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San Francisco State’s ‘FogCam’ is a component of tech history


It’s been on the watch since before the web was a thing.

The world’s oldest webcam, often known as “FogCam,” remains to be in operation at San Francisco State University.

First installed in 1994 as a student project, the camera provides a birds-eye view of the campus for anyone who logs on, in line with SF Gate.

The tech relic consists of a Logitech camera rigged up on a versatile plastic tripod on the second floor of the university’s business constructing — and lots of students don’t even understand it’s there. Nonetheless, it’s looked upon as a technology milestone and a “website pioneer,” in line with CNN.

Co-creator Jeff Schwartz was a graduate student in instructional technologies learning to script, or write instructions to manage computer, when he got here across the first-ever live webcam, which predated the web — the “Trojan Room Coffee Pot cam” on the University of Cambridge. Students at Cambridge invented it in order that researchers toiling away of their computer lab could check on whether or not the coffee maker in the subsequent room was full or empty.

Taking inspiration from the U.K. university, Schwartz partnered with a staff member supporting the department, Dan Wong, to launch FogCam.

The world’s oldest webcam, often known as “FogCam,” is taking footage at San Francisco State University.Jeff Schwartz and Dan Wong/FogCa

They employed the usage of the primary webcam-like device created for universal distribution, a Connectix QuickCam, which they connected to a Mac they purchased on the on-campus bookstore, and fused them along with a custom-made software, SF Gate explained.

The fledgling device got its name due to the foggy view it shared — reflecting each town’s famous misty weather and the low-resolution images the device produces.

“It was technology we likened to ‘The Jetsons’ on the time,” said Andrew Roderick, the associate vp of the university’s academic technology department.

“Webcams represented the primary time limit where you possibly can have a camera that was made to distribute images in an intentional way on the web,” he said. “It created that first concept that we could connect on a screen and kind of predicted the Zoom thing that we got here to depend upon throughout the pandemic.” 

Co-founder Jeff Schwartz was a graduate student learning to write instructions to control computer when he came across the first-ever live webcam.Co-founder Jeff Schwartz was a graduate student learning to jot down instructions to manage computer when he got here across the first-ever live webcam.Jeff Schwartz and Dan Wong/FogCa

When it was announced in 2019 that the FogCam can be turned off after 25 years, the general public responded with an amazing effort to save lots of it — spreading messages using the hashtag #SaveTheFogCam and even offering to supply donations to maintain it going.

The outpouring of support got here as a surprise — and because of this, Schwartz got here to an agreement with SFSU, giving the college the rights to take control of the beloved FogCam.

“I didn’t expect it in any respect,” Roderick said. “People really cared about this thing.”

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