By David Jacobs
While many of us are tech-savvy, we may not own a laptop with a built-in camera and microphone, or a webcam for our desktop computer. I have a desktop PC and never needed a webcam before, so I never bought one. Today, however, affordable webcams are becoming very difficult to find!
Luckily, free software exists for connecting an Android smart phone with a PC computer, allowing the phone to be used as a webcam (and possibly even as a document camera). This may obviously be of interest to both instructors and students.
(Note: There appear to be similar apps for iPhone users, but I haven’t explored those resources and know nothing about them.)
For Android users, the two apps I’ve seen touted are DroidCam and IPWeb. I have experience with the first but not the second. Both require an app to be installed on your cell phone and another client app to be downloaded to your PC.
Here are 2 links that describe in some detail how to utilize these apps:
IP Webcam: https://www.ipcfy.com/download-ip-webcam-for-pc-windows/
My experience so far:
- I’m using DroidCam to connect my Samsung phone to my Windows 10 PC via WiFi.
- Setup was fairly simple and did not require a lot of computer expertise.
- So far, everything is working really well in the tests I’ve done with Zoom.
- I’m playing around with using a selfie-stick mounted to my desk to allow me to use my phone both as a webcam and a document camera.
One note of caution: There’s an option in DroidCam to connect to a PC using a USB cable. This requires some relatively advanced skills, and I found the connection to be unstable and unusable. So I do not recommend using the USB connection feature of DroidCam, only the WiFi connection feature.