Apple has purchased an artificial intelligence startup called Emotient that specializes in analyzing humans’ facial expressions and determining their emotional states, The Wall Street Journal reports. Among other things, the company’s technology has been used by retailers to monitor shoppers’ facial epxressions and by doctors to monitor whether patients who are unable to express themselves are feeling pain during treatments. The startup had previously raised $8 million from investors that include Intel Capital, the Journal informs us.
As for what Apple might do with this company’s technology, that not surprisingly remains a mystery. Apple copy-pasted its standard response when asked by the Journal about its acquisition and would only say that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
We do, however, know that companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Google have all played around with facial recognition technology to some extent over the past few years. Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for the Xbox One features facial recognition technology and we know that Facebook’s facial recognition tech is so good that it can correctly identify your face 97% of the time. Whether anything major comes from this particular Apple acquisition, however, is anyone’s guess.