In my fingers above you can see something rather amazing. It’s an ESP32 powered webcam and it is priced at a stupidly low level. Mine arrived earlier this week and I’ve found a splendid howto that gets you started. You’ll need a serial interface to program the camera as it doesn’t have a usb connection. I used the one I got with some Arduino Pro-minis a while back. A couple of tips:
make sure you update to the latest version of the ESP32 board. The older camera sample will not compile.
the device can be a bit picky about power supplies. Mine gave “brownout” warnings for a while before I connected the 5V input to a slightly beefier supply than the 3.3V I used to program it
The camera serves up a website with a wealth of controls that you can use to change the image quality. You can use it to grab stills or watch a video stream. It even supports facial recognition and it has a micro-SD slot for saving stuff to. Amazing.
For the price you really should get one of these and have a play. I’ve been looking for a quick way to get pictures into Azure for training image recognition. I think I may have just found it.