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Facebook Acquires CMU spin-off FacioMetrics

Fernando De la Torre’s FacioMetrics developed facial analysis software for mobile applications
Facebook Acquires CMU spin-off FacioMetrics

Facebook has acquired the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) spin-off FacioMetrics, a face recognition technology provider. Founded and lead by CMU’s Robotics Institute research and CMU Portugal Principal Investigator (PI), Fernando De la Torre, FacioMetrics positions itself as a response to the increasing interest and demand for facial image analysis.

The spin-off produces developer tools for understanding facial behaviour and demographic from videos, detection, and even enabling face swapping. It created an app called IntraFace that could detect seven different emotions in people’s faces, but it has been removed from the app stores.

It is speculated that the acquisition is part of a strategy for Facebook to compete with Snapchat, the ephemeral multimedia mobile application, by strengthening its photo and video capabilities. Additionally, the purchase of FacioMetrics comes weeks after Facebook demonstrated, at this year’s Wall Street Journal tech live conference (WSJD), a new app which would let you transfer the style of an artist, such as Rembrandt, onto your image using Convolutional Neural Network and computer vision.

“How people share and communicate is changing and things like masks and other effects allow people to express themselves in fun and creative ways,” remarked a Facebook spokesperson in a statement. “We’re excited to welcome the FacioMetrics team who will help bring more fun effects to photos and videos and build even more engaging sharing experiences on Facebook.”

Fernando De la Torre’s commented on Facebook’s acquisition at FacioMetrics webpage: “We started FacioMetrics to respond to the increasing interest and demand for facial image analysis – with all kinds of applications including augmented/virtual reality, animation, audience reaction measurement, and others. We began our research at Carnegie Mellon University developing state-of-the-art computer vision and machine learning algorithms for facial image analysis. Over time, we have successfully developed and integrated this cutting-edge technology into battery-friendly and efficient mobile applications, and also created new applications of this technology”.

The CMU Portugal Program PI also added that the team is “thrilled” about “taking a big step forward by joining the team at Facebook”, and will be able to “advance work at an incredible scale, reaching people from across the globe”. The team also thanked CMU and their clients “for their trust and support” and highlighted that they “couldn’t have made it this far without them.”

November 2016

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VR2Market: Towards a Mobile Wearable Health Surveillance Monitoring Product for First Response and other Hazardous Professions

VR2Market is one of the CMU Portugal Program’s Entrepreneurial Research Initiatives, that aims to be the consolidation of an already long and successful line of R&D. Their mission is to foster the possibility of bringing to the international market results from over five years of joint research on wearable vital signs and ambient parameter sensing. João Paulo Cunha and Fernando De la Torre are the PIs in Portugal and at CMU, respectively. VR2Market is carried out in the auspices of the CMU Portugal Program, funded by FCT, and involves several institutions, namely: Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência; Instituto de Telecomunicações; University of Aveiro; CMU; Biodevices; Hospital de Gaia, Petratex; and Future Cities – University of Porto.