Emotion Measurement Is the New Black

Emotion measurement

Emotion measurement can benefit people in many areas, including clinical research, nonverbal communication for nonspeaking people, robotics research, self-awareness enhancement, usability, virtual reality research, and even surveillance. The benefits for the marketing industry, including advertising and public relations, are obvious.

With government backing Affectiva might be the next big thing we’ve all been waiting for, at least in innovation technology. For marketers and public relations experts, Affectiva’s technology is a break through.

Originally developed by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab scientists to help people on the autism spectrum better understand emotion, Affectiva’s technology, Affdex, can also be used to study emotional responses of consumers as they try out new products or try new business software. It can be used for testing and usability feedback, sales promotion, product design, advertising, and much more.

This is how Affdex works: the technology provides opt-in, video-based, facial expression recognition, which identifies whether a customer is smiling, looking interested or distracted and looking at or away from a screen. For example, volunteers in a test center agree to have their reactions videoed as they try prototypes of a new product and competitors’ products, and Affdex analyzes their facial expressions, making it easier for researchers to identify significant reactions. Affdex delivers data in timeline charts with event markers, so it is relatively easy to locate and analyze significant responses.

Basically, Affdex is a computer based body language reader, only somehow restricted to recognizing facial expressions. It is more accurate than you’d expect:

 Affectiva facial expression recognition

The New York Times demonstrates how technology invented at M.I.T and commercialized by Affectiva uses facial expression recognition to read a smile.

The startup announced that it has won a $150,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop an online version of its technology that enables computers to recognize human expressions and deduce emotional and cognitive states.The grant will fund a six-month project to move Affdex to an Internet cloud platform. Soon, the technology will become available for online market research, and early adopters will definitely have an advantage of competitors. Imagine being able to test customer reactions before launching a campaign globally – I see here significant cost cuts.

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