According to a MacRumor report and regulatory filings with the UK government, Apple may have quietly acquired UK-based motion capture firm IKinema.

The report has thus far gone unsubstantiated by both companies, however a number of filings with the UK government shows that Apple’s director of corporate law, Peter Denwood, has been recently appointed the director of IKinema, listing Apple’s HQ address.

Furthermore, the company’s physical UK address has been legally changed to 100 New Bridge Street in London, the very same for Apple Europe Limited.

Image courtesy Companies House

According to the report, IKinema’s website and social media were spun down weeks ago. At the time of this writing, the company’s site has been reduced to support documentation for their various software products. Citing an industry insider, MacRumors maintains that IKinema customers been without an update “for weeks.”

IKinema is known for its inverse kinematic (IK) technology and affordable motion capture for real-time 3D rendering. The company’s latest sizzle reel (linked below) shows off a number of its technologies including its latest iteration of Orion, a software that can capture head, hand, hips and feet motion using SteamVR-compatible VR headsets, controllers, and Vive Trackers.

Apple AR Headset FOV, Codename, and Stereoscopic Rendering Mode Reportedly Found in iOS 13.1

Considering Apple’s patently secretive nature, it’s still not entirely clear what the Cupertino tech giant would have in store for IKinema. Apple hasn’t officially acknowledged its working on an AR headset, although the company recently let code leak in the newest version of iOS which features internal codenames for its AR tech, field of view, and more.

Whatever the case may be, Apple has been continuously hiring industry pros in the field of AR/VR, so it’s clear we’re well outside of the realm of ‘if’ and heading into ‘what’ and when’ stages. To say the least, having a robust in-house IK solution would certainly be useful when creating lifelike avatars for either immersive platform.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Xron

    So we will get Ar/Vr devices from Apple pretty soon, because they see that Iphones won’t provide them enough cash in a few more years when every1 of us will get a decent phone without lags and such.

    • kontis

      AR glasses can potentially replace phones completely, which means a new mobile computing revolution can do to Android/iOS duopoly the same thing they did to Wintel. Just like casuals left PCs and switched to mobiles for everyday use they will quickly leave current ecosystems for mainstream glasses. It’s an opportunity for a new reset. This is why Facebook and Microsoft are so desperate in HMDs. They want to change that status quo.

      Apple hoping for near-future AR glasses crashing would be a huge gamble, so they prefer to be safe with investments, even if they are wasted, even if they don’t have a working prototype (and seeing the state of the tech being “lightyears” from being good enough and mainstream-friendly – probably nobody in the world has anything close to a proper prototype – this whole field is just futurology and a fear of missing out on the next gold mine).

      • Immersive_Computing

        It’s getting there… slowly. Having used Magic Leap and Microsoft Hololens I can see the potential, and a realistic timeframe for “Heavy glasses” AR being mid 2020’s. I waited from early 90’s to 2016 for consumer VR to be viable, AR is a similar waiting game.

        In the meantime I also tried Bose AR sunglasses very impressive with near field sound technology, another piece of the puzzle but already working well.

  • Rob C

    This is interesting considering the impressive body motion capture capabilities introduced with iOS13.

  • sfmike

    Apple, where innovative patents go to die. Not good news for VR.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Ugh, no, not Apple please… They make it even more closed platform than Oclus does with their Oculus store..

  • This is a strange acquisition. On one hand (pun not intended) Oculus are advancing hand capture without any sensor other than what is on the HMD already where Ikinema used SteamVR pucks attached around your body for mo cap.

    It is possible that Apple have minified the capture hardware but lack the software tools.
    Would be nice to see what innovation they have planned. I hope it is not just some social media app for the iPhone that translates body/face into a cartoon representation.

    Also shame on Ikinema for not publishing the takeover as clients would have invested their business around their tech and now that future is in doubt.

  • Another good product that no one will be able to use anymore because of an acquisition…

  • Lucidfeuer

    Cool, upcoming bodymoji what a great use of patent hoarding…