Motion capture expert seizes global opportunity

Star Wars buffs may remember the diminutive character of Maz Kanata, who starred in The Force Awakens. With huge eyes, and a round face, the CGI creature was an instant favourite with fans.

She was created using technology built by Vicon and its parent company Oxford Metrics, which uses hi-tech scanning technology to capture any kind of movement. But that’s not the only blockbuster hit Vicon has played a part in.

“We won a technical Oscar for our work on The Golden Compass,” says chief executive Nick Bolton, adding that his company worked on smash hits Titanic and Gladiator, too.

But £20m-turnover Vicon doesn’t confine its technology to the film industry. “Life sciences represents half of our business,” says Bolton. “We also work with videogame studios and automotive giants.”

The business is truly international, exporting 92pc of its wares. Back in 1995, when Bolton joined the business as its 13th employee, the company was selling 10 systems a year. Today, it sells 330 systems, which can all capture serious speeds. “We can take 2,000 measurements every second,” claims Bolton.

“We create solutions that our customers need,” he continues. “Our customers include MIT, Cambridge University, as well as blue chips and Silicon Valley success stories.”

These customers often share their own technological developments with Vicon, helping the business to stay ahead of the competition.

“We must be doing something right,” jokes Bolton. “Some customers have stayed with us 33 years.”

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