During the Photography Show 2018 that took place in Bermingham recently, Canon showcased for the first time (outside of Japan) a concept little AI based camera designed to automatically take pictures of “interesting” events happening around it.
So far the AI revolution seems to skip camera manufacturers (we are excluding smartphones here which actually do seem keen on adopting the technology). This is the first time that a camera manufacturer has demonstrated an interest in adopting AI and integrating it in a meaningful way into a product.
The concept camera Canon demonstrated has no name and no real specifications (this seems to be more of a lab/prototype model than a real product anyway) but it looks like a different take on the basic idea that has been already demonstrated in actual commercial products especially in the security sector (the Nest Cam IQ is a good example of this trend). By using advanced algorithms these modern camera try to determine the right moment to take a picture or record a video (in the case of a security camera it might be when a potential intruder gets close to the front door while in the case of the Canon camera it could be when some interesting event happens during a party).
The design of the prototype is a bit bizarre – it looks more like a mini PTZ security camera (a camera with a motor which can move in all directions) than a regular camera. It seems that Canon is still trying to determine at this stage what might be the right way to mount and use this technology. It came up with several connecting options including the bizarre idea of mounting the camera on your neck (sort of a motorized action camera that will only work when it detects specific events).
It is very hard to judge this project at this stage (it is a concept after all and many concepts never make it to full production products, however it is nice to know that Canon is at least aware of the AI revolution and trying to make something in this field that is photography related – that is still more than what we have seen from other manufacturers until now.