Artificial emotional intelligence, or “emotion AI,” is emerging as a key component of the broader AI movement.

The general idea is this: It’s all very well having machines that can understand and respond to natural-language questions, and even beat humans at games, but until they can decipher non-verbal cues such as vocal intonations, body language, and facial expressions, humans will always have the upper hand in understanding other humans.

And it’s against that backdrop that countless companies are working toward improving computer vision and voice analysis techniques, to help machines detect the intricate and finely balanced emotions of a flesh-and-bones homo sapiens.

One of those companies is Realeyes, a company that helps big brands such as AT, Mars, Hershey’s, and Coca-Cola gauge human emotions through desktop computers’ and mobile devices’ cameras.

The London-based startup, which was founded in 2007, today announced a fresh $12.4 million round of funding from Draper Esprit, the VC arm of Japanese telecom giant NTT Docomo, Japanese VC fund Global Brain, Karma Ventures, and The Entrepreneurs Fund.

Realeyes targets its technology at marketing campaigns, including videos and other creative assets such as photos or GIFs, as part of focus groups.

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