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Is it possible to connected a Webcam to two computers at the same time?

The webcam wouldn't be used by both at the same time.

What I'm trying to do is setup a webcam to take some photos, but if my PC is rebooted, the laptop that it's connected to would continue to take photos, then when my PC comes back up it would take over again.

Just not sure how I would go about plugging it into two computers at the same time. Is there a USB splitter of some sort that can be plugged into two computers to a single USB port I can plug the webcam into?

Edit: In response to @QuickSilver

USB Hub provides a single host to have multiple principles connected. I need a single principle connected to multiple hosts.

http://www.amazon.com/Premium-USB2-0-Automatic-Sharing-Switch/product-reviews/B001H91G4W/ref=dp_db_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

This device is more what I'm looking for, but I want it requires intervention in order to switch the host device.

This may actually solve what I want to do if I can programmatically switch the device. If the laptop notices the primarily PC is not accessible then it will take control, and when the primary PC is available it will re-take control.

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Why don't you just use a network connected camera? Mine (very cheap ones) can be "accessed" from many machines at once (I can see images from any PC or smartphones, and there's a Synology NAS that do motion detect and event recording) –  Axeman Jul 9 '12 at 6:55
    
@Axeman Good question :) I don't know enough about Webcams and all that. Can I use my existing camera as a network connected camera? –  Phill Jul 9 '12 at 6:58
    
...sort of... you can install something like webcamXP/7 (webcamxp.com/home.aspx) on the laptop, use it to take snapshots, and view the video streams from the PC with a web browser, connecting it to the laptop video server that WebcamXP creates. –  Axeman Jul 9 '12 at 7:15
    
@Axeman what about something like this: usbmax.com/GM-ASD-102_USB_2.0_Over_IP_Device_Server,Network_TCP-IP.‌​cfm basically I want to take photos out of my window every minute to do a time-lapse, but I don't want gaps if my laptop or PC are rebooted. I can automate the capturing of the photos, just can't figure out how to connect the webcam to both to have 1 host take over. –  Phill Jul 9 '12 at 7:18
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I doubt this can be done without some serious hassle. USB is not meant to be used this way. IMO go with a cheap networked camera instead. –  Nifle Jul 9 '12 at 8:00

1 Answer 1

You could attempt to use a special KVM switch to share the webcam, but an easier solution would be if you are willing to keep one of the machines on a server, you can use any USB webcam through a local network.

Yawcam an easy to use solution that will let you access your webcam through any web browser, over a home network. To use it simply install it and click on the http button on the main screen.

Yawcam main screen

To view your webcam on another computer, just type in http://192.168.1.128:8888/ in your favorite browser, where 192.168.1.128 is the IP address of the computer the webcam is set up on. 8888 is the default port, I believe, though you can always check/change this in the settings.

You can also setup various other settings such as a Time Lapse sequence, Motion detection etc. There are other alternatives to this software, I believe that some of these can be accomplished in VLC, though setting it up may be a little more involved.

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