Dell’s wire-free webcam could one day eradicate Zoom side-eye

Dell’s vision for the future of webcams, the Concept Pari, isn’t the kind that stays glued to the same spot on top of your monitor — it’s one that offers a lot more mobility. Ahead of CES, the company showed off the webcam alongside its ultra-repairable Luna laptop concept. The Concept Pari doesn’t just cut the wire — it adds magnets that would theoretically make it easier to place anywhere on your screen, which means instead of automatically giving people side-eye on Zoom calls, you could finally make some eye contact.

At first glance, the Concept Pari looks like the typical webcam that sits atop your monitor. However, Dell made it so that you can remove the cylindrical camera housing from its dock (which also doubles as a USB-C wireless charging station, letting you carry around the 1oz camera in your hand). The camera itself shoots in 1080p, has a built-in mic, and because it’s wireless, is connected to Wi-Fi. Dell also notes that it comes with a vertical indicator light, helping you maintain alignment as you use the camera freehandedly.

What might be neater than its wire-free housing is that if you’re tired of staring into the face of a soulless webcam during virtual meetings, the Concept Pari comes with a magnetic backing that allows you to stick the camera anywhere on your monitor (hopefully without affecting the display). Place the camera just above the head of the person you’re talking with, and you should be able to comfortably maintain eye contact while actually looking at the person on your screen.

Drew Tosh, a design strategist at Dell, told The Verge that the concept cam works with displays that are “modified.” In other words, this might mean that the Pari can only be stuck on specific Dell-made monitors that are also magnetic (at least for the time being). Tosh also noted that Dell has “explored various magnet solutions” and found “no evidence of damage” when using the webcam on its displays.

When you’re done with a meeting, you can reverse the camera in its dock so that it’s facing away from you, offering additional privacy when the camera’s not in use. Dell says it will still charge when it’s in this position. Although the webcam isn’t for sale just yet, and very well may never be, it’s a concept that doesn’t seem too unrealistic to see a lot of people adopting.