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Distributed smart cameras (DSCs) are real-time distributed embedded systems that perform computer vision using multiple cameras. This new approach has emerged thanks to a confluence of simultaneous advances in four key disciplines: computer vision, image sensors, embedded computing, and sensor networks. Processing images in a network of distributed smart cameras introduces several complications. However, we believe that the problems DSCs solve are much more important than the challenges of designing and building a distributed video system. We argue that distributed smart cameras represent key components for future embedded computer vision systems and that smart cameras will become an enabling technology for many new applications. We summarize smart camera technology and applications, discuss current trends, and identify important research challenges.