New Technology Measures Emotional Responses to Web Videos
Startup Affectiva is building technologies to measure emotion in web video. It is technology the founders, MIT scientists Dr. el Kaliouby and Dr. Rosalind Picard, are looking to perfect with the help of a newly awarded $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Affectiva, a commercial rendering of MIT’s FaceSense (also NSF-funded) technology, was originally dreamt up to help those with autism spectrum disorders better understand emotion. The founders now see the potential of opening their emotion measurement technology for market research, product testing and development, clinical use and other academic purposes.
In its current web state, Affectiva analyzes a single facial expression associated with happiness: the smile. Viewers, who must grant the application permission to “watch them,” tune in to a film trailer. The software tracks when the user smiles, and he or she can see the complete “Smile Track” once the viewing is complete.
This early prototype is centered around the smile, but Affectiva’s software is capable of analyzing multiple expressions and associating them with states of minds. More of those technologies will be carried over to the web thanks in no small part to the NSF grant.
With the new funds, the team now has a six-month window to move Affdex, its facial expression recognition technology, to a cloud environment. The company is also eligible for $600,000 in additional grant funding and has enough runway to go without outside funding for the immediate future.