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Webcams have been used for augmented reality experiences online.One such function has the webcam act as a "magic mirror" to allow an online shopper to view a virtual item on themselves.

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.

A webcam is a video camera that feeds or streams its image in real time to or through a computer to a computer network.

When "captured" by the computer, the video stream may be saved, viewed or sent on to other networks via systems such as the internet, and emailed as an attachment.

When sent to a remote location, the video stream may be saved, viewed or on sent there.

Unlike an IP camera (which connects using Ethernet or Wi-Fi), a webcam is generally connected by a USB cable, or similar cable, or built into computer hardware, such as laptops.Other popular uses include security surveillance, computer vision, video broadcasting, and for recording social videos.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.Improved video quality has helped webcams encroach on traditional video conferencing systems.New features such as automatic lighting controls, real-time enhancements (retouching, wrinkle smoothing and vertical stretch), automatic face tracking and autofocus, assist users by providing substantial ease-of-use, further increasing the popularity of webcams.Researchers claim that this method is accurate to ±5 bpm.