Apple Considering Using Vision Pro Headset for Mental Health

According to people familiar with the matter, Apple is considering using its mixed reality headset Vision Pro for diagnosing and treating mental health problems. This would be a new use for the headset, which was released in June 2023 and is currently positioned primarily as a work and entertainment tool.

The Vision Pro uses cameras and sensors to track a person's facial expressions, eye movements, and other physiological data. This data could be used to develop algorithms that can detect signs of depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The headset could also be used to display images and sounds that have been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of these conditions.

Currently, there are regulations that restrict companies from promoting medical features in their devices without regulatory approval. However, Apple has obtained some approvals from regulators in the past, such as for the Apple Watch's heart rate monitoring feature. If Apple is able to obtain regulatory approval for the use of the Vision Pro in mental health, it could be a significant breakthrough in the field.

Apple has not yet announced any plans to use the Vision Pro for mental health, but the fact that the company is considering this possibility is a sign of the growing interest in using virtual reality and augmented reality for therapeutic purposes. A number of startups are already developing VR and AR apps for mental health, and Apple's entry into this market could help to accelerate its adoption.

The Vision Pro is scheduled to go on sale in early 2024 for $3,499. It is not clear if Apple plans to release a dedicated version of the headset for mental health professionals, or if it will simply make the same features available to all users.

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