NEWS1 February 2011

Affectiva wins grant to take emotional measurement online

North America Technology

US— Start-up firm Affectiva has been awarded a £150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an online version of its technology which reads facial expressions and determines people’s emotional and cognitive states.

The company, which was founded in 2009 by two scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, originally aimed to develop technology that would help people with autism better understand emotion. The firm is now commercialising the technology, and the NSF grant will be used to fund a six-month project to take its Affdex facial expression recognition system out of test centres and on to a web-based platform, using participants’ webcams to read their expressions.

Affectiva co-founder Rana el Kaliouby said: “The NSF grant is an important step toward helping us open up the science of emotion measurement and make it massively available.”

Other products developed by Affectiva include the Q Sensor, a wearable device which measures emotional arousal via skin conductivity.