Apple has confirmed the acquisition of Faceshift, a facial motion capture startup from Zurich.
Faceshift has developed technology to create animated avatars that capture a person’s facial expressions in real time, which can can be used to enhance the computer generated effects in films and games.
There had been rumours that Apple was circling the company, but now TechCrunch has elicited the telltale affirmative response from Apple: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
While Apple typically keeps its purchases relatively low key and under the radar, you’ll be able to see Faceshift’s technology in action on the biggest stage possible from next month. It is used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to give non-human characters believable expressions.
It’s unclear how Apple would put such a company to use, but there are a number of ways in which it could potentially be applied.
A technology that detects facial movements would have potential augmented and virtual reality applications, for example. Apple hasn’t really spoken of any massive VR or AR ambitions as yet, but it’s made several acquisitions in the field with the likes of PrimeSense and Metaio.
Also, we know that Apple is a front-runner on biometric security authentication with Touch ID. Could Faceshift’s facial recognition technology be used as an advanced security measure in future iPhones? Time will tell.