Document cameras, also known as visual presenters, visualisers (in the United Kingdom), digital overheads, or docucams, are real-time image capture devices for displaying an object to a large audience. Like an opaque projector, a document camera is able to magnify and project the images of actual, three-dimensional objects, as well as transparencies. They are, in essence, high resolution web cams, mounted on arms so as to facilitate their placement over a page. This allows a teacher, lecturer or presenter to write on a sheet of paper or to display a two or three-dimensional object while the audience watches. Theoretically, all objects can be displayed by a document camera. Most objects are simply placed under the camera. The camera takes the picture which in turn produces a live picture using a projector or monitor. Different types of document camera/visualizer allow great flexibility in terms of placement of objects. Larger objects, for example, can simply be placed in front of the camera and the camera rotated as necessary,or a ceiling mounted document camera can also be used to allow a larger working area to be used.
Typical applications for a document camera include:
- Lecture hall or classroom use
- Presentation of material in conferences, meetings and training sessions
- Videoconferencing and telepresence
- Presentation of evidence in courtrooms
- Various medical applications (telemedicine, telepathology, display of x-rays)