The Real Reason Webcams Were Invented

As strange as it may sound, the world’s first webcam was designed so that students at the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge could check the… coffee pot.

In 1991, in what later came to be known as the Trojan Room of the UOC, a team of young students had a serious problem: they went on to have some coffee only to find that the coffee machine was empty. Being engineers, they found a clever way to check the coffee levels without having to leave their desk – webcam.

Here’s how this worked. (the article continues after the ad)

A camera was connected to the office network and was providing live picture of the coffee pot. The resolution of the image was 128x128px:

Photo: Creative Commons

A few year later, this coffee pot became famous worldwide when it was connected to the internet, being the world’s first webcam, introducing the world to the exciting opportunities of the World Wide Web.

The camera was eventually switched off 10 years later, at 09:54 UTC on 22 August 2001. By that time, the Trojam Room coffee pot was so popular that the coverage of the shutdown was mentioned in The New York Times, The London Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian.

This is the last picture the webcam ever took, showing the hand of an engineer ready to switch the server off:

Photo: Creative Commons

BONUS FACT: The world’s oldest – still streaming webcam, is the FogCam that’s located in San Fransisco and is in use since 1994. you can check its livestream here.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Potato Chips Were Invented By A Complaining Customer And An Angry Chef 

Photo: Creative Commons
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