Meet Wayne Fromm, Canadian inventor of the 'selfie stick'
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, March 10, 2015 10:12AM EDT
It's a simple device that's made worldwide headlines, attracting fans as well as backlash as its popularity spreads. But many photo lovers may not know that the first "selfie stick" was patented by a Canadian 10 years ago, long before the selfie boom.
Wayne Fromm told CTV's Canada AM that he came up with the idea to create a device to help take photos while he was on holiday with his daughter in Italy.
"We were on the Ponte Vecchio, and we were always exchanging our camera with a stranger, having them take our picture," he said. "We'd have to flag someone down, or one person would be in the picture and the other would be taking the picture. So that's when I had the inspiration for developing this."
Fromm invented his Quik Pod, a hand-held telescopic monopod, in 2004, and was granted a patent for it the next year.
He admits that, while people have been mounting cameras on poles for years, and similar products have been patented in Japan in the 1980s, his invention was given the "novel device" label in 2005.
Fromm said, like all of his other inventions, his daughter was his primary inspiration.
Over the years, he has successfully patented toys designed to pique his daughter's interest.
"As she grew older, my inventions kept up with her and changed," Fromm said.
While consumers can now choose from a wide variety of selfie sticks, the inventor says his Quick Pod comes with unique features that the competitors don't have, including a quick release, built in mirror, and high-quality materials.
"This is the iPhone of selfie sticks," he said with a laugh.
The Quick Pod is now available for sale in more than 40 countries, including Canada.
"I'm very proud," Fromm said, noting that Anderson Cooper, Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres have all used the Quick Pod.
But as the stick has grown in popularity it has also attracted some backlash. Last week the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., joined a growing list of galleries and museums banning selfie sticks.
The museum said the measure was to protect visitors and objects. "We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences – and leave the selfie sticks in their bags," it said in a statement.
Other museums that have recently banned the ubiquitous sticks include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Fromm said that while unfortunate, he understands why such institutions are prohibiting the sticks.
"It's a little unfortunate, but I guess people are infringing other people's privacy when they're taking pictures, or maybe they're getting to close to artwork, so it's one of the hazards," he said.