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The Download: A smartphone case that sticks to glass? Get ready for your selfie.

Exofab’s smartphone case. ( / )

You can now snap a hands-free selfie thanks to a Woodbridge-based smartphone case maker.

Exofab sells a protective cover for Apple and Samsung devices made with “innovative smart gel technology” that adheres to glass surfaces, such as windows or mirrors. The company also released a companion app last week that will take a photo at timed intervals.

The gel guard, as it is called, wasn’t designed with vanity in mind. Exofab created the protective sheath to be lightweight and slim so that it would appeal to smartphone users who want their phone to remain as sleek as possible.

“We realized the selfie thing was huge, so we were able to put our stamp on that as the first hands-free selfie [case],” co-founder George Boosalis said.

The gel guard has been two years in the making, Boosalis said, as his co-founder, Agapios Papadamadiou, perfected the gelatinous exterior and the adhesive coating that bonds the case to the phone without leaving any residue.

“At some point it was too sticky or it would peel off. We didn’t want to release it into the market until it was perfected,” Boosalis said.

The case hit stores in Europe nine months ago, and 60,000 of them have been sold in Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Greece to date. They had some marketing help from Boosalis’s wife, Greek pop singer Kalomira Sarantis, and her celebrity peers.

Boosalis said 15,000 gel guards have been sold to date in the United States, and the company is hustling to get on store shelves in advance of the holiday season. The Nordstrom in Pentagon City will begin selling them July 19 with the possibility of expanding nationwide.

The protective cases, which retail for $35 each online, face a competitive market. Anyone who has walked passed a kiosk of smartphone cases in the mall can tell you consumers have no shortage of options.

“When buyers see something new and different and creative, they see it as an opportunity to try it out,” Boosalis said. “This is something that’s different, that’s not out there already.”

Steven Overly is a national reporter covering federal technology and energy policy with a focus on Capitol Hill. He previously covered the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital.



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