Company that tracks human emotions via webcams awarded £2.6m grant by the EU Commission

The European Commission has awarded a €3.64m (£2.6m) grant to Realeyes, a company that measures people’s emotions via standard webcams as they watch video content to help it develop the technology to track ‘likability’.

Realeyes is working with Imperial College London on the project – titled SEWA: Automatic Sentiment Analysis in the Wild – but tech firm Skype, AOL, Ipsos have also been brought in to provide guidance.

Currently, only seven basic emotions can be measured as well as engagement. However, the grant will support the development of standard computer webcams to automatically detect whether a person likes or dislikes what they’re seeing.

‘Likeability’ is considerably more complex to measure but it can be directly linked to sales figures, claims Realeyes.

Realeyes has already recorded the emotional responses of over 60,000 people as they answer a series of ‘likeability’ questions and the grant will support the automation of technology that will quantify this link between likeability and emotions.

“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,” said Mark Melling, director of video, AOL International.

“Media-wise it’s a double-win by simultaneously providing more engaging videos to viewers and improving advertising performance.”

Realeyes’ technology is currently used by brands, agencies and media companies to make better decisions across the three key stages of video advertising - testing the creative, planning media spend and analysing the performance.

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