They are this year’s must-have Christmas presents for selfie-obsessed Britons.
So-called ‘selfie-sticks’ that allow camera phones to be extended up to a metre away for group shots and panoramic images are flying off the shelves.
While the selfie might have gone mainstream in 2014, it now appears that simply taking a picture of yourself and others with your smartphone is passe.
Users are experimenting with ever more creative selfie-methods – on top of tall buildings and in front of planes – to complement the ubiquitous pictures alongside friends and celebrities.
The idea of using a light-weight extendable metal pole with a grip to hold a smartphone – the early selfie-stick – came from fans of extreme sports who wanted to capture images of themselves in action.
The poles took off in Asia and are now sweeping the UK after two British entrepreneurs, Neil Harvey and Steve Pengelly, spotted a gap in the market.
Mr Harvey said: ‘We were at a schoolfriend’s wedding in Manila and while we were there we saw hundreds of people attaching their phones to these sticks and taking selfies.
‘When we first saw the selfie-sticks we did think “that’s a bit weird”, then we realised there was a gap in the market for something like this.’
The pair formed their own Plymouth-based company, Selfie Pods, and now produce five versions of the sticks costing upwards of £7.99.
The most basic is simply as extendable pole, meaning the selfie-taker sets the phone timer to take a picture. But more advanced versions from £14.99 have Bluetooth shutter releases on the handles which link to your smartphone meaning you can control exactly when you take your picture. They come in a variety of colours and styles.
As well as being popular for group shots, the sticks are increasingly appearing at sporting events and concerts as a way of getting above a crowd to capture an action image.
The pair have sold 6,000 pods between August and the end of November, with another 5,000 ordered to cope with Christmas demand.
Earlier this month, the South Korean authorities banned the use of ‘unregulated’ selfie-sticks after deciding their use of Bluetooth makes them ‘telecommunications devices’ that must be tested and registered in case they interfere with other gadgets.
Mr Harvey added: ‘Lots of people think “what is the point of this?” but once you’ve had a go on one and seen the cool pictures you can produce without the need for a cameraperson, you realise that these little things are really quite a cool bit of kit.’