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Apple has acquired the Israel-based facial recognition startup RealFace for $2 million in order to expand its considerable artificial intelligence and cybersecurity portfolio, according to The Times of Israel. RealFace is a relatively young company founded in 2014 that employs around 10 people and has garnered approximately $1 million in funding. Its facial recognition software can be used to bypass passwords and allow users to access their mobile devices and PCs via a smart biometric login solution.
The news of the acquisition comes on the heels of rumors that the forthcoming iPhone 8 will support biometric authentication other than fingerprint scanning via a 3D laser scanner.
RealFace also launched an app (now defunct) called Pickeez that uses the facial recognition software to automatically select the best photos of a user from a given platform. Beyond that, the technology could potentially be used by Apple for HomeKit integration, augmented reality, and various other applications later on down the line.
Besides RealFace, Cupertino has purchased two other Israeli facial recognition startups in recent years. In November 2013, it acquired 3D sensor company PrimeSense for $345 million, and bought LinX in 2015 for an estimated $20 million. PrimeSense is best known for designing the chip used in the Xbox 360’s Kinect motion-sensing system, whereas LinX software extracts depth information from images to create a depth map that can be used for 3D-image reconstruction, Forbes notes.