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Webcam now goes 3-D

LAS VEGAS — Promotion & Display Technology Ltd. (PDT), a Manchester, U.K.-based company, has come to the Consumer Electronics Show to launch 3-D webcam.

Dubbed the Minoru 3-D webcam, PDT's new camera — which looks like a bug-eyed outer space creature that can perch on a computer screen or sit or stand on a desk — is a single unit integrated with two CMOS image sensor-based cameras spaced roughly the same distance apart as human eyes.

The 3-D webcam unit, connected to a PC via USB 2.0 cable, can be used with Skype, YouTube, Windows Live Messenger and other video conference software, bringing a 3-D imaging capability — much hyped at this year's Consumer Electronics Show — to the webcam world.

David Holder, CEO at PDT, said the webcam is capable of processing 3-D stereoscopic view either in Anaglyph stereo, accomplished with red/cyan 3-D glasses, or in side-by-side mode, showing the left and right eye views in one window.

At the core of Minoru Webcam, there is “a real-time processor” internally designed by PDT's engineering team, said Holder. “This is the first processor capable of pulling together stereo images into one — in real time.”

Asked about details of the processor, Holder, however, declined to comment.

The webcam is capable of producing images in 800 x 600 pixels at 30 frames per second at a power consumption of below 1.5 watts, with its standby mode at less than 2 milliwatts (mW).

Minoru Webcam, priced at $89.95, is now available at amazon.com.

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