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Adela started Emoface in 2020. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Emoface?
I am a Computer Science researcher and in 2013 I was doing my Ph.D. in the field of Affective Computing when I first had the idea of creating Emoface. I was studying how people use gestures and speech to express emotions, with the objective of using AI to create emotional avatars that are capable of expressing the analyzed emotions. During this time I found a study conducted by psychology researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, who used videos with people expressing emotions to train emotion recognition for adults with autism.
One thing I cannot stress enough is the importance of communication and finding opportunities to present my company. Word of mouth is what helped me meet my cofounder and our clinical advisor.
This is how I found out about the social interaction deficits in autism. I also realized that the same method of learning could be more effective if it used easily controllable visual content that could be adapted to the users' needs. To learn and generalize a new skill, autistic people require a lot of visual content and developing a tool that generates expressive 3D animations seemed like something useful for health professionals.
I have to add that at this point I had no entrepreneurial and not even industry experience. I had always been passionate about computer vision, games, the use of technology for social impact, especially in the fields of health and education, and about understanding how the brain works. Combined with a shy personality and a history of difficulties in social situations, I clearly empathized with people who faced deficits in social interactions and was very interested in developing new methods for training and evaluating social skills.
I was, therefore, determined to create a solution by applying the tech developed during my studies. After finishing my Ph.D. and postdoc, the project was accepted by an incubator that transfers tech developed in research labs, who accompanied me through the first market studies and helped me train entrepreneurship skills. In 2017 I met my co-founder, Mayra, a UX/UI designer specialized in apps for autism, whose little sister is on the autistic spectrum. Together we created a few prototypes that we could showcase in a few conferences and the response was clear: there is an urgent need for socio-emotional training tools.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater