If you've been wondering what wonderful devices will be springing up to make use of the soon-to-be-released USB 3.0 specification, how does a true high-definition webcam sound?

The impressive creation by industrial camera specialist Point Grey Research - due, according to Electronista, for unveiling at the Intel Developer Conference later this week - features a Sony three megapixel CMOS sensor and a USB 3.0 connector which, if the device supports the standard's SuperSpeed abilities, is capable of transferring at speeds of up to 4.8Gb/s.

While that might seem like overkill for a webcam, Point Grey's latest makes full use of the available bandwidth by transferring full uncompressed 1080p high-definition video to the host - meaning the computer itself can work on compression and signal analysis, potentially leading to both higher quality video and to more accurate facial recognition and other analytical processes. The lack of compression hardware in the device also keeps the camera's dimensions suitably svelte, at a size which - impressive lens aside - wouldn't seem out of the ordinary in a traditional VGA webcam.

While USB 3.0 is likely to find the most use in external storage devices - especially the increasingly fast SSD market, where its extremely high bandwidth will keep things whizzing along nicely - it's good to see companies thinking of alternative uses for all that bandwidth. Now all we need is for some manufacturers to release USB 3.0-enabled motherboards - or PCI Express add-in cards - at a sensible price.

Can you think of any other external devices - aside from HD cameras and storage - that could benefit from USB 3.0's impressive 4.8Gb/s bandwidth, or is that sort of speed overkill for anything else? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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