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Digital picture frames give way to smart frames: Aura curates your best photos

The digital picture frame’s poor resolution, bulky cords, and constant uploads sent it to the realm of technology’s afterthoughts, but could a smart frame with instant updates, smart curation, and sharing capabilities bring this dated decor tech out of the gadget graveyard? Aura thinks so.

Aura is, yes, a digital picture frame, but the tech inside the 8 x 10-inch border indicates that “smart frame” might be a better title. Wi-Fi allows the Aura to automatically upload the photos that you shoot with your smartphone — but few people probably want to share every single blurry or repeated image on their phone. That’s where Aura is really different.

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Aura uses a number of different methods to create photo collections automatically. Facial detection determines who you like to take pictures of the most. The Aura app will also avoid low contrast images, photos that are blurry, and duplicate photos, if you happen to favor burst mode. And to avoid some potentially embarrassing situations, the software also detects nudity and keeps it off your walls.

Besides picking the best shoots from your camera roll, the Aura redefines photo sharing — multiple users can send images to the frame, which means grandparents who aren’t social media savvy can easily see new images of their growing brood by connecting family smartphones together. Aura says only those invited to use the frame have the ability to add images.

The Aura also does away with the traditional low quality screen, using a retina display with auto dimming, so the screen’s intensity matches the time of day. The frame’s built-in motion sensor will also turn the frame off when no one is in the room to conserve energy.

The Aura appears to have some pretty impressive tech inside — but the smart frame also comes with a not-so-pretty price tag: $399. The frame comes with both a tabletop stand and a wall mount, though the power cord could be an issue with the latter.