Epic Games debuts facial expression tool

Epic Games

New third-party technology is working with Apple systems to innovate a different kind of facial recognition.


In reporting of the last couple of months, we’ve highlighted the ingrained skepticism that government and business parties have for first-wave types of facial recognition aimed at identifying citizens on the street or similar insidious activities.


For example, law enforcement departments around the country have pulled Clearview’s AI from their toolkit amid concerns about its use and privacy and civil rights issues, and IBM and other companies have backed off facial recognition projects.


Meanwhile, a company called Epic Games is using facial capture to aggregate basis not by identity, but by expression.


“(Epic Games) lets developers record facial expressions that can be imported directly into the Unreal Engine, using little more than an iPhone’s front-facing camera,” Jon Porter writes at The Verge. “The Live Link Face app, which is available to download now from the App Store, can stream this facial animation data in real time directly onto characters in Unreal Engine, which Epic hopes will make facial capture ‘easier and more accessible’ for creators.”


The technology uses Apple’s ARKit and the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera for this type of intelligence data project.


A Depth API in the ARKit utilizes data from a lidar scanner.


“Location Anchoring leverages the higher resolution data in Apple Maps to place AR experiences at a specific point in the world in your iPhone and iPad apps,” Apple says of ARKit 4, now in beta. “And face tracking is now supported on all devices with the Apple Neural Engine and a front-facing camera, so even more users can experience the joy of AR in photos and videos.”


Developing a facial capture app is a relatively good place to be in if you’re working on returning the facial expression data through a chatbot or other visual technology.


However if you’re trying to help governments to surveil their citizens, you’ll find the value proposition lies in ground where it’s hard to germinate.


Stay up on these and other advances in augmented reality to make informed and intelligent plays in the tech sector.