After its work on Star Wars, motion-capture company Faceshift bought by Apple

25 Nov 2015

Faceshift, the motion-capture company responsible for much of the behind-the-scenes technology seen in the Star Wars films, has been confirmed as Apple’s latest acquisition.

The Zurich-based start-up Faceshift has been rumoured for some time to be on Apple’s radar as a company it would like to acquire.

The company’s niche in a market that has been largely dominated by huge studios working with game developers and movie makers has been its flexibility in terms of the cost to produce, as well as its tech’s ability to be run on many devices, including Microsoft’s Kinect camera for its Xbox consoles.

The company’s technology of creating digitised faces and animated avatars in real-time has been well-received internationally, so much so that the producers behind the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens film approached them to develop some of its footage, according to TechCrunch.

While Apple’s confirmation of its acquisition only came in the form of the solitary line that it always trots out following an acquisition (“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time”), it’s interesting to speculate on where Apple will take this technology.

After all, this will not be the company’s first foray into working with motion capture and facial recognition technology, with it having previously acquired three other companies in the same field of expertise: PrimeSense, Polar Rose and Metaio, which are all European-based.

Unsurprisingly, Faceshift and Apple have acted quickly, with Faceshift’s website offering a demonstration and developer help being quickly taken down.

Also, as part of the acquisition, a number of Faceshift’s employees have already begun working under Apple’s tutelage within its European operations.

Faceshift demonstration image via Alp ICT/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic