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Lights! Camera! Emotion!

By Tom Branna | January 15, 2014

Software helps retailers and marketers gauge consumer reaction.

How can that fragrance counter sales rep tell if a would-be customer thinks that new EDT really belongs in the toilet? With facial recognition software! At this week's National Retail Federation conference, Emotient showcased its new software that is able to identify a range of human emotions such as contempt, anger, fear and disgust as well as joy and surprise. The software can also be used in focus groups, where subjects may say one thing, but mean something else entirely.


No wonder why Procter & Gamble used Emotient's software to test three fragrances for Tide detergent. According to Emotient, the system is so precise that it can detect single-frame expressions of emotion. These brief flashes of emotions reveal quite a bit about a person’s beliefs and their propensity to act or buy, according to the company. Emotient’s proprietary algorithms make it possible to discern the most subtle expression or changes in expression and translate that into a defined emotional reaction. With a camera-enabled device or external webcam, the system can quickly process facial detection and automated expression analysis in real-time, or, for non time-sensitive requirements, it can scan images and videos in batch mode to deliver in-depth analysis of single-subject and multiple-subject videos.

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