Take the perfect selfie with CamMe

CamMe is a new iOS app from PointGrab. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store.

CamMe’s purpose is simple — to allow users to control their iPhone’s camera without having to touch it. The aim is to allow users to take pictures and video using hand gestures in a similar manner to how Microsoft’s Kinect attachment for the Xbox 360 works. This gestural control system makes CamMe particularly suitable for “selfies” and group shots in which the photographer would like to appear.

To use CamMe, users simply start up the application and choose whether they want to use the front FaceTime camera or the rear camera on their phone. Then, all they have to do is set up the device in an appropriate position, get in shot and then raise their hand. When the user’s hand has been recognized, confirmation will appear on screen and a sound will play, so that even if the user is using the higher-quality rear camera to take a picture, they know when it is ready to shoot. To take the picture, the user simply closes their hand, which begins a 3-second countdown. Another tone then plays (and a “smile!” message appears on screen), and after another couple of seconds the photograph is taken and saved to the user’s camera roll. It can also be emailed from within the app, but there are no built-in social sharing features.

The app is supposed to also support video — it mentions this in both the App Store description and shows the relevant controls in the video tutorial demonstrating how it works — but the actual control to switch between photo and video modes appeared to be completely absent from the version tested, which was running on an iPhone 4S with iOS 6. This is a relatively minor issue as the app is probably more useful for photographs than video — videos can be edited to cut off footage of the device’s owner putting it in place, photos cannot — but it’s still disappointing to see a feature clearly listed as a “selling point” for the app completely absent.

Despite the apparent lack of the promised video support, CamMe appears to work very well. Occasionally it has a little difficulty recognizing a raised hand — especially in situations with poor or variable lighting — but in most cases simply putting the hand down and re-raising it does the trick. There are no editing tools or filters in the app itself, but that helps keep it lightweight and free of feature bloat — those who want to process the images they take with the app are, after all, well catered to by a score of other apps on the iOS platform including Snapseed, Photoshop Touch and even Instagram. Future updates for the app should look at implementing the video feature and refining a couple of minor niggles, the most immediately apparent of which is the fact that some landscape-orientation photos come out upside down when received from the iCloud Photo Stream on a computer — though oddly enough they appear the correct way up in the device’s camera roll.

On the whole, then, CamMe offers a simple, straightforward and fairly elegant solution to a common problem with cellphone photography.

You can follow CamMe’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.