Apple has acquired Tel Aviv, Israel-based Realface, a machine learning startup whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users, according to reports from Calcalist (in Hebrew) and The Times Of Israel. Founded in 2014, RealFace says it has developed an innovative way of recognising people, self-reportedly building A.I software that "brings back human perception to digital process". RealFace's software enables authentication, automated on-boarding & mobile conversion optimisation. The company, led by co-founder and Columbia Business School-trained Adi Eckhouse Barzilai, says it has proprietary IP in the field of'frictionless face recognition' and effective learnings from facial features. The Israeli startup is behind the Pickeez app, which automatically choses a user's best photos from various platforms using the RealFace recognition software.
On the heels of recent rumors that the upcoming iPhone will have a means of biometric authentication (other than fingerprint scanning) comes the news that Apple has acquired RealFace, an Israeli tech firm specializing in facial recognition. The report comes from Israeli site Calcalist (via MacRumors) which claims Apple bought the Tel Aviv-based company for "several million dollars." SEE ALSO: Apple's BeatsX earphones are now available online Some users may know RealFace from its app Pickeez, which automated the process of choosing the best photos from a bunch. At the time of writing, however, the app appears to be defunct, and RealFace's own website is offline as well. The acquisition may turn into an app or a feature down the line, but it's unlikely to be significant for the upcoming iPhone this late in the game.
We've reached out to Apple for comment on the reported deal and will let you know if it has something to add. However, RealFace recently took its website down and left nothing but a skeleton server behind. Apple is no stranger to buying companies with some form of facial recognition tech. However, a focus on authentication would be both new and logical. If Apple wants to reduce its dependence on fingerprint readers for password-free iPhone logins, it needs a face detection system that will quickly and consistently sign you in across most situations, not just ideal conditions.
RealFace was looking for a tech partner who could integrate their library written in C and take over development from a previous company. Their real challenge, however, was to find developers who could understand the logic of the AI face recognition system and deal with GPUImage and the dlib face detector. The partnership between RealFace and STX Next started with one developer working on the iOS platform. After receiving the MVP, Realface decided to entrust STX Next with the development of the Android version. In a short time the team expanded to 5 people.
While Samsung debuted the now defunct Galaxy Note 7 with an iris scanner, Apple is skipping the eye-scanning technology for a more advanced biometrics security feature with its next-generation iPhone. Late last week, we reported about a 3D laser scanner that's predicted to be one of the standout features of the 10th anniversary iPhone. This week, there's now another reason to believe that the iPhone 8 could indeed come with the rumored 3D scanner. Just this past Sunday, The Times of Israel reported that a Tel Aviv, Israel-based cybertechnology startup was acquired by U.S. giant Apple Inc. The publication learned that the Israeli company, named RealFace, was established in 2014, and it is known for developing an advanced facial recognition software that provides a smart biometric login solution.