Apple has indirectly announced its acquisition of Faceshift, a motion capture technology company famed for the latest version of Star Wars, after months of speculation. The financial terms of the deal remain unknown.
Founded in 2012, the Zurich-based Faceshift’s software known for analyzing the facial motions of an actor and transcribes them as a mixture of basic expressions, head orientation and gaze. It is then used to animate virtual characters for use in any situation where facial animation in needed. It is a subsidiary from the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Apart from Zurich, it operates in London and the West Coast.
Apple has not declared what it plans to do with the company. As before, Apple stated that it buys smaller companies time to time and would not like to discusses its plan in public. However, it is said that the software have a range of possible applications for Apple that includes virtual or augmented reality, biometrics/security, tracking and gaming and chat. So the possibility of Apple using these in its products is immense, especially when it comes to security. It is all pure speculation at this point of time with virtual and augmented reality being the most realistic use for the software.
Piers Harding-Rolls, an analyst and gaming specialist at IHS told BBC, “This acquisition fits in with some of Apple’s most recent deals which have centered on machine learning and related technologies such as voice recognition, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.”
Apple seems to be on acquisition spree lately. The purchase of Faceshift follows three other acquisitions in the past two months – Perceptio, Mapsense and Vocal IQ. Prior to acquisition, Faceshift had raised $700,000 via a convertible note in September 2013.