Apple Buys Facial Recognition Company That Helps Advertisers Measure Consumer Reactions

Apple has acquired Emotient, makers of software that aims to determine an individual's emotional state via facial analysis, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and CNBC. Emotient bills its technology as a way for companies to gauge consumers' emotional reactions to their advertisements and products.

emotient facial recognitionFrom Emotient's website, an example of the range of emotions and reactions the company's software aims to measure.

Without offering further details, an Apple spokesperson confirmed the acquisition, providing The Wall Street Journal with its usual statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Other sources were not able to provide the financial terms of the deal.

Apple's planned use for Emotient's technology is not yet clear, although the company has made several related acquisitions in recent months, picking up real-time facial motion capture firm Faceshift in September and AI-based image recognition company Perceptio in October.

From Emotient's website:

Emotient is the leader in emotion detection and sentiment analysis, part of a neuromarketing wave that is driving a quantum leap in customer understanding. Our services quantify emotional response, leading to insights and actions that improves your products and how you market them.

Emotient is not Apple's first acquisition of facial recognition-focused technology. In September 2010, the company acquired Swedish firm Polar Rose, which offered facial recognition capabilities for online photo sites like Flickr.