Our obsession with selfies — we take millions of them a day — is finally generating something useful: innovation.
World, meet the automated selfie stick. It extends, or telescopes, on its own, has a pair of beauty lights that extend from the back of the iPhone holder and even fans that fold out to blow your hair back for that perfect, wind-swept look.
It’s the craziest and most impractical selfie stick ever. It’s also, sadly, not available for purchase.
Created by Thinkmodo — the madcap hacker/video-makers/marketers that brought you Devil Baby and Super Strong Meter Maid Lifting Taxi — the automated selfie stick is a working gadget, but there are only two (one is a backup) and they were built to promote the upcoming season of Lifetime’s Unreal.
Unreal is a fictional, behind-the-scenes look at the making of a The Bachelor-like show. It’s a funny but trenchant look at manufactured reality.
"Lifetime wanted something that communicated self-image manipulation," said Thinkmodo co-founder Michael Krivicka, who edited and directed the above video.
Krivicka, Thinkmodo co-founder James Percelay and producer Sam Pezzullo came up with the idea of a sort of next-gen selfie stick to help market the show, which premieres on June 6.
Lifetime loved the concept, said Pezzullo.
Not your ordinary selfie stick
Thinkmodo spent three months building the device, which features a large black and red handle that houses the wiring, motors and batteries necessary to auto-extend the stick, and the phone holder that houses the lights and fans. There’s even a second battery on the back of the phone dock to power the beauty lights and the motors that extend them and the fans. Did I mention this is a heavy selfie stick?
"It’s a little bit heavier than a regular selfie stick, but did you see the features?" said Miami-based actress Noa Lindberg who is featured in the video. "Every time they add a feature, it gets heavier, but it’s totally worth it."
Lindberg said she didn’t need to be trained on how to use the sophisticated selfie stick. There’s a clearly labeled button for each main feature.
"All the parts are custom-made," said Krivicka. "The fans were designed from scratch."
In the video, Lindberg sidles up to other selfie-takers who are clearly stunned when she whips out the automated stick, which starts extending with a press of a button. "Generally, they said, 'Oh my god, it’s so amazing, where can I get it?'"
How it works
Like a regular selfie stick, this one connects to your phone via Bluetooth (iPhone only) and the photos in the video were actually shot using it. Even the fans work, though Thinkmodo admits to using a little artistic license in the shoot.
"The fans are strong enough to blow hair, but like in any commercial, we might have added some wind effect to enhance it."
Lindberg, who is currently shooting a vampire movie called The Soiree, said she has a favorite automated selfie stick feature. "[It] definitely is the lights. It’s just fantastic. It’s like a to-go studio," she said.
Unlike some of their previous video outings, this wasn’t a prank and Thinkmodo didn’t use hidden cameras. Even so, during the two-day shoot, "when the boom extended, crowds gathered quite fast," said Krivicka. They all wanted to know where they could buy it.
Which is nowhere.
Thinkmodo has no plans to mass produce the stick.
"We hate to see an awesome idea like this going to waste," said Krivicka. "If there was enough demand, we’d go back to Lifetime, put our heads together and see what we can do with this."
But would anyone really want it? The handle looks huge and is quite heavy. Plus, we don’t even know how much it would cost. Thinkmodo refused to tell me how much they spent (and Lifetime paid) to build it.
If they ever did commercialize the Automated Selfie Stick, Lindberg said she would buy it, and Krivicka believes there is at least one other virtually guaranteed customer. "We think it’s something Kim Kardashian would love to get it for Christmas."