The acquisition of IKinema was first reported by MacRumors this week, which got hold of regulatory filings showing that an Apple lawyer became director of the company last month. The iPhone maker subsequently confirmed the acquisition, sending the Financial Times its standard disclosure: “Apple buys smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans.”
IKinema has been developing whole-body motion capture technology that ties into game engines like Unreal and other real-time video production tools. The startup has removed almost all of the content from its website, but it has in the past worked with game companies like Ubisoft, The Void, Linden Lab, Platium Games and Microsoft Studios to simplify the creation of digital characters.
A sizzle reel still available on YouTube shows that the company’s software was widely used in the video game industry:
Apple has been doubling down on gaming with the launch of its Apple Arcade video game subscription service last month. However, IKinema’s technology is also relevant to Apple beyond games: The iPhone maker has been embracing face motion capture for augmented reality with its animated Memoji characters. Interestingly, IKinema had been working on using iPhone-based motion capture for character animation, as a post to its Instagram account shows:
Finally, IKinema’s tech could also be used to to produce content for its still-unannounced augmented reality (AR) glasses. Apple has been working on an AR device for years, and is expected to unveil it as early as next year.