January 7, 2016 2:36pm
One week into 2016, Apple has made its first purchase of the year. According to The Wall Street Journal, the iPhone-maker has acquired Emotient, a San Diego-based startup whose image recognition technology allows an artificial intelligence to read a person’s emotions by gauging their facial reactions.
When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for the company confirmed the purchase and gave the WSJ Apple’s usual response, saying, “[Apple] buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” The spokesperson declined to disclose terms of the deal.
Prior to its acquisition, Emotient marketed its services to advertising companies looking to better gauge how people react to their ads. It’s unclear how Apple intends to integrate the company’s technology into its own product offerings, but it’s possible that the technology could be used to improve automatic sorting of people in the iOS and OS X Photos app.