Using a Webcam as an Elmo Display

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For those of you thinking about the fantastic toys, I’m afraid I must disappoint you (although the toys are great). I’m talking about the digital presenter tools which you use during talks to show things to the audience. I’ve used them in the past when doing talks about mobile phone development or to show small devices like the Micro Framework ones.

I did a talk today about the .NET Micro Framework and instead of using an Elmo I used a webcam. I tried using them ages ago but the quality of the pictures was so bad that I ended up using a camcorder instead. But this time I had one of the new Microsoft webcams, the LifeCam Cinema.  This boasts a proper 720P resolution and an auto focus lens made of real glass. And it works a treat. The quality of the pictures was excellent and it comes with a neat program that just shows you the camera view that you can use on screen. It also has some nice adjustments that you can use to pull down the brightness so that display screens look good.

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This is a completely un-retouched picture of the Zune HD homescreen. There are some more shots on Flickr.

All I need now is little portable tripod and I have my own Elmo, which is much easier to use than switching video signals over.