Apple officials are reportedly considering using the $3,500 Vision Pro augmented reality headset to diagnose and Help mental illness as the tech giant prepares to launch its most anticipated product in years. The Information reported this on Wednesday.
According to people with knowledge of the situation who spoke with The Information, the headset’s numerous sensors and cameras could be used to measure users’ emotions and facial expressions as well as gauge their levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
According to reports, the technology can also assess user’s mobility, track changes in weight, and dilated pupils—possibly in order to identify early indicators of Parkinson’s disease. Apple did not immediately react to a request for confirmation from Forbes. According to reports, the Vision Pro may alleviate user’s tension, sadness, or anxiety by displaying noises and pictures on an inside screen.
The headset’s intended purpose is entertainment, but Apple has previously experimented with mental health issues before. In June, the tech giant added mental health features to its Health app, which lets users of iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches track their moods and keep tabs on their mental health and physical activity.
According to a July Financial Times report citing sources at Apple and Chinese manufacturer Luxshare, which Apple hired to assemble its headset, Apple reportedly slashed its 2024 Vision Pro production forecast due to “difficulties in production,” saying it expects to sell under 400,000 headsets in its first year, despite the hype. Prior to the launch, Apple predicted that it would sell one million units in its first year, drawing parallels with the 1.7 million first-generation iPhones it sold in 2007.
In June, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, revealed the company’s augmented reality headgear. He described the technology as “profound” and stated, “This is a day that’s been years in the making.” With two screens within the headgear and a collection of cameras and sensors, the gadget resembles a pair of ski goggles. Apple calls this technology “spatial computing.”
The Vision Pro comes after the debut of many AR and VR headsets, such as the Quest Pro headset from Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta, the HoloLens from Microsoft, and Project Iris, the AR headset from Google that it intends to deliver early in 2019. As reported by Bloomberg in July, Apple intends to start offering the Vision Pro by appointment in its retail locations. During this time, consumers will receive fittings and instructions on how to operate the headset.
Larger cities like New York City and Los Angeles are expected to see the beginning of that deployment early in 2019. Apple is also working on a less expensive version of its headgear, presumably in an effort to increase accessibility for its Vision Pro.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that a percentage of American adults and teens (ages 13 to 18) experience mental illness. Serious mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, significant depression, or schizophrenia affect around one in every 25 persons in the United States.