Affectiva Launches An SDK To Bring Emotion Tracking To Mobile Apps

Affectiva, an emotion tracking startup with big-name investors, is announcing the launch of its mobile software development kit.

The company says it can analyze a user’s emotions by tracking their facial expressions, and it uses that technology to measure the effectiveness of ads. With the new SDK, mobile developers will be able to add these capabilities to their apps as well.

This means Affectiva’s technology could be embedded into consumer products — a spokesperson suggested via email that the possibilities include healthcare, education, and gaming apps. (Moving into the consumer market was one of the stated goals when the company raised a $12 million Series C back in 2012.)

Existing uses of the technology will continue to be the core of the company’s business, the spokesperson said, but they suggested existing clients are also looking to make a mobile push.

Affectiva can supposedly use the smartphone camera, video footage, or a single image for its emotion sensing. The company said that since the SDK allows processing to take place on the device, rather than in the cloud, apps can can access the emotion data in real time. (For privacy purposes, the facial images are not saved or transmitted.)

The company spun out of the MIT Media Lab and its investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Li Ka-Shing’s Horizon Ventures.

“Mobile is growing exponentially,” Stephanie Tilenius, an executive in residence at Kleiner Perkins said in an email statement. “With social networking and geo-location, our devices are enabled to know who we are, where we are and what we’re doing. However, these smart devices are still missing the key element to understanding human sentiment. As technology innovators, Affectiva is creating a platform for passive and active emotion-sensing — the next generation of social communication.”