Date: Wednesday, November 25th, 2015, 07:11
Category: Finance, News, Software
It’s hard to say what Apple will do with its new toy, but it’s been confirmed that it just bought a real-time motion capture firm.
The company apparently acquired Faceshift, a Zurich-based capture firm, which has worked with game and animation studios on technology designed to quickly and accurately capture facial expressions using 3D sensors, including Faceshift Studio software with plugins for Maya and Unity. The company was also working toward consumer-facing software like a Skype plugin that would support real-time avatars for video chat.
According to Swiss company registry filings, Faceshift was acquired by Apple in mid-August. Several Faceshift employees have now joined Apple and are working out of the company’s European offices. Apple is also hiring additional employees to work on related technology in Switzerland, including a senior software engineer that would focus on “cutting-edge imaging algorithms for both mobile and desktop photographic applications.”
Faceshift was launched in 2011 out of the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. In mid-2013, the company expanded and brought on industry veteran Doug Griffin, formerly of Industrial Light & Magic and Electronic Arts, to head up a San Francisco office. Faceshift has demonstrated its motion capture technology multiple times in the past few years, most recently demoing it at GDC 2015.
It’s open to speculation as to what Apple might do with Faceshift, although the thought is that it could create real-time avatars for FaceTime video chats or be used for unlocking devices or authorizing payments via facial recognition.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.