robot will actually be manufactured and sold by RoPro Design.
Video demos after the cut
D-Link have announced two new network webcams which promise plug-and-play remote viewing using the company's online streaming portal. The D-Link Network Camera DCS-1100 launches today, while the DCS-1130 - with WiFi draft-n - arrives later in the month.
Both cameras can be accessed from any browser by going to D-Link's mydlink.com portal. However they can also be used to stream live video to cellphones, with sound from the integrated microphone and remote control of 16x digital zoom and motion detection.