You might think that the “selfie stick” was invented a few years ago, but it turns out the original was designed over 30 years ago. Like so many inventors, Hiroshi Ueda from Japan, created a product to solve a problem.
While on vacation in Paris, he asked a youth to take a picture of his family at a famous monument, and the youth ran off with his camera instead. Ueda thought it would be great if he had a device he could attach to his camera to take his own pictures.
BBC News explains that his “telescopic extender stick” was an extendable stick with a tripod screw that was built for use with a new, small, camera. He added a mirror to the front of the camera so that photographers could frame the photo properly He was so convinced the selfie stick would be a hit, he applied for a US patent, and 2 years later it was approved.
The extender stick didn’t take off commercially, but Ueda continued to use it. His patent expired in 2003, about 4 years before the launch of the iPhone. Today selfie sticks are so prevalent that they are being banned in some public places for fear their use may result in property damage or injury.
Even still, Ueda has a good attitude about being ahead of the times. “My idea came too early, but that’s just one of those things,” he told the BBC. “We call it a 3 am invention…it arrived too early.”