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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.For a more complete list see Comparison of webcam software.Special software can use the video stream from a webcam to assist or enhance a user's control of applications and games.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.Small webcam-based PC games are available as either standalone executables or inside web browser windows using Adobe Flash.
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.
They have also become a source of security and privacy issues, as some built-in webcams can be remotely activated by spyware.
The most popular use of webcams is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations.
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.
Webcams can be used to take video clips and still pictures.