Digital picture frames were all the rage around 2006, but since then have pretty much been relegated to the bargain basement. Instead of focusing on innovation, new features and better performance, frame makers decided to compete on price. As a result digital frames have always been regarded a low-quality product and the gadget community quickly lost interest.

The team behind the new Aura frame is planning to change that and make the digital picture frame once again a product that technophiles across the globe are lusting for, with a design that combines a high-quality display with all sorts of digital bells and whistles. The Aura's screen is pretty much identical to the 2048 x 1536 pixel Retina display in the iPad and the acrylic frame, which is edged in anodized aluminum, will be available in either ivory with rose gold trim or black with charcoal trim. 

Premium finish aside, the Aura frame stands out thanks to its features. There is an accompanying mobile app for syncing manually created albums to the device. Alternatively, the app offers facial recognition and can be set to upload all images that have specific persons in them. There is also a filter that gets rid of blurry images, duplicates and those where subjects have their eyes closed. It even makes sure to only use images that crop well for the frame's 4:3 format.

Of course you can invite others to contribute to an album as well. In addition the Aura also comes with a set of sensors that can detect if you are in the room in order to make sure you always see a new image when you enter.

The sensors are also used for the gesture control feature which lets you scroll through images from a distance. The Aura frame is not available yet but its makers just secured $6M Series A round funding from Spark Capital, so chances are you'll be able to buy one in the nearer future. The projected retail price is $400 and you can register your email to be notified at launch. Watch the video below for a better idea how Aura works.