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Affectiva release emotion recognition plugin for Unity

Affectiva, a company spun out of the MIT media lab, has announced its emotion recognition SDK has been integrated with Unity. This integration allows Unity developers to create games and experiences that can adapt to the emotions of its users.

It all sounds science fiction, but Affectiva claim that by launching a Unity plug-in, they’ve managed to get rid of the usual barriers to entry, allowing all developers working in Unity to try and get to grips with the new possibilities this brings to the table.

Unity already outputs to a variety of platforms, and Affectiva claim that programs on each of these platforms will be able to benefit from real-time emotional recognition, mentioning that Bandai Namco are experimenting with the software.

“We are very excited about the Affectiva Unity plug-in and its emotion capture technology,” said Yasushi Omori, a Bandai Namco executive, in an emailed press release. “Our development teams at BANDAI NAMCO are testing it on visionary new titles that will redefine the meaning of user engagement.”

Outside of gaming, Affectiva claim their plug-in will allow for a "seamless emotion-capture platform" in a variety of other industries where you might want to see how someone is feeling. This could work across a host of industries, although the press release singles out marketing and medical research, with the specific example given being that medical researchers could test the success of new tools aiming to help those with autism.

As someone with autism, i’m curious about their claims, but the suggesting of artificial intelligence that can react to how you’re feeling, or a horror game that can work out when it’s really gotten under your skin is exciting stuff.

“Once we realized the potential for Affectiva in gaming and other industries, we hit the ground running and adapted the SDK to better fit their specific needs,” said Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, also speaking via the emailed press release: “The gaming industry in particular is highly competitive, so we wanted to offer our customers the tools to innovate with Emotion AI as quickly as possible. We’ve received feedback from customers that the Unity plug-in took less than an hour to integrate, and they were able to use it to improve their immersive user experiences almost immediately.”

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