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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.
Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).
In December 2011, Russia announced that 290,000 Webcams would be installed in 90,000 polling stations to monitor the Russian presidential election, 2012.
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.
Various software tools in wide use can be employed for this, such as Pic Master (for use with Windows operating systems), Photo Booth (Mac), or Cheese (with Unix systems).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.This can be applied to games, providing additional control, improved interactivity and immersiveness.Free Track is a free webcam motion-tracking application for Microsoft Windows that can track a special head-mounted model in up to six degrees of freedom and output data to mouse, keyboard, joystick and Free Track-supported games.