20 Feb 2017

Apple grabs RealFace - An Israeli startup specializing in facial recognition

Apple has acquired 'RealFace' an Israeli startup that specialises in facial recognition. While the terms of the deal have not been made official yet, Israeli media is reporting the deal value estimated between $2million to 'several million dollars'. With its over $200 billion cash reserves, this 'small amount' could ensure a big win for Apple in future. The official website of RealFace is offline; but by looking at the cached version of the website; we learned that RealFace engineers had developed an artificially intelligent software that allowed for frictionless face authentication.

Apple has not officially released any statement on the deal. Engadget reports that RealFace is not the first acquisition that Apple's made in the facial recognition domain. It had bought 'Emotient' that informs the computer about your emotions. It's likely that Apple is planning to reduce its dependence on fingerprint readers for various types of authentications - from unlocking phone to making payments via Apple Pay.

RealFace-Apple-Acquisition

RealFace claimed on their website that their technology is 'most accurate' and uses an intelligent, user-centered graphical user interface. The company even claimed that it's the first 'anti-spoof' face recognition application that can be used on small device. The company had earlier developed an app named 'Pickeez' that would use complex mathematical expressions to determine user's best photos.

RealFace operates out of its office in Tel-Aviv and had raised about $1million in funds to develop software that works on low-powered devices like iPhone or Android phones. AppleInsider cites rumours that the new facial recognition technology might debut with iPhone8 along with a laser 3D scanner. However no concrete information about it is available at the time of writing this article.

The software developed by RealFace has multiple applications. An API would allow for uses in AR and VR headsets; and can be expanded into clothing sizing, accurate measurements of room, 3D scanning and printing etc.

Apple's top rival, Samsung had introduced a new type of authentication mechanism in Note 7, called 'Iris Scanner'. The Iris Scanner would scan user's eyes and use the data derived from the scan to identify unique users. While the technology worked as expected, Note 7 had to be recalled for its battery issues; allowing Apple to win some more time to introduce new technology in their phones. It won't be surprising if Apple introduces the facial recognition technology in iPhones, iMacs and even the MacBooks.

Check out the following video demonstration of RealFace and let us know your thoughts.


Source: MacRumors

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