Engineering 101

The Secret To Taking The Perfect Selfie

Smile, Say Cheese!

We all struggle to get the right angle with our selfies sometimes am I right? That is where the computer scientists at the University of Waterloo come to our rescue.

They have developed a smartphone app which can teach people the art of taking great selfies.

The secret lies within the app, there is an algorithm that directs the user where to position the camera – so they take the best possible shot!

Dan Vogel, Professor of computer science at Waterloo: “Selfie’s have increasingly become a normal way for people to express themselves and their experiences, only not all selfies are created equal.”

“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.”

In developing the algorithm, Vogel and Qifan Li, bought 3D digital scans of ‘average’ looking people.

They 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.

With an online crowdsourcing service, the researchers got thousands of people to vote which one of the virtual selfie photos they felt were best.

After this they mathematically modeled the patterns of votes to develop an algorithm that can guide people to take the best selfie.


Using a standard camera app and the app powered by the special algorithm, they then had real people take selfies.

With more online ratings, they discovered a 26% improvement in selfies taken with Waterloo’s app.

“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.”

Vogel and Li recently presented the work in Edinburgh, Scotland at the 2017 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems.

Source Tech Xplore

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