The age of the selfie is upon us.
To mark the era came the app Hamish McKenzie deemed a “piece of crap,” aptly called Selfie. Then arrived Frontback, wildly popular in the span of a month. Then the Pope took a selfie, which got the Internet all sorts of excited. This baby took a selfie which was even better. Fashion designers started citing Instagram and the selfie resurgence as inspiration for their latest lines. And today, hopefully killing the trend as it does for everything the world ever loved (see: “Gangam Style” and “Harlem Shake”), “The Today Show” launched a #selfie twitter campaign.
Despite the delude of self-i-fied applications, no one has solved the biggest selfie pain point: How to take a picture of yourself without your arm in it? It’s like the modern Greek tragedy. How many duck faces have graced the world due to the awkward positioning of the one armed selfie? Even the Pope couldn’t help but duck face it up whilst selfy-ing.
It’s not for lack of trying. There’s the ubiquitous mirror shot, where the camera phone plays a starring role. Some genius have attached poles to their cameras. Or for the upscale, adventurous photogs among us, there’s always a $300 GoPro selfie.
But these options aren’t enough, or at least, so says the makers of Podo. Podo is a tiny, classy little camera that can stick to any surface and be viewed live from a corresponding phone app. It fits in the palm of your hand and uses so-called gecko skin adhesive, which relies on hundreds of tiny holes in plastic to suck onto walls, whether carpet covered, wooden, or concrete. It communicates with the phone via bluetooth, so posers can see how they look in the shot before it snaps.
The founders of Podo are one of three winners chosen out of 35 startups at Plug and Play’s latest demo day. Jae Hoon Choi, Edmond Lee, and Sam Pullman are fresh-faced, bright eyed, recent Berkeley grads who entered Plug and Play’s startup camp accelerator with a totally different idea — for an app where consumers would get paid to watch ads. Apparently it’s all the rage in Asia.
But while they were developing the ad product, they wanted to take a lot of pictures (read: team selfies) to document the process, and realized it’s a huge pain in the ass. One quick pivot later and Podo was on its way to bootstrapping up the food chain. They’ve built a working prototype, are completing the mobile app, and plan to launch a Kickstarter at the end of October to gage interest. They haven’t picked a price yet, but say it will be under $100, hopefully around $79.
Choi and Lee see the camera as more than just a selfie tool for the masses. “There’s the trend of life logging, little cameras you slip to your ears and clothes and it records everything,” Lee says. “But pictures are more personal and contextual when you’re in them, so this is a better life logging.”
There’s a question about how much people care about good selfies though. Do they care enough to carry around the tiny cameras for use at a moment’s notice? Lee says yes. The depths of our narcissism are truly that great. “After we came up with the idea, my Dad called me from the airport to say he saw a couple taking a selfie with a GoPro,” Lee says. “So we knew we should get this product in the market fast.”
[Image courtesy TheNickster]