TBT: The Invention of the Webcam

This week’s Throw Back Thursday post is an exciting one. We’re going back in time to figure out exactly who invented the first webcam. If it weren’t for webcams, sites like Chatroulette and Chatrandom would never have existed. That goes without stating that communication technologies would most likely have been slowed down and software tools like Skype wouldn’t be here either. So here we go, continue reading to figure out who is responsible for this basic device that almost every single one of our visitors has on their computer.


Now you may find this completely ridiculous or you may not even believe that this is the truth, but we swear it is. The first webcam ever created was made to watch coffee pots. Far from being what it is today; we tend to use it more for adult pleasures and for conducting business with outsourced employees, but heck, everything amazing had to have started somewhere right?


It was back in 1991 at Cambridge University that the first webcam was created and like I mentioned above, it was to watch the coffee pots. Late night programmers at Cambridge University were tired and fed up with going to a coffee machine that had an empty pot. Two members in particular were so fed up with walking the distance simply to find an empty pot of coffee that they decided to monitor all coffee pots with video sources. This allowed them to know which coffee pots still had coffee in them.


It was Dr. Quentin Stafford-Fraser and Paul Jardetzky who decided enough was enough. They planted webcams all over the university where coffee pots were located so that they could know exactly where to locate a pot of coffee without making a useless trip to an empty pot. The quality of the images was extremely poor when you compare them to our high definition cams that we’re so used to having.

The first webcam ever created showed images in a 129 x 129 grayscale quality which was outright terrible. At least it managed to do what it was made for; watch coffee, but I’m sure you wouldn’t want to use it on Chatrandom to watch a gorgeous babe undress herself. Let’s stick to high definition cams for that. The speed of the images was more like many pictures being taking rather than an actual video stream. It was only able to display one image per second which is incredibly slow.


Nonetheless, the first webcam opened up a door that allowed so many more opportunities to arise. From being able to conduct online business meetings from anywhere in the world all the way to having access to random cam sites, the webcam revolutionized the way we use the internet. If it weren’t for that bunch of lazy professors back at Cambridge, we would probably still be using our dial up corded phones at pricey long distance rates to call the people we know. Now we can simply hop online and connect with the entire world.

Thank you lazy Cambridge professors; we owe you!

Don’t forget to come back next Thursday for another TBT post.

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