TC50: Affective Interfaces detects whether your ad makes people happy

Affective Interfaces demonstrated some cool new technology today that uses emotion sensing software with webcam footage. The company launched today at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco.

Affective’s software detects how people are feeling. But Affective Interfaces isn’t about checking in on how Mom’s doing. The startup is launching its software as a tool for ad companies to test the effectiveness of ads and other content. It sounds like there’s big potential here for even more widespread use.

Chief executive Jai Hassman says that when it comes to advertising or other content, it can be hard to predict how people will react emotionally. Focus groups are a common way to test that, but that’s just a small group of people. Getting quantitative data about the emotions of larger groups is still “in the stone age,” Hassman says.

Affective Interfaces can take content from its clients, play it for hundreds or thousands of people (currently, recruited either via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing system or through the company’s market research partners), then deliver numerical data about how those people felt throughout the video. Affective can create webcam montages of many users’ faces at once, giving advertisers and publishers an overall picture of how people are reacting to each part of the content.

Beyond ad research, Affective Interfaces says it could become a social tool, as well as a way to detect drowsiness when people are driving.

Click here for more startup news coming out of the TechCrunch50 conference.

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