Tech Friday: Programming the Logitech Orbit Webcam

Just dabbling.

The Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF Webcam is a motorized point/tilt/zoom (PTZ) web camera with outstanding resolution and performance. Logitech has provided some additional documentation on manipulating the webcam. In Windows this is done through the DirectView API. To get as far as “Hello World”, i.e just to demo the whole thing, I first downloaded a sample C++ program provided by Logitech called. PTZ.exe Then I realized that I better see if the camera works in the first place, so I downloaded the current QuickCam driver set qc1150 from the Logitech site. Once that was installed, it worked fine when testing.

Then I tested PTZ.exe. This seemed to work fine. It is a command line program which does the following:
* Scans existing USB ports to find the webcam.
* Issues a series of commands to exercise the mechanical and digital PTZ functions of the camera.

Because my camera is an older version, just the zoom seemed to work. I’ll have to test it again with current AF.

Since PTZ.exe also comes as C++ source code, I downloaded and installed Visual Studio C++ Express Edition. This is the free version of Visual C++ . I opened the PTZ “solution”, when showed the various header files, and the main routine in a “folder” hierarchy to the left of a standard editing pane.

[Click picture to see full size]

Just like old times. You compile. You link. You run the application in a command box. This all works pretty reliably, even in Vista, running on my Mac through Parallels.

I then downloaded a USB port sniffer, and watched the messages merrily going to and fro between the web cam and the USB port. Much more on USB in Jan Axelson’s books and on her web site.

Next steps: Get the proper webcam, and try modifying the PTZ program myself to see if I can change the parameters. Oh, and maybe get a proper Windows development system.

By the way, the Logitech support forum has support for Linux and Solaris.

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