Apple Snaps Up Motion Capture Company iKinema in Drive to Bolster Augmented Reality Push
Apple confirms that it has purchased the UK-based 3D animation company iKinema, a move that is interpreted as an effort to bolsters its augmented reality initiatives. iKinema specializes in developing virtual reality and motion capture software. The acquisition is expected to boost Apple’s augmented reality push with its AR glasses set to hit the market next year according to analyst predictions.
iKinema’s motion capture technology can transform video footage of people into animated characters. Apple has not disclosed for how much the acquisition was made or why it purchased the company. However, this latest acquisition is very much in tune with Apple’s recent acquisitions that seem to focus on small companies with a 3D graphics focus. These include FaceShift that has been integrated into Apple’s Animoji feature and allows users to transform their faces into various characters including a robot, alien and even a pile of poo.
On its website, iKinema stated that it leads in animation software for motion capture, virtual reality and games. The company says its technology powers animation engines for some of the leading companies. The company’s Twitter profile is promising professional animation technologies for various kinds of applications including virtual reality, mocap, casual games, post-production and serious games.
The UK-based animation company has also created a video demonstrating its technology offerings:-
iKinema’s software could be integrated into Apple’s own augmented reality software kit, ARKit which enables developers to build apps capable of melding the real world with the virtual images or objects.
iKinema Website Offline
The iKenema website seems to have been largely taken down but the company previously listed various tech giants as its partners including Tencent, Microsoft and Disney. The acquisition was first reported by MacRumors.
On September 12, Apple lawyer Peter Denwood was added as a director in iKinema’s UK filings which also stated that the company had 13 employees as of last year.
Currently, Apple’s ARKit is only applicable on its iPhones and iPads but according to predictions by the respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, we will most likely have Apple augmented reality glasses next year which will open up a new platform for ARKit and other associated AR technologies and effects by Apple.
Apple has made other acquisitions in the recent years with AR focus. Many of these acquisitions have to do with technologies that integrate computer graphics into the real world. They include companies such as Flyby Media, Metaio and Emotient. Apple reportedly has multiple teams that are currently working on augmented reality. There is a team working on Apple’s ARKit as well as one that is working on a prototyped specialized hardware.
Although the company is yet to make any special confirmations on its upcoming AR hardware, its top honcho Tim Cook is known to be a huge proponent of augmented reality which he has described as “profound”.
Apple probably sees iKinema’s tech as one that could add value to its augmented reality ambitions.