Swiss spin-off Faceshift in upcoming Star Wars movie

Things are going incredibly well for the Swiss startup Faceshift, a spin-off from both EPFL and ETH Zürich. Not only did Apple confirm last week that it acquired the Zürich-based company, but it also turns out that Faceshift’s technology was used in the making of the much anticipated new Star Wars movie.

Faceshift’s domain is motion capture, which is commonly used to animate 3D characters in movies and video games. What sets the company apart is that it has developed technology to perform real-time, markerless motion-capture, as in this example. While its use in Star Wars proves the value of such a technology in the film industry, it is not only limited to movies.

faceshiftThe possibility of mapping human expressions to that of a virtual avatar in real-time is of great interest as virtual reality technology is steadily developing and tech giants are trying to grasp its potential. It could have a big impact on social gaming too, with virtual characters reflecting the emotions of the player.

Faceshift was founded by Thibaut Weise, Brian Amberg and Sofien Bouaziz and is a good example of successful technology transfer, as two patents ownned by EPFL were transferred to the company in August.

You can catch a glimpse of the technology at 0’41’’ in this Star Wars clip, and you can read about Faceshift’s presence at Tokyo Game Show 2013 here.

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