Business Technology

British facial recognition company Realeyes secures €3.6m to understand your feelings

3 min read

21 April 2015

Former deputy editor

Realeyes, a UK-based facial recognition company, has secured a €3.64m European Commission grant to evolve its technology and continue the mission to understand human emotions through artificial intelligence (AI).

Realeyes’ facial coding tech measures the seven basic emotions, including happy, surprise, scared and anger. The business specialises in tracking people’s emotions via webcams while they watch video content in order to determine how engaged they are with the material.

The EC grant will allow the firm to develop and enhance the abilities of computer webcams to determine whether a viewer likes or dislikes what they’re watching.

Explaining the importance, Realeyes said: “Likeability’ is actually a complex emotional state, which automated emotion measurement technologies cannot currently measure, and which is directly linked to sales figures.”

Mihkel Jäätma, CEO, Realeyes, said: “It’s very exciting to be part of this powerful consortium aiming to master new indicators of behaviour that were previously too subtle, even to the human eye.”

Ahead of Christmas, Realeyes revealed the ten most compelling festive advertisements, tracing more than 2.2m facial data points for the experiment. It observed attraction, retention, engagement and impact, resulting in John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin ad coming out on top, followed by Harvey Nichols in second place.

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The development grant was awarded to Realeyes alongside Imperial College London, which will see the latter’s Professor Maja Pantic lead the research. He will work with a board of experts including executives from AOL for video advertising, Ipsos for consumer research, Kaplan for educational games and Skype for video conferencing.

Pantic, said: “It’s fantastic that a company at the cutting edge of technology, such as Realeyes, has such close ties to academia. It means academic breakthroughs can find real-life applications through commercial partnerships very quickly.”

Google thinks so too. In November, Real Business spoke to Google adviser Jack Hidary who commended Realeyes for being one of the innovative companies unafraid to enter white space – markets that are yet to be explored.

Mark Melling, director of video, AOL International: “This project is a huge leap forward in video ad tech. In-depth and direct feedback on which videos resonate with which viewers in real-time is the Holy Grail of video marketing. Media-wise it’s a double-win by simultaneously providing more engaging videos to viewers and improving advertising performance.”