Sega Dreameye
Image: Time Extension / Damien McFerran

After focusing on software for our first few CIBSunday posts, we've turned to hardware this week.

We take it for granted that we have a camera with us 24/7 these days, due to the fact that practically everyone owns a phone and almost every single phone sold has its own built-in camera – many of which are capable of taking DSLR-quality images with little in the way of user input. However, back when Sega launched the Dreamcast in 1998, even the notion of storing photos digitally was fresh and new, and your typical phone was completely camera-less and probably had a monochrome display.

It was into this world that Sega thrust the Dreameye, a digital camera accessory for the Dreamcast that was intended to leverage the console's online connection to allow users to send images to one another over the internet; it would also double as a webcam for live video calls.

Only released in Japan, the Dreameye's resolution is 320 by 240 pixels, so the images it spits out look rather primitive by modern standards. The unit is powered by AA batteries and comes with a microphone for chatting during video calls (the example we have here is brand-new, and the foam around the microphone has sadly turned to dust). Given that the Dreamcast's online features have long since been switched off, the Dreameye is a pretty redundant curiosity but one that Sega fans will no doubt want to pick up.

Sega Dreameye
Image: Time Extension / Damien McFerran