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Forbes reporter Samar Marwan speaks with Rana el Kaliouby, CEO and cofounder of the MIT startup Affectiva, about her work developing new technology that can read human facial expressions. Marwan explains that el Kaliouby and Prof. Rosalind Picard started developing the technology at MIT, “to focus on helping children on the autism spectrum better understand how other people were feeling.”

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Screenshots from a video from Affectiva shows how the Affdex software tracks facial cues to infer emotions. At top left, a fixed stare signals concentration; at top right, a furrowed brow signals confusion; at bottom right, a raised brow signals enjoyment; and at bottom left, a wrinkled nose bridge may signal disgust.

A market for emotions

With emotion-tracking software, Affectiva attracts big-name clients, aims for “mood-aware” Internet.