The Wall Street Journal reports Apple has confirmed it has made an acquisition of artificial intelligence startup EmotientThe cloud-based technology developed by Emotient uses artificial intelligence to detect emotion by analyzing facial expressions.

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the purchase with the company’s standard statement after an acquisition, saying Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” She declined to elaborate on the deal terms.

The company’s website is still live following the news and describes the tech as ‘the leader in emotion detection and sentiment analysis based on facial expressions. The company is at the vanguard of a new wave of emotion analysis that will lead to a quantum leap in customer understanding and emotion-aware computing.”

Some of the specific applications the company has been using the tech for, according to its website, include “measurement of a customer’s unfiltered emotional response to ads, content, products and customer service or sales interactions.”

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While it’s possible the acquisition could have been to acquire talent and or the technology itself, financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, and Apple as usual didn’t offer any information regarding its plans for Emotient following the purchase.

And today’s news also adds to a running list of AI-related technology buys for Apple in recent months. Back in October Apple acquired another artificial intelligence technology from startup Perceptio, a solution for running AI tech on smartphones with less reliance on the cloud, while that same month it confirmed a purchase of virtual assistant maker VocallQ.

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About the Author

Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.