Affectiva Team

Dr. Rana el Kaliouby and Dr. Rosalind Picard
Affectiva, now part of the Smart Eye group, is on a mission to humanize technology, bridging the gap between humans and machines. Founded by visionary scientists Dr. Rana el Kaliouby and Dr. Rosalind Picard, Affectiva spun out of the MIT Media Lab in 2009. Affectiva created and defined the new technology category of Emotion AI, and evangelized its many uses across industries.

SmartEye and Affectiva

Affectiva was venture-backed and raised $53 million in capital from leading investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Horizon Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital and WPP. 

In 2021, Smart Eye acquired Affectiva. We merged our companies to create a transatlantic AI juggernaut that will lead and accelerate the growth and development of the rapidly evolving automotive Interior Sensing market, as well as the Media Analytics and Research markets. 

Over the years, Affectiva has been recognized as an innovative AI startup and we are proud to have received many awards and accolades — including CB Insights AI 100, Forbes AI 50: America’s Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies, Fortune Top 50 Companies leading the AI revolution.

Award Logos

A scientist turned entrepreneur and best-selling author, Rana el Kaliouby, one of few women leading an AI company, is widely seen as an AI thought leader and advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech and leadership. She’s a TED speaker, and co-host of a PBS NOVA series on AI. Rana has also been recognized on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list and as one of Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech.

Emotion AI Illustrations

Affectiva’s industry leading Emotion AI detects nuanced human emotions, complex cognitive states, activities, interactions and objects people use. Our technology has been developed by applying our deep expertise in machine learning, computer vision, and the acquisition and annotation of massive amounts of real-world data. Always done with a focus on the ethical development and deployment of AI. As a startup, Affectiva focused on productizing its technology for the following markets: Media Analytics  and Automotive.

Woman working on computer


Affectiva’s Media Analytics division helps media, entertainment, and market research companies gain a deeper understanding of how consumers and audiences engage with their content, products and services. Today our Media Analytics solutions are used by 90 percent of the world’s largest advertisers, and 26 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies.


Woman driving


Affectiva broadened its technology to automotive interior sensing, using machine learning and computer vision to gain a deep, human-centric understanding of what’s happening in a vehicle. Affectiva’s AI is now part of Smart Eye’s automotive solutions, enabling leading car manufacturers to build next-generation vehicles that understands the state of the driver and occupants in it.


Now that we are part of the Smart Eye Group, we’ll continue to invest in the many applications of Emotion AI in media analytics, automotive, and beyond.