Saturday, August 05, 2006

World's First Webcam

Invented by lazy geeks. Figures. Circa late 1991. Wikipedia, via the BBC:
"The Trojan room coffee pot was the inspiration for the world's first webcam. The coffee pot was located in the Trojan Room, within the old Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge. The webcam was created to help people working in other parts of the building avoid pointless trips to the coffee room by providing a live picture of the state of the coffee pot." Trojan room coffee pot
Quentin Stafford-Fraser, one of the principals:
"We fixed a camera to a retort stand, pointed it at the coffee machine in the corridor, and ran the wires under the floor to the frame-grabber in the Trojan Room. Paul Jardetzky (now working in California) then wrote a 'server' program, which ran on that machine and captured images of the pot every few seconds at various resolutions, and I wrote a 'client' program which everybody could run, which connected to the server and displayed an icon-sized image of the pot in the corner of the screen." Trojan Room Coffee Pot Biography
"The image was only updated about three times a minute, but that was fine because the pot filled rather slowly, and it was only greyscale, which was also fine, because so was the coffee."
Plenty good enough, eh?


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