The selfie-stick has become such a fixture in modern society that it came to dominate CES 2015, even though it is not remotely new technology.
Although some of us may decry the selfie stick as just another way of scratching our narcissistic itch, there can be no denying that whoever invented it had a seriously good idea. However the true source of its invention is a point of legal contention.
Selfie stick: Who was first?
First off, Toronto-based inventor Wayne Fromm is the holder of US patent #7,684,694, which pertains to an Apparatus for supporting a camera and method for using the apparatus. Fromm apparently wants to litigate against those who have ripped off his patented idea, but the problem is that you cannot prosecute those responsible for products which use the same general concept.
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Fromm was not the only person to think of the idea, as a subsequent patent for a similar device shows. What’s more, as far back as 1988 a patent was filed for a portable boom which would allow directors to shoot from above while watching on a separate monitor.
An earlier version of a selfie stick has been spotted in a 1995 magazine of “useless Japanese inventions,” and the BBC found a 90-year-old photo in which what appears to be a selfie stick can be observed. This makes it incredibly difficult for anyone to prove that they definitely invented the selfie stick.
The thinking behind our selfie obsession
There are various theories as to why we are so intrigued by the prospect of seeing ourselves from above, but the use of a selfie stick is refreshingly honest and uncomplicated. It allows for a simple interaction between our real world and our screen-based world, using a cheap and easy to use piece of kit.
The selfie stick deals with the issue of moving the real world to the internet through a blindingly simple, physical solution, which products such as Google Glass failed to do in a digital way. The huge explosion in popularity of the selfie stick can be taken as an affirmation of our love of simple solutions to complex problems.