Facebook has boosted its face recognition capabilities with the acquisition of startup FacioMetrics.
FacioMetrics uses facial image analysis to determine emotions, and is aimed at sectors including gaming, healthcare, augmented reality, and robotics.
Fernando De la Torre, founder and CEO of FacioMetrics, said the company was formed to cater for the increasing interest in and demand for facial image analysis, with applications including augmented/virtual reality, animation, and audience reaction measurement.
The technology comes out of research at Carnegie Mellon University into developing computer vision and machine learning algorithms for facial image analysis.
"Over time, we have successfully developed and integrated this cutting-edge technology into battery-friendly and efficient mobile applications, and also created new applications of this technology," said De la Torre.
He added that by joining the team at Facebook, the company would be able to advance its work "at an incredible scale, reaching people from across the globe".
For its part, Facebook said: "How people share and communicate is changing and things like masks and other effects allow people to express themselves in fun and creative ways. We're excited to welcome the FacioMetrics team, who will help bring more fun effects to photos and videos and build even more engaging sharing experiences on Facebook."
Considering that a sizeable chunk of the photos posted on Facebook are selfies or groups of people, it's no surprise that Facebook is interested in such technologies. It already uses face recognition software to suggest tags for images, using an algorithm to calculate a unique number based on someone's facial features, like the distance between the eyes, nose, and ears. This template is based on profile pictures and photos that users have been tagged in on Facebook.
However, such moves are not without controversy: earlier this year Facebook debuted its Moments apps in Europe, but without the facial recognition capabilities it features elsewhere due to concerns about privacy.