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Apple acquires IKinema

Thursday, October 10th, 2019 | Posted by Jim Thacker

IKinema’s 2018 showreel. The motion-capture solving specialist, whose products included games middleware and the IKinema Action plugin for Maya and MotionBuilder, has now been acquired by Apple.

 
Apple has acquired motion-capture solving specialist IKinema. The news was broken by Apple news site MacRumors last week, and subsequently confirmed by UK newspaper the Financial Times.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed and at present, there seems to be no information publicly available on future support for IKinema products, which are no longer available for sale on the firm’s website.

A mocap technology provider with clients including major game developers and VFX houses
Founded in 2010 by former Surrey Space Centre researcher Alex Pechev, IKinema built up a portfolio of motion capture solving and retargeting solutions for games and visual effects.

As well as its IKinema RunTime middleware and LiveAction, a real-time mocap solving solution for Unreal Engine, its IKinema Action plugin was available for Maya and MotionBuilder.

Its most recent product, Orion, was a low-cost mocap solution based around the HTC Vive.

By the time of the acquisition, clients ranged from game developers like Activision, EA and Ubisoft to visual effects and animation firms including Digital Domain and DreamWorks Animation.

The firm was also a licensed technology provider for Google Stadia, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Autodesk.

Part of an ongoing series of Apple acquisitions relating to augmented reality?
An Apple buyout was first suggested by MacRumors, who spotted that UK regulatory body Companies House now lists IKinema’s company address as 100 New Bridge Street, London: that of Apple Europe.

The news was later confirmed by the Financial Times, to which Apple issued its standard statement that “[we buy] smaller companies from time to time, and we generally don’t discuss our purpose or plans”.

The Financial Times story cites Apple’s recent series of acquisitions of companies whose technology would be relevant to its ARKit augmented reality platform, or a potential future AR headset.

Of those, the one most familiar to CG Channel readers will probably be markerless facial motion capture firm Faceshift, which Apple acquired in 2015, discontinuing its faceshift Studio system.

Although documentation for IKinema’s products remains available online, the rest of the company’s website has been removed, and its social media channels have not been updated since August.

We’ve contacted former IKinema staff for information about future support for the company’s products, and will update if we hear back.

Read previous CG Channel stories on IKinema and its products

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