I once had an instructor who could see thermals against the sky. His vision was acute enough, or developed to be, that he could perceive the shimmer that rising heat produces, distorting the sky behind, or if he was a loft, presumably against the more solid scenery.
Birds on average have about 10 times the number of receptors in their eyes, thus they must see the shimmer 10 times better than the best trained human.
It will be probably possible to produce an AI based detection system designed on that premise, to compare the shimmer of moving air and when it is consistently vertical, to present is on a screen.
Purists would say that is cheating. I'd say, using airplanes is already cheating. Trying flapping your arms instead. We can't tell heights well with our eyes, we can't measure our air-speed, and without a vario most of us would have very short flights. So, using yet another instrument to help us "see" is not any more a copout than wings, rudders and stabilizers.
Such instruments can be disallowed in purist competitions, along with the vario, the altimeter and the ASI, in addition to air-tow, winch, etc.