Document cameras were developed to meet an increased demand for the ability to project and present original documents, plans, drawings and objects directly, rather than necessitating the prior preparation, that would be required for their use as part of an overhead projector based presentation. The first Visualizer/document camera were developed by the companies WolfVision and Elmo and were launched at the Photokina Trade Fair in 1988.
The widespread use of computers, projectors, and popular presentation programs such as Microsoft Powerpoint in meeting rooms, meant that overhead projectors became less frequently used. Document cameras continue to provide a convenient and flexible way of allowing documents, books or slides to be spontaneously displayed during presentations as required.
The first attempts and prototypes were mostly simple video cameras on a copy stand. During the mid 1970's these were assembled and equipped with additional lighting to ensure that they were able to operate in darkened rooms, and also to provide a consistent quality of projected image. The technology of video cameras during this time, was a key factor in the development of document camera systems. Document cameras have also frequently benefited from developments in other industries, which also facilitated significant advances in the field of document camera technology. A good example of this is the technology used in photographic equipment, which has contributed much to the development of the document camera as a high quality presentation tool.
At the end of the 1990s progressive scan cameras were introduced. Many visualizers available on the market today are capable of at least 30 frames per second output, which ensures high quality imaging and smoothness of motion in all resolutions and aspect ratios.
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