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Apple acquires Faceshift, maker of Star Wars: The Force Awakens motion capture

Earlier in the year, we heard that Apple had acquired Zurich-based motion capture firm Faceshift, and TechCrunch has confirmed the acquisition with both parties earlier today.

It is Apple’s ninth acquisition this year. Like most of them, the acquisition price remains undisclosed and the company has said nothing about what it will use Faceshift for in the future. In a statement, a spokesperson said:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

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Faceshift employees are already working at Apple’s European offices, according to TechCrunch’s report. The motion capture firm has also sent most of its patents to IP administration connected to Cupertino, connecting the two companies even further.

The startup is best known for its motion capture work for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Its software can be spotted at 0:41 in the Comic-Con 2015 reel.

Apple might use Faceshift for augmented reality, having already acquired Metaio, a German-based augmented reality startup, earlier this year. It might also integrate the motion capture tech into its Metal API, allowing mobile developers to create high definition face capture scenes.

Other options include facial recognition for additional iOS security, but that would mean utilizing Faceshift technology in a completely new way. Apple already offers fingerprint biometrics through Touch ID, but could offer even more security with facial recognition on the next iPhone.

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The acquisition of Faceshift could tie into the acquisition of Israeli-based camera startup LinX for $20 million earlier this year. The firm builds cameras that can gauge depth and create three-dimensional maps — the same tech used by Faceshift to create motion capture.

To see a little bit of how Faceshift works, check out the video below released by Intel.