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 the 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.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would provide federal funding to enhance education in the manufacturing space. The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2015 would create a program within the U.S. Commerce Department to select 25 “Manufacturing Universities.” Designated schools would receive $5 million per year for four years to meet specific goals related to engineering programs, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, job training, and manufacturing entrepreneurship.
“As a small business owner who worked in manufacturing for over 35 years, I understand the difficulty in training and finding qualified manufacturing workers,” stated Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York. “To expand manufacturing in the United States, we need to have a workforce capable of filling these skilled jobs.”
“If we want businesses to expand and grow our economy, we need to make sure our workforce has the skills and training to match,” said Senator Gillibrand, D-New York. “No job should go unfilled and no company’s expansion should ever be inhibited because there aren’t enough trained workers. This legislation will equip more students with the advanced manufacturing skills and experience necessary to meet growing demand and ensure our manufacturing remains innovative and globally competitive.”
The director of the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology would lead the charge in overseeing the program. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced similar legislation during the previous session of Congress, but the measure failed to advance through the Senate’s education committee.
Amidst a swarm of unfavorable publicity surrounding their manufacturing practices, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook announces plans to invest nearly $100 million to move a portion of Mac computer production back to the United States. Apple shifted a majority of its production to Asia beginning in the 1990s due to the cheap labor costs and the scale of operations available in factories. Scrutiny reached a fever pitch for this practice once working conditions in a contracted manufacturing plant were revealed.
It remains unclear which US manufacturers will be utilized for fabrication, and which processes will be performed on US soil. An Apple official confirmed that the scope of the plan includes more than just assembling parts that were produced elsewhere.
While the move will provide a much-needed boost to the manufacturing industry in the United States, it will continue to fuel the debate on the United States’ ability to remain a hub for manufacturing in the world.