So how about the role of the humble web cam? Web cams have been around for a while now, though they don’t tend to get used so much, though there is a lot of talk about telepresence. Telepresence is supposed to be video conferencing but with such good quality it seems like the person is in the same room with you. Here’s what it looks like.
Looks pretty expensive doesn’t it? I can’t say I’m impressed by this. Having used very similar equipment (probably equally expensive) and tried to have discussions between two groups of people in different rooms, I have to say that even if the quality was great it would be far from ideal.
Personally I feel that we can work just as well on our laptops with the built in web cam and a free tools like Tokbox.com. The quality that these services can offer is likely to improve over the coming years as they become more popular and attract more investment.
Iris and Facial Recognition
But how about this idea? Have you been through immigration at an airport recently. If you have you may have had your iris scanned as a means of identification. Suppose the technology that this system uses develops to the point where you can authenticate your identity on your computer through your web cam. So no more logging in and trying to remember user names and passwords to the sites you register on. Just sit in front of your computer and it knows who you are and unlocks all your sites and web based services for you. Possible? Useful?
Face recognition is also becoming more common place and you can now download free software for Windows ( http://www.luxand.com/blink/)that will recognise your face and log you into your computer, so no more forgotten passwords!
Motion recognition through web cams is also making its way into games and there are already quite a few free games that you can try out using your web cam as the controller.
- Here you can stand in front of your web cam and take on a team of ninjas.
- Or if you prefer something a bit safer then how about cleaning some windows
- Both of these will keep you pretty fit as they involve quite a lot of jumping about.
http://webcamgames.sky.com/ if you feel like investigating more.
Well and what about your interactive whiteboard? What’s the connection between IWBs and web cams? Well your web cam could make the need for a specialised board and controller obsolete pretty soon if the guys at Camspace http://camspace.com/ have anything to do with it. They have been developing this system which turns any coloured object into a computer controller.
If we start applying this kind of technology to IWB software it could mean that any students in your class could hold up a pen or any coloured object and take control of the computer and write on the board from where ever they are sitting. Giving this control to students could make that interactive whiteboard a lot more interactive and better still save a lot of money.
So our web cam is not only the doorway to video conferencing and communication, it could soon also become a way of logging onto our computers and conforming our identity, a way of interacting with our computer and a way of giving students control of the board and making their interaction with the computer as a class a lot more interactive.
So that’s just a quick look at the part the humble web cam could play in the future of learning technology. I hope you enjoyed it and that it gives you some food for thought about the way technology can change the way we learn.
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