Apple has acquired Emotient, a startup that employs artificial intelligence technology to assess emotions by reading people’s facial expressions, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Cupertino-based company, though, did not specifically reveal what it plans to do with the startup’s technology. An Apple representative only verified that the company “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Furthermore, she declined to go into details regarding the terms of the acquisition.
Emotient boss Ken Denman also declined to comment on the matter.
By looking at what Emotient does, though, we could have an idea as to what Apple has in mind for the startup's technology.
Let’s do the rundown.
• Emotient’s technology is used to help advertisers in assessing the reactions of viewers to their advertisements.
• Doctors use the startup’s technology to interpret the pain of patients who cannot express themselves.
• The company said one of its clients, a retailer, used the AI technology to check the reactions of buyers on the products in its stores.
"The insights gained from Emotient give businesses the ability to make better decisions and accelerate their revenue growth," says Emotient on its website.
This week, the San Diego startup already tweaked its website, wiping out details with regard to the services it previously offered.
How The Startup Describes Itself
"Emotient is the leader in emotion detection and sentiment analysis. The company is at the vanguard of a new wave of emotion analysis that will lead to a quantum leap in customer understanding and emotion-aware computing," says the company description on its website. "Emotient's cloud-based services deliver direct measurement of a customer's unfiltered emotional response to ads, content, products and customer service or sales interactions."
Apple has also made other recent acquisitions, which could give a clue regarding its real plan.
In October 2015, Apple acquired Perceptio, a company that developed a deep-learning image recognition technology specifically built for mobile processors. Another AI company, VocalIQ, also moved under Apple's umbrella. The startup focuses on beefing up a computer's capacity to understand natural speech.
The following month, we reported that Apple bought Faceshift, a motion picture startup with a focus on facial analysis.
Apple's Patent Application
In 2014, Apple applied for a patent describing a software system that has the capacity to assess and recognize people's moods based on different clues, including facial expression.
Back in May 2015, Emotient revealed that its patent had been approved for its method of gathering and labeling up to 100,000 facial images every day so computers can better distinguish various expressions.
Facebook And Google's Facial Recognition Technology
It should already be no secret by now: Facebook and Google are also working on a similar facial recognition technology.
Facebook, however, decided not to roll out its Moments photo app in Europe because of the region's existing privacy regulations. Google likewise released its facial recognition feature for Google Photos only in the United States.
While Apple has yet to disclose its plans on how to incorporate Emotient, rumor has it, however, that it could be developing a smarter Siri, which would have the ability to recognize the user's emotion.