While it has been easier to get a decent 1080p webcam these days, most people wouldn’t search for a 4K camera – but maybe they should! Point Grey just came up with this very interesting pocket webcam that claims to record in 4K (4096×2160 pixels, or 8.8 Million pixels) over USB 3.0. This is huge and right now, very few displays would be capable of showing the images in their full glory, but even on a 2880×1800 display, which is the highest that consumers can get, it should look very nice.
That said, there are hurdles to overcome. For one, there is the network matter. Today, even if you have a 1080p camera, software like Skype often do the video compression with the CPU. Crunching 8 million pixels is no small feat, and even camera-embedded hardware-based solutions would have a hard time coping with this. We are talking about 185 megabits of data to compress every second.
For professional use, this could be another story. Given enough compute power and network bandwidth, this could work very well on a private network when used for something that requires the most minute details to be visible. Medicine and ultra-security come to mind, but the possibilities are endless. Still, I would love to see how it performs on Skype.