Facebook buys facial analysis software firm

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Facebook has bought a facial analysis software firm linked to Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University, a move that will help the social media giant boost its artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition technology.  Details of the deal weren't revealed by Menlo Park, California-based Facebook or FacioMetrics, the Carnegie Mellon spinoff.

Facebook says FacioMetrics's software can be used to monitor the emotions of medical patients, assess audience reaction to a public speaker, or even detect drowsy drivers.  It also will enable Facebook users to express themselves through special effects that can manipulate photos and videos with facial images. This is something rival Snapchat already does to some extent — it has special filters users can add on to selfie "snaps" they take of themselves. The filters change depending on your facial expressions. For example, a dog filter will not just add on dog ears but show a giant panting tongue instead of your own when you stick out your tongue.

FacioMetrics has developed software called IntraFace, which can be downloaded onto mobile phones and enables users to do real-time facial image analysis. The company's CEO is Fernando De la Torre, an associate research professor at the school's Robotics Institute.