American multinational Apple has acquired Faceshift, a Zurich-based startup that has created technology to develop animated avatars and other figures that obtain a person's facial expression in real time.
"Faceshift studio is a facial motion capture software solution which revolutionises facial animation, making it possible at every desk," the company has said in its website.
Several Faceshift employees are reportedly now working for Apple, out of Europe.
This technology can be of wider use in both gaming experiences and film productions.
In gaming experiences, it can be used to adopt avatars' faces and change according to the players' actual expressions for a more realistic and instant experience. In film productions, the technology can be utilised to enhance the course of animating characters to more closely impersonate the actors' facial expressions.
In fact, the latest Star Wars film, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", uses this very technology to create non-human characters that can show more human-like expressions.
Faceshift was founded by three academics - Thibaut Weise, Brian Amberg and Sofien Bouaziz - as a spinoff from the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.
Prior to the acquisition of Faceshift, Apple had acquired three other European firms – PrimeSense, Polar Rose and Metaio - dealing with facial recognition, motion capture and enhanced reality.
"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," Apple said, according to TechCrunch.
However, it's unclear how has Apple plans to use Faceshift technology.