Google Glass App Can Read Emotions Anonymously
March 7, 2014

Emotient App Allows Google Glass To Read Emotions

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Professional poker players spend years honing their skills to “read” others, but now San Diego-based Emotient might allow everyone to have the chance to read emotions. The company announced on Thursday that it has developed a Sentiment Analysis prototype app for Google Glass which could allow wearers of the computerized headset to read the emotions of people in the wearer's field of view.

“Emotient’s Sentiment Analysis Glassware demonstrates our goal to emotion-enable any manner of device and build the next layer of automatic sensors,” said Ken Denman, CEO, Emotient, via a statement. “It’s a breakthrough technology that allows companies to aggregate customer sentiment by processing facial expressions anonymously. We believe there is broad applicability for this service to improve the customer experience, particularly in retail.”

This software is able to process facial expressions and then provide the wearer of Google Glass an aggregate emotional read-out. This app is able to measure overall sentiment including positive, negative or neutral – as well as primary emotions including joy, surprise, sadness, fear, disgust, contempt and anger; and advanced emotions frustration and confusion.

The wearer doesn’t need to know the individual that the app is monitoring either as it is reportedly able to detect and process anonymous facial expressions of any individual or even a group of individuals that the Glass wearer sees.

The app does not store video or images, and Emotient has said that any analysis would be done anonymously. PC Mag reports that Google previously confirmed it would not “add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place.” However, it could be software that is hard to avoid.

While the Emotient app could have the potential to help gamblers possibly detect when someone is bluffing at cards, the developers believe that it has a potential for use in a retail setting, where it could be used to improve the understanding of aggregate customer sentiment. This could be used to measure store performance and help manage product and advertising/promotions. It could further provide real time reporting on customer satisfaction.

Emotient, which is currently one of the leading authorities in facial expression analysis, was founded by a team of six PhDs from the University of California, San Diego. The company’s software is able to translate facial expressions into actionable information which enables businesses to develop emotion-aware technologies and to create new levels of customer engagement, research, and analysis.

According to TechCrunch, Emotient recently raised $6 million via a Series B round of funding that was led by Seth Neiman, formerly a general partner at Crosspoint Venture Partners and who is now leading the new VC firm Handbag. Previously the startup had raised $8 million including funding from Intel Capital.

Finally, while Google Glass could make its way to retail, some establishments might look to ban its use – so those thinking of using Google Glass with Emotient while trolling bars in the Bay Area may be out of luck. PC Mag added that Molotov bar and The Willows have both banned the use of the wearable computer technology in their establishments.