Friday, January 8, 2016

Apple Acquires Facial Expression Recognition Firm Emotient

Apple has acquired Emotient, a leader in emotion detection and sentiment analysis based on facial expression. This is Apple’s latest in a series of recent acquisitions of companies well versed in artificial intelligence. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2012 and based in San Diego, California, Emotient is a privately-held AI company. The company’s flagship service, Emotient Analytics, deliver direct measurement of a customer’s unfiltered emotional response to ads, content, products or services interactions. Emotient is at the vanguard of a new generation of emotion analysis that will lead to a major development in customer understanding and emotional-aware computing. Emotient uses deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence that involves training artificial neural networks on lots of data. This is a hot area where major tech companies like Microsoft and Google have done lots of work. 

Emotient posted on its website:
Emotient’s technology not only captures these single frame expressions, but does so in the face of obstacles such as poor lighting, consumer-grade webcams, facial occlusions such as eyeglasses and facial hair. It also achieves this level of accuracy for multiple faces in a frame, potentially up to hundreds of faces in a 1080p video.

Emotient said that its technology can work in a browser or through an application programming interface (API)

Before the Apple deal, Emotient has raised $8 million from investors including Intel Capital. Marian Bartlett, Ian Fasel, and Javier Movellan founded the company in 2012. Emotient has been seeking a new round of venture capital financing, but was not able to secure it on favorable terms. 

Image credit: Live Science

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