Lights, Camera, Action

The Web cam has brought interesting opportunities for the average person to broadcast live-action footage throughout the world via the Internet.

The Web cam has brought interesting opportunities for the average person to broadcast live-action footage throughout the world via the Internet. With the right equipment—Internet access, a Web-enabled camera and access to a Web server (some cameras have server capabilities already built in)—a self-appointed director can choose a subject and document activity 24 hours a day for anyone who may have an interest.

Some Web cams serve mainly as entertainment. If you want to watch a snowman and his friends, check out www.snowmancam.com. Many zoos feature Web cams that showcase the animals—a good selection of these cameras can be found at the Toledo Zoo (www.toledo.com/zoocams).

On the other hand, some practical applications have been found for the Web cam as well. Many cities display live views of traffic conditions (see Cincinnati, Ohio, at www.artimis.org, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at www.murfreesborotn.gov/government/
traffic/traffic_cams.php, or search for your own city along with the keywords “traffic cameras”). Some daycare centers offer secured-access broadcasts to parents who would like to view their children’s activities throughout the day.

Of course, practical applications have found their way into the manufacturing environment as well. Toledo Molding & Die (Toledo, Ohio) uses cameras for inspection and trouble-shooting, broadcasting images from its plant in Alabama to personnel in Ohio (find more information at www.ptonline.com/articles/kuw/10683.html). In the article "Protecting Capital Equipment", Production Machining visits a shop that likes to show the world its operations. Go to www.implantdirect.com/fact_info.htm and select from the four Web cams to see live views of the machines and processes the company uses, its capabilities and the efficiency of the operation.