Apple has reportedly acquired Emotient, a company specializing in using artificial intelligence to read people's emotions through analyzing facial expressions. Emotient previously worked with advertisers to measure how consumers responded to ads. This is just one of several AI-related hires or acquisitions that Apple has made in the past few months.

From The Wall Street Journal:

It isn't clear what Apple plans to do with Emotient's technology, which was primarily sold to advertisers to help assess viewer reactions to their ads. Doctors also have tested it to interpret signs of pain among patients unable to express themselves, and a retailer used it to monitor shoppers' facial expressions in store aisles, the company had said.

When asked about the purchase, an Apple spokeswoman apparently gave the company's standard line, that "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Apple has recently been stepping up its efforts in the artificial intelligence space, making hires from companies like NVIDIA. We've also seen some of the company's AI work in consumer products, with iOS 9 featuring a more intelligent Siri assistant.

Source: The Wall Street Journal