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How do I use my smart phone camera as a webcam in MATLAB?

Asked by Ashish Uthama on 20 Jul 2011
Latest activity Answered by amro on 10 May 2014

I have an smartphone device with a camera. I would like to obtain and process this image data in MATLAB.

(Specifically, I have an Android device).

1 Comment

Sarah Mahmood on 3 Jun 2013

is there any other solution that make matlab still running in the foreground, I tried this method yet it require the ip cam to run in the foreground i need matlab to be still running for later image processing. Also is it possible to access the smart phone camera using matlab mobile Specifically to iphone camera ?

Ashish Uthama


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3 Answers

Answer by Ashish Uthama on 20 Jul 2011
Accepted answer

The general solution would need two parts, one to broadcast the data from the device and another part to read this data into MATLAB.

A specific solution for Android:

  • Install the free IP Webcam app. (Make sure you read the corresponding permissions and understand any security issues therein)
  • Open the app, set the desired resolution (will impact the speed!)
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap on 'Start Server'
  • In the camera preview window, note the url at the bottom of the screen.
  • Open MATLAB and use this code snippet to obtain a live preview window. Note that this uses JPG files for discrete frames, which is probably not the fastest way. The app can stream the video and/or audio in multiple ways.
url = 'http://<ip address>/shot.jpg';
ss  = imread(url);
fh = image(ss);
    ss  = imread(url);


(If you find faster ways/solutions for other devices, post it here!)


ibrahim on 9 Mar 2013

hi, i want to know that can we change this rgb image into grayscale or binary image. i have tried but failed. so any suggestion plz

Walter Roberson on 9 Mar 2013
set(fh, 'CData', rgb2gra(ss));

And be sure that you have done


after the original image() call.

Joshua on 22 Jul 2013

I'm using a GoPro HD camera which has a URL via an Ambarella video player as This is the network address to play in a VLC player. I want to use Matlab for further processing options.

What's the purpose of the .jpg string of the url input? I use the same code as above for the iPhone and Android with the '.jpg' extension on my URL and get the error message...

Error using imread (line 331) Can't read URL "".

Current input in command window is url = ''; ss = imread(url); fh = image(ss);

while(1) ss = imread(url); set(fh,'CData',ss); drawnow; end

Ashish Uthama
Answer by Chirag Gupta on 20 Jul 2011

With the iPhone, using the App suggested by Ashish above (IP Cam), you can achieve the same pretty easily! The code is exactly the same:

url = 'http://<ipaddress>:8020/image.jpg';
ss  = imread(url);
fh = image(ss);
    ss  = imread(url);


Francisco Canto on 4 Mar 2012

Hi, Excuse me for my bad English. I'm using IP webcam for Android.I used
url = '';
ss = imread(url);
fh = image(ss);
The video is excellent but my problem is that I want to use a bounding box to sellect a red object in the video. I don't know if it's possible. Can anyone help me?thanks

Ashish Uthama on 21 Mar 2012

Francisco, you'll get a better answer if you ask this as a new question:

(also look at for example)

Joshua on 22 Jul 2013

is the IP address for the android webcam streaming live video or simply a single image or series of saved images?

Chirag Gupta
Answer by amro on 10 May 2014
    hVideoIn = vision.VideoPlayer('Name', 'Final Video');



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