A selfie stick is a monopod used to take selfie photographs by positioning a smartphone or camera beyond the normal range of the arm. The metal sticks are typically extensible, with a handle on one end and an adjustable clamp on the other end to hold a phone in place. Some have remote or Bluetooth controls, letting the user decide when to take the picture, and models designed for cameras have a mirror behind the viewscreen so that the shot can be lined up. In contrast to a monopod for stabilising a camera on the ground, a selfie stick's arm is thickest and strongest at the opposite end from the camera in order to provide better grip and balance when held aloft. Safety concerns and the inconvenience the product causes to others have resulted in them being banned at many venues, including all Disney Parks, both Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood.
Homemade selfie sticks could date back as early as 1925. A photo from that year shows a man taking a photograph of himself and his wife, with the aid of a long pole which is pointed towards the camera and out of frame. Amateur box cameras of the period would not have been able to capture a self-portrait in focus when held at arm's length, requiring photographers to use remote shutter devices such as cables or sticks.
A device which has been likened to the selfie stick appears in the 1969 Czechoslovak sci-fi film I Killed Einstein, Gentlemen. One character holds a silver stick in front of herself and another character, smiles at the end of the stick as it produces a camera flash, and immediately unfurls a printed photograph of the pair from the stick's handle.
The 1983 "Minolta Disc-7" camera had a convex mirror on its front to allow the composition of self-portraits, and its packaging showed the camera mounted on a stick while used for such a purpose. A "telescopic extender" for compact handheld cameras was patented in U.S. in 1983, and a Japanese selfie stick was featured in a 1995 book of "101 Un-Useless Japanese Inventions". Canadian inventor Wayne Fromm patented his Quik Pod in 2005 and becoming commercially available in the United States the following year. In 2012, Yeong-Ming Wang filed a patent for a "multi-axis omni-directional shooting extender" capable of holding a smartphone, which won a silver medal at the 2013 Concours Lepine. The term "selfie stick" did not become widely used until 2014. Extended forms of selfie sticks can hold laptop computers to take selfies from a webcam.
The selfie stick was listed in Time magazine's 25 best inventions of 2014. The selfie stick has been criticized for its association with the perceived narcissism and self-absorption of contemporary society, with commentators in 2015 dubbing the tool the "Narcisstick" or "Wand of Narcissus".
People attach their cell phone or camera to the end of the selfie stick, raise it in front of themselves and then make a sound or press a shutter button on the stick handle which is connected to the camera (usually using a port such as a headphone jack), or press a button on a wireless remote (often via Bluetooth), or use the camera's built-in timer to take a photo after a number of seconds have elapsed. The first two methods usually adapt the device's physical means of triggering the camera shutter such as the volume controls or the dedicated camera button of the device, which are replicated on headphones with on-cord controls, and are seen by the device as headphone devices.
The device gives more practical use in situations that require assistance for difficult photographs. It allows the user to take photographs in otherwise dangerous situations such as taking a photo over a cliff or from the door of an airplane. The device is sometimes used to take selfies that involve the photographer inside a moving vehicle.
Selfie sticks can be triggered by Bluetooth-linked mechanisms, or connections that use the audio jack. The Bluetooth remote shutter is compatible with Android 4.2.2 OS and above, and iOS 6.0 and above, whereas the audio jack shutter triggers are compatible with most smartphones. Some selfie sticks have telescoping capabilities that allow for greater length and wider shots.
Bans and restrictionsEdit
Despite the selfie stick being one of the most popular items among tourists, bans and restrictions on its use have been imposed across a range of public venues generally on the grounds of safety and inconvenience to others.
Several concert venues in Australia and the United Kingdom have banned the use of selfie sticks, along with some music festivals in the United States. Organisers have cited their role in the "illegal recording" of bands' sets, and the inconvenience and safety issues to fellow audience members. The sticks have been banned in some museums, galleries and historical sites because of concerns about possible damage to artworks and other objects.
Theme parks including Walt Disney World Resort, Six Flags and Universal Orlando and Hollywood have banned selfie sticks. The sticks have always been banned on rides at Disney World for safety reasons, but after a number of instances where rides had to be stopped because of a guest pulling out a selfie stick in mid-ride, such as incidents on California Screamin' and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Disney issued a park-wide ban on the accessories.
Selfie sticks have been banned from many sporting events both for their "nuisance value" and for interfering with other spectators' enjoyment or view. The Australia Tour Down Under banned the devices citing "harm to cyclists, officials and yourself". Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Football Club, bans "any object that could be used as a weapon or could compromise public safety", and regards selfie sticks as such an item.
In 2014, South Korea's radio management agency issued regulations, banning sale of unregistered selfie sticks that use Bluetooth technology, to trigger the camera, as any such device sold in South Korea is considered a "telecommunications device" and must be tested by and registered with the agency. In 2015, Apple banned them from a WWDC Developers Conference, though it didn't explicitly state why.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Selfie sticks.|
- "United States Patent #4,530,580 : Telescopic extender for supporting compact camera" (PDF). - July 23, 1985