How to take the perfect selfie just got a lot more scientific using a new app

2 Aug 2017

Image: Ann Haritonenko/Shutterstock

In the never-ending quest to take the perfect selfie, a new smart algorithm-powered app might be the best solution.

A team of researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada believe they have curated an app that can finally allow people to take the perfect selfie.

Presenting their findings to a conference in Scotland recently, computer scientists Dan Vogel and Qifan Li revealed a smartphone app powered by an algorithm that directs the user where to position the camera, allowing them to take the best shot possible.

Future Human

To achieve this, the pair acquired 3D digital scans of people, and then took hundreds of ‘virtual selfies’ by writing code to control a virtual smartphone camera and computer-generated lighting.

This allowed them to explore different composition principles, including lighting direction, face position and face size.

It was then put to the public to crowdsource responses on which of the virtual selfie photos they felt were best, before mathematically modelling votes to develop an algorithm that can guide people to take the best selfie.

‘Just the beginning of what is possible’

“Selfies have increasingly become a normal way for people to express themselves and their experiences – only, not all selfies are created equal,” Vogel said.

“Unlike other apps that enhance a photo after you take it, this system gives direction, meaning the user is actually learning why their photo will be better.”

So, what were the fruits of this labour?

Based on reviews of the app online, the result showed a 26pc improvement in the happiness of people with their selfies.

“This is just the beginning of what is possible,” said Vogel. “We can expand the variables to include variables aspects such as hairstyle, types of smile or even the outfit you wear.”

“When it comes to teaching people to take better selfies, the sky’s the limit.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic