GoPro has registered a patent for tech that would allow its action cameras to detect gestures like a thumbs-up or a certain number of raised fingers, and assign the recorded activity a rating accordingly. For example, if you nail a tough move, you could raise a thumb to the camera, and it would acknowledge your prowess by categorizing the footage in a particular way.
That's just one potential use of the system described in patent application US 11335095 B1 (available via the US Patents and Trademarks Office ), which details a system for identifying the objects captured in GoPro camera recordings, and then processing that data using AI and machine learning.
Newer GoPro cameras already have facial recognition, but the patent describes how next-gen models could do so much more. For example, they may be able to spot a landmark in a photo or video (such as a particularly awesome boulder for climbing), then identify it again in a different shot and figure out that it's the same location viewed from a different angle. The pair of images or video clips could even come from two separate cameras.
The camera might even be able to work out what's in a dark image (shot in a cave, for example, or with the lens accidentally covered) by analyzing the accompanying sound.
A big thumbs up
Alternatively, the camera might be able to identify a person's hand in the picture, and detect the number of fingers they're holding up. This would let you give a rating to a particular recording between one and five, which could then be logged alongside the footage in the camera.
"For example, the user may show a thumbs up, show different numbers of fingers, smile, change attitude, make certain motion/pose, hold up a sign with keywords, and/or make other visual indications that are captured within the visual content to convey information characterizing the depiction captured within the visual content," the patent application says.
"The depiction of the user's visual indication within the visual content may be assessed to characterize the visual content without assessment of the visual content."
An action camera like a GoPro is one of the best pieces of winter sports and hiking technology you can own, and it looks like they could soon get even better and, crucially for challenging sports and weather conditions, easier to use.
Another application (US 11308597 B1) describes how a future GoPro camera could tell if you've got your hand over the lens, and alert you to move your clumsy fingers before they spoil the perfect shot. It could do this by looking for large patches of pixels towards the edge of the image that match a human skin color, together with the red light that's reflected by the blood vessels in your hand at close range.
A patent application doesn't guarantee that this tech will make its way into a commercially available camera, but it would be an excellent addition that would make capturing thrilling moments easier than ever.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.