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Apple Buys Israeli Facial Recognition Firm

February 27 2017

Realface, a start-up developing facial recognition technology, has become Apple's fourth buy in the country, for a price reported as 'a couple of million dollars'.

The estimated price came from financial web site Calcalist, and would according to analysts make Realface by far the cheapest of the four firms acquired, after Anobit (2011, c.$400m), PrimeSense (2013, c.$345m); and LinX (c.$20m, 2015).

Tel Aviv-based Realface was founded in 2014 by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader, and offers technology which it claims 'brings back human perception to digital processes' in face recognition, improving its technique rapidly via machine learning. Its first product was an app, Pickeez, which claims to automatically choose an individual's best photos from the various platforms they use - but its offer is now based around authentication, including the use of a smart biometric login to replace password use for mobile devices and PCs.

The firm is said to have raised $1m to date and employs fewer than ten people.

Apple acquired facial expression analysis firm Emotient a year ago, and according to www.appleinsider.com has been 'gradually building its patent and technology portfolio with more acquisitions related to 3D facial recognition technology'. The Cupertino, CA-based tech giant has a stock phrase when asked about its acquisitions:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.

... no doubt uttered with a poker face to beat any current tech's powers of recognition. Also according to Apple's custom, the Israeli firm's web site appears to have been removed following the buy.

All articles 2006-21 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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