It seems that Facebook is not resting on its laurels and has started to diversity its range of services, features, and functions for their various apps including their main social network. The company also invests heavily in future technologies. It recently acquired the facial analysis startup FacioMetrics.
FacioMetrics was a new spin-off company from Carnegie Mellon University. It released an app called IntraFace. Users were able to identify up to seven different emotions from a picture of a person’s face. However, the app was recently removed app stores across the platforms it was available on.
A previous briefing made available by Facebook to various companies about its future plans, reveals that the company is interested in developing gesture-based controls as future applications for its deep learning platform on phones. The acquisition of FacioMetrics fits very well in that plan.
The technology to use facial gesture to navigate and interact with the content on Facebook is few years off at the very least. The company’s priority regarding their recent acquisition is to improve the augmented reality face masks available for Facebook Live streaming. The FacioMetrics development team will probably work to allow more ways to trigger animated effects of masks. The selfie masks will be able to react to a wide range of expressions from laughing to raising your eyebrows or opening your mouth.
According to the Fernando De la Torre, the founder of the startup as well as a research professor at Carnegie Mellon, has stated that FacioMetrics was the results of an increased interest as well as demand for facial image analysis. He recognized the wide range of potential applications for the technology including AR, VR, measuring audience reaction, and others. It could also be used to easily detect drowsy drivers, analyze the expressions of focus groups, detect depression, and even improve the avatars in video games.
The last applications could be of benefit to Oculus, the VR company also owned by Facebook, in their attempt to develop realistic avatars in games that can convey a wide range of emotions. Overall, the technology is very promising, especially in facial gesture control which could have many benefits, especially for handicapped people.
What do you think about FacioMetrics and their facial analysis technology?