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Is Apple Stepping Up its VR/AR Efforts with Faceshift Buy?

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Apple Inc.AAPL has acquired Faceshift, a Zurich based "motion-capture company" for an undisclosed amount. Reportedly, some of Faceshift's employees have already begun working for the Cupertino-based company.

Rumours of the acquisition have been doing the rounds for some time. However, the utility of this start up for Apple remains a source of constant speculation. Apple has issued the customary acquisition related statement "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans" this time around as well.

Anlaysts observe that as the market for virtual reality gets bigger, Faceshift will prove an "interesting" buyout. Moreover, with other tech behemoths like Alphabet Inc. GOOGL , and Microsoft Corporation MSFT stepping up their research in visual and augmented reality technology, the acquisition will help Apple to remain on par.

"Faceshift uses depth cameras to scan and capture a user's expressions - and transfer them to an animated character - with no need for the usual markers used in motion-capture recording". This technology has found utilization in gaming and movies.

As per TechCrunch "in gaming experiences, people can adopt avatars whose faces will alter based on the players' actual expressions for a more immediate and realistic experience. In film production, the technology can be used to improve the process of animating characters to more closely mimic the actors' facial movements". Notably, Faceshift has been involved in a big way in the making of The Walt Disney Company's DIS Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

However, the technology's use in enterprise security applications such as "facial recognition for identification or security purposes" is something that might have attracted Apple's interest. Earlier, Apple had acquired a few European start-ups like PrimeSense, Polar Rose and Metaio that also dabbled in motion capture technology.

At present, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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