Guess what? The original selfie stick launched in 1980s (and it had a ridiculous name)

Although you might think the selfie stick has been around for only a couple of years, a Japanese guy by the name of Hiroshi Ueda actually invented the device more than 30 years ago.

A recent BBC report explained how Ueda, a former employee of camera company Minolta, created his “telescopic extender stick” so he could take shots of himself and his family using his film camera. The idea came to him when, during a vacation with his wife in France, a kid ran off with his camera after he’d asked the child to take their picture.

Surefire hit?

Convinced that his selfie stick would become a hit with holiday snappers, Ueda submitted the design to the U.S. patent office in 1983, which published it two years later.

Dug out by PetaPixel, the patent describes a familiar-sounding “telescopic extender for supporting a compact camera,” and details its components as “a head member to be attached to the camera, a grip to be held and a telescopic rod member connecting the head member to the grip.”

In case there’s any doubt that the patent is indeed describing what appears to be the first ever selfie stick, it adds, “The grip can accommodate therein the telescopic rod when the telescopic rod is completely collapsed.”

The main difference between Ueda’s extendable stick and its modern-day counterpart is down to the state of the technology available at the time. Film cameras, unlike today’s smartphones, had no way of showing selfie shooters like Ueda what kind of picture he was taking, so to overcome the issue, one of the designs included a camera with a small mirror on the front, close to the lens.

However, when Minolta launched the device in Japan in the 80s, Ueda’s invention failed to catch on with camera owners, although that didn’t stop him using it to grab selfies with his family during vacations – check out the one below taken by Hiroshi with his brand new telescopic pole.

The patent for the stick expired in 2003, four years before the iPhone launched the smartphone market and a good 10 years before the selfie stick started to show up at tourist sites around the world. Now, of course, it’s hard to avoid the contraption. Indeed, it’s now become so popular that places like galleries and sports stadiums have started imposing bans, fearing accidental injuries or damage to artifacts.

As for Ueda, he doesn’t sound bitter about the failure of his design and the way things have turned out for the selfie stick. “My idea came too early, but that’s just one of those things,” he told the BBC. “We call it a 3am invention – it arrived too early.”

Movies & TV

Us review: Jordan Peele makes seeing double singularly terrifying

Jordan Peele follows up his Oscar-winning 2017 thriller Get Out with a more straightforward horror film in Us, but the film's blunt terror succeeds thanks to fantastic performances from the cast and clever storytelling.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Deadwood, John Wick 3, Shazam, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for John Wick: Chapter 3, Deadwood, Shazam!, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Movies & TV

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Everything we know so far

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.

Sony’s latest sensor is stacked, backlit, and equipped with a global shutter

Say this five times fast: Backlit, stacked, global shutter sensor. Sony managed to cram all three technologies into one sensor. The result is a high-speed sensor with a higher resolution without sacrificing low-light quality.
Product Review

What do you do with 187 megapixels? The Lumix S1R is glorious overkill

The Lumix S1R is one of the most capable cameras ever made, from its robust build to extensive feature set. But its key feature, a 187MP high resolution mode, is something few customers will have use for.

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

The Tacs Nato-Lens is a watch for those who live life through a camera lens

Not all watches have to be round, or connect to your phone. The Tacs Nato-Lens is a stylish piece of wristwear with a design inspired by classic SLR cameras, making it a geeky timepiece for the camera and watch fan.

Photography News: Meet the beer that processes film and the first pinhole zoom

Who knew the photography world need film-processing beer and a zooming pinhole lens? Find them among the oddities announced in this week's photography news. SuperEight is a beer with the acidity and Vitamin C ideal for developing film.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Sony a9 camera gets even better as new firmware brings A.I.-powered autofocus

The speedy Sony a9 is a download away from more accurate autofocus. New firmware version 5.0 for the Sony a9 brings artificially intelligent autofocus modes to the action-oriented camera, as well as a boost to image quality with updated…