Improved video quality has helped webcams encroach on traditional video conferencing systems.New features such as automatic lighting controls, real-time enhancements (retouching, wrinkle smoothing and vertical stretch), automatic face tracking and autofocus, assist users by providing substantial ease-of-use, further increasing the popularity of webcams.Unauthorized access of webcams can present significant privacy issues (see "Privacy" section below).In December 2011, Russia announced that 290,000 Webcams would be installed in 90,000 polling stations to monitor the Russian presidential election, 2012.This can be applied to games, providing additional control, improved interactivity and immersiveness.
The most popular use of webcams is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations.
By removing the IR filter of the webcam, IR LEDs can be used, which has the advantage of being invisible to the naked eye, removing a distraction from the user.
Track IR is a commercial version of this technology.
Video features, including faces, shapes, models and colors can be observed and tracked to produce a corresponding form of control.
For example, the position of a single light source can be tracked and used to emulate a mouse pointer, a head-mounted light would enable hands-free computing and would greatly improve computer accessibility.