UC Berkeley News


A new webcam developed by Professor Ken Goldberg and his project team has a field of view that extends from Telegraph Avenue on the south to Sather Gate on the north. Up to 20 users at a time can help determine what the camera focuses on at any given moment.

A high-resolution view of Sproul Plaza — and its denizens
Berkeley researchers introduce a revolutionary webcam

02 September 2004

A new state-of-the-art webcam unveiled on Wednesday, Sept. 1, provides an ultra-high-resolution, 360-degree view of Sproul Plaza, Sather Gate, Lower Sproul, and Telegraph Ave. It accommodates up to 20 users who can manipulate the camera’s robotic platform to zoom in on what they’d like to see, from students debating over coffee to others staffing the “Rock the Vote” table. The research team in charge of the project developed algorithms that will pool input from multiple users so that the webcam provides the most optimal view possible.

“Sproul Plaza is inherently a stage, and putting the webcam here opens that stage up to the world,” said Ken Goldberg, professor of industrial engineering and computer science and head of the webcam project, which is called Demonstrate (demonstrate.berkeley.edu). “Philosophically, this project explores the concept of a public university in terms of being open, rigorous, and aware of public issues.”

The Demonstrate project gives faculty, staff, curious residents, prospective students, and even parents who are going through empty-nest syndrome a window into the heart of the Berkeley campus. Users can snap still photos and post them for others to see and discuss. The webcam is being featured this month on Artport, the online portal to Internet Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (www.whitney.org/artport).

The project is being launched at Sproul Plaza, the main entrance to the campus and the historic site of political demonstrations and rallies here, in time for the 40th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement in October.
Other campus webcams are viewable at www.berkeley.edu/webcams.