|Founded||Massachusetts, United States (December 12, 2009 )|
|Headquarters||Waltham, Massachusetts, United States|
|Products||Affdex, Q Sensor|
|Services||emotion measurement technology|
Affectiva is an emotion measurement technology company that grew out of MIT’s Media Lab which has developed a way for computers to recognize human emotions based on facial cues or physiological responses. Among the commercial applications, this emotion-recognition technology is used to help brands improve their advertising and marketing messages. Another major application has been in political polling. In 2011, the company partnered with Millward Brown, which is itself a part of the Kantar Group, the market research, insight and consultancy division of WPP plc, a London-based public company.
Emotion measurement technology
Affectiva's technology can enable applications to use a webcam to track a user's smirks, smiles, frowns and furrows, which measures the user's levels of surprise, amusement or confusion.
The technology also allows a person's heart rate to be measured from a webcam without the person wearing anything. This is done using color changes in the person's face, which pulse each time the heart beats.
Affectiva's Affdex technology can be used to train a webcam on users while they watch ads, tracking their smirks, smiles, frowns and furrows to measure their levels of surprise, amusement or confusion throughout a commercial and compare them to other viewers across different demographics. The company developed the first online facial tracking system for testing advertising. Their clients for this technology include Coca-Cola and Unilever.
Political polling utilizes the technology to measure people’s responses to a political debate.
In its first three years of operation, Affectiva also made and sold the first comfortably wearable biosensor measuring electrodermal activity, "Q Sensor," that monitored changes in the user's emotional state via her skin.
Affectiva was co-founded by Rana el Kaliouby, Ph.D., who is currently serving as the company's chief science officer, and Rosalind W. Picard, Sc.D., who worked as Chief Scientist until 2013. Motivated by growing demand for the Q sensor, Picard later co-founded a new company, Empatica Inc., that makes an improved version of the Q Sensor wearable device. Both of Affectiva's early products grew out of collaborative research at the MIT’s Media Lab to help people on the autism spectrum.
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