Apple is once again echoing its classic line to the press, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” In this case, it’s in reference to its acquisition of Emotient, a company specializing in facial biometrics technology that can detect signs of various emotions in the subjects it scans.
It is also designed to detect subjects’ attention and engagement, providing users with detailed data on various aspects of subjects’ cognitive activity as indicated on their faces. Moreover, according to Wired the technology can also detect gender, age, and race. It’s a solution that could have a range of applications, perhaps most notably in retail and marketing applications, where subjects’ demographic data and emotional states could be used to refine the targeting of marketing messages.
Of course, Apple isn’t saying what it plans to do with Emotient’s technology. But it does complement other recent acquisitions the company has made, including its purchase of Perceptio, the developer of a deep learning image recognition system, and Faceshift, the developer of facial modelling technology that has been used in the most recent Star Wars film. Whatever Apple is planning, it’s evidently looking to take a deep dive into facial biometrics.
January 8, 2016 – by Alex Perala