Meet Sony’s upcoming biometric lifelog

In an industry where product leaks are a practically weekly occurrence, the fact that Sony managed to keep a lid on the features of its upcoming LifeLog Camera for nearly two years since the initial prototype was revealed to the public constitutes quite a feat. But regulatory disclosure requirements catch up to even the most secretive of development projects. The company’s radio-silence was broken a few days ago by the publication of a patent filing that reveals exactly what sets the wearable recorder apart from the pack.

The LifeLog Camera is equipped with sensors for monitoring the user’s pulse and movements that are meant not to perform continuous activity tracking like most other such setups but rather to detect sudden changes. The onboard software is configured to pay particularly close attention to instances where multiple measurements jump at the same time, a reliable indicator of the sudden bursts of action that are often most worthy of recording. A photo can thus be automatically taken when, for instance, a runner’s heart rate and speed increase ahead of the finish line, or during an important turn in a swimming contest.

The ability of the LifeLog Camera to decide by itself when to record can be a major convenience in such situations, which more often than not happen outdoors, where the default continuous shooting mode Sony previewed during its prototype demonstration two years ago wouldn’t always be up to task. The problem stems from the fact that shooting intervals have to be set in advance, a requirement that effectively asks the user to choose between taking hundreds of unnecessary pictures and greatly shorten the device’s battery life in the process or skip over potentially just as many valuable moments.

Sony’s intelligent recording software eliminates that trade-off while also improving storage utilization, removing the need to individually sift through and delete hundreds of redundant images after every photography session. The functionality is poised to make the LifeLog Camera one of the most attractive devices of its kind in the market when it’s ready to enter mass production, which will probably happen sooner rather than later considering that development has been ongoing since at least early 2014. The closest opportunity for the company to announce a launch date is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month, where its competitors will also be present with their own new photography gadgets.

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