Apple has purchased a facial biometrics capture company whose technology was used for special effects in the new Star Wars movie.
Called Faceshift, the Zurich-based startup has developed technology that translates users’ real-life facial expressions to 3D animated characters in real time. In addition to its applications in film production, the technology could also have a valuable role to play in gaming, augmented reality, and even facial recognition for security purposes.
As usual, of course, Apple isn’t commenting on what it plans to do with the technology, instead issuing its standard statement that “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” But it is an intriguing acquisition, especially given that Apple also recently acquired another facial recognition startup. At this point it seems fair to speculate that Apple’s interest in this area could relate to security applications, particularly given that the company already uses biometric authentication on its mobile devices and for its mPayment platform. In the future, it may want to add another modality to help further secure these areas, and facial recognition, particularly the real-time kind used by Faceshift, could be the ticket.