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Raspberry Pi For Kids For Dummies by Richard Wentk

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Chapter 16

Take Photos with a Webcam

Wouldn’t it be cool to turn your Pi into a camera? It’s not hard, and you can use a cheap webcam as your camera.

image

Understand Webcams

Why can’t you make a streaming video cam? Streaming webcams look simple, but they aren’t. The technology and the code used to make them work are complicated. The basic problems are

  • The technology is flaky. Some webcams can do it. Others can’t. You can’t be sure whether your webcam works until you try it.
  • It’s complicated. You have to do a lot of installing and setting up, and a lot can go wrong.
  • It’s nonstandard. There are different solutions for the official Pi camera add-on and for other webcams.

Understand Photo Cams

Instead of making a streaming video cam, you can make a photo camera in this chapter and put it on a web page in Chapter 17.

A photo camera isn’t as clever as streaming video to the web, but it solves all three problems:

  • The technology is more reliable. It works with almost all webcams. The only webcams that don’t work are very old, very cheap, or both.
  • It’s simple. It uses Python and PHP, so you don’t need to install any new or special software.
  • It’s standard. You have to type an extra one-line command to get the official add-on Pi camera to work with it. Otherwise, all cameras work with the same code.

Choose a Webcam

Many people have a spare webcam. Perhaps it’s used for Skype ...

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