5 Technologies for the Selfie-Obsessed

Selfie Sombrero
This "selfie sombrero" was developed by tech company Acer and fashion designer Christian Cowan-Sanluis. (Image credit: Acer/Facebook)

Taking a great selfie requires two necessary elements: a flattering facial pose and state-of-the-art technology.

That first part is something you'll have to work out on your own, but when it comes to the tech side of the selfie equation, device manufacturers have you covered.

From smartphones designed with self-portraits in mind to photo-snapping sombreros, here are five technologies that can help you take better selfies:

The Selfie Sombrero

Collaboratively designed by Taiwanese tech company Acer and designer Christian Cowan-Sanluis — the same guy who masterminded Lady Gaga's pink and glittery tuxedo — the selfie sombrero is a tongue-in-cheek salute to the modern self-portrait. [Photo Future: 7 High-Tech Ways to Share Photos]

Attached to the brim of this giant hat is a case just the right size for Acer's newest tablet, the Iconia A1-840. The tablet spins a full 360-degrees around the hat, enabling whoever is wearing the contraption to take a selfie from any angle.

Unfortunately for fashion forward selfie lovers, the hat was made as a promotional item and isn't available in stores. However, there are several other products you can purchase online that can aid you in your quest for the perfect selfie. Take, for example, the selfie brush, which not only helps you hold your phone out more comfortably when snapping a picture of yourself, but also ensures that you look perfectly coiffed in every pic.

More ubiquitous, but also less multi-purpose, is the selfie stick, which is exactly what it sounds like. The gadget is an extendable arm that lets you hold your camera further away from your body when snapping a shot. It's particularly useful for people who like taking group selfies or if you want to take a selfie in front of a scenic backdrop.


What happens when the selfie fad meets the drone craze? The drone selfie, or dronie. This high-tech trend was spearheaded by Tourism New Zealand, which has taken to using its drones to snap selfies of visitors at six different tourist attractions around the country.  

After zooming in on a tourist's face, the New Zealand drones fly a bit further away from their subjects, capturing eight seconds of scenic HD video footage in the process. The footage is sent to tourists via text or email, where it can then be shared through social media. Those looking for proof of the trend need only search Twitter for the hashtag #NZdronie.

But you don't have to be an official tourism agency to get a camera-carrying drone of your own. The Phantom 2 Vision+ drone used by Tourism New Zealand is manufactured by the tech company DJI and retails for about $1,200.

Lens-style cameras

Last year, selfie lovers everywhere rejoiced when Sony started selling its smartphone-attachable lens-style cameras. These circular contraptions are fully functioning cameras that can either be attached to a smartphone for greater zooming capabilities or, for the selfie-obsessed, can be held at arms length to snap the perfect portrait. [Photos: Best Wild Animal Selfies]

Because these devices sync up with your smartphone, you don't have to do any fancy finger work while holding the camera at arms length. You simply press a button on your phone (which is in your un-extended hand) and the camera snaps your selfie.

A similar idea has been put to work in Casio's new EX-FR10 camera, which uses Bluetooth technology to sync its detachable camera lens to a tiny control unit. As with Sony's lens cameras, the photographer can hold the lens with one extended hand while pressing a button on the control unit in their other hand to take a picture.

Selfie shine

Every photographer knows that proper lighting is the key to an attractive photo. And selfie-takers, who may practice their art in bathrooms, cars, bars and other dimly lit places, also understand the importance of illuminating a subject. For these amateur photographers, LuMee is a cost-effective solution to bad lighting.

LuMee is a smartphone case embedded with LED lights that can be turned on whenever the urge to take your own picture hits you. The device resembles a tiny dressing room mirror and can hold a charge at full brightness for up to two hours. The case is so far only available for Apple's iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s smartphones, but the company says it's working on illuminated cases for Samsung Galaxy phones, as well as the iPad and other tablets.

LuMee can also shine a little light on dim Skype or FaceTime chats on your smartphone. And according to the company's website, it's also a great tool to have when applying makeup, a feature that some selfie-takers may appreciate.

Next-generation selfie phones

Some people may spend $650 on the new iPhone 6 for its impressive screen size or faster processor, but if you're a selfie aficionado, then you're probably shelling out the bucks for the phone's new camera features. The newest iPhone comes equipped with what Apple calls "burst mode," a feature that lets users take up to ten pictures per second with one tap of the screen. And to facilitate marathon selfie sessions, burst mode is available on the front as well as the back camera.

Apart from being able to take 100 photos in ten seconds, the iPhone 6 also features a redesigned front camera, the "FaceTime HD camera," which captures 81 percent more light than previous versions of the phone and has improved face detection, according to Apple.

But Apple isn't the only company with a so-called selfie smartphone. In fact, the tech giant is a little late to the game. Earlier this year, HTC introduced its One Mini 2, a smartphone with a 5-megapixel front camera, as well as a self-timer and "touch up" feature for editing out blemishes and red eyes. Needless to say, the phone was designed with selfie shooters in mind. Other leaders in the smartphone space, including Samsung and Acer, also introduced devices with selfie-friendly features earlier this year.

Follow Elizabeth Palermo @techEpalermo. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth is a former Live Science associate editor and current director of audience development at the Chamber of Commerce. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from George Washington University. Elizabeth has traveled throughout the Americas, studying political systems and indigenous cultures and teaching English to students of all ages.