The Future. Company insiders say Apple is working on using the mixed-reality device’s cameras and sensors to diagnose mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. That’s a major leap in functionality that still needs to undergo significant clinical testing, governmental approval, and privacy assurances before it can be used that way. But with mental health being one of Apple’s four pillars of its health ambitions (along with nutrition, exercise, and sleep), expect the company to pour immense resources into making it a reality.
Apple may be planning to expand its health innovations to its upcoming Vision Pro headset.
- The Information reports the company would potentially leverage the device’s eye-tracking features to gauge mental health, clocking things like facial expressions and pupil dilation.
- It would also use external cameras and microphones to measure a person’s “affect” (how they express emotions), which psychologists use to determine conditions like autism and schizophrenia.
- Apple would then roll out features to help treat some of these issues, such as different light and sound therapies.
There’s no timeline (or even confirmation) for if and when Apple will debut these capabilities. The company’s Vision Pro team has already hired mental health experts to consult on the features.
None of this is new territory for Apple, which has beefed up its devices’ health-tracking benefits, especially the Apple Watch — getting clearance from regulators for things like its EKG feature. But its blood-oxygen tracker and pulse oximeter don’t yet have approval (and may not need it).
Using the Vision Pro to measure mental health conditions professionally would likely require many more clinical trials and governmental approval before it’s ready for action.