TECH

Apple's Vision Pro future brainwave sensors could improve mental and physical health

Any number of sensors, including brain and biometric, maybe be part of future plans to create a headset.

Apple is working on technology that could turn the Apple Vision Pro into a brainwave reading device that will improve mental health, aid in learning and exercise, and help improve mindfulness.

The technology described in this patent will allow Apple Vision Pro— or any future headset— to form a brain-computer interface such as a non-invasive neural interface. Does this mean future Apple AR/VR headsets will be able to read your mind? Yes and no.

This technology will monitor many body systems such as the heart, lungs and areas of the brain. Specifically for the brain, it can help determine whether the brain's learning centers are active or whether brain waves are exhibiting a panic response.

This “neural interface” will not be able to directly read the user's thoughts, but will collect data that will stimulate health-related activities. Just as Apple Watch sensors are used to track workouts, sleep, and heart health, these sensors will increase awareness of a user's activities.

Apple Vision Pro future brainwave monitoring?

Apple also describes a system for monitoring different areas of the brain, such as areas involved in learning, anxiety, visual stimulation, etc. Given the success of current treatments for PTSD that include auditory stimulation, it is easy to imagine a new method of helping trauma patients.

General physical and mental health appears to be key to this patent application. Apple describes systems that use a light-blocking headset design to provide complete immersion. Existing biofeedback technology already blocks ambient light for better focus, and as a result, Apple could create a therapeutic device used by medical practitioners and psychiatrists.

Another likely use is to use sensors to help students and others with neurodivergent learning difficulties improve their concentration and comprehension through feedback.

Built-in sensors for full body detection

Patent describes embedding sensors in headband devices for monitoring different areas of the brain. Headbands effectively detect body temperature, pulse data, breathing rate and blood pressure.

The list of individual sensors that can be integrated into a device is staggering. The presence of a sensor on the list does not mean that it will be in future products, only that Apple is considering all possible use cases. Some sensors, including functional magnetic infrared imaging (FMRI) sensors, are unlikely to appear anytime soon.

The list of technologies that could be included in a future headband is impressive and could open up some amazing uses for AR and VR.

Apple's patent describes how the technology can be used to control guided meditation applications with feedback through a haptic and visual interface. Similar uses of this technology during training seem clear, including workouts that provide real-time biometric feedback on everything from heart rate and blood pressure to muscle contraction and sweat gland activity.

Workouts and physical activity

If you think Fitness+ workouts are integrated c Using Apple Watch, imagine going to a weightlifting workout where your headset tells you whether you're doing the exercises correctly and how much effort is needed to reach your muscle-building goals.

It's easy to imagine a world where professional athletes and aspiring enthusiasts use this technology in practice and recovery. Programs like the popular cycling fitness app Zwift use heart rate and power data to adjust your workout results. Adding blood pressure and stress levels can help turn this into a training and recovery tool.

Sensors built into the headband can read the user's brain activity and body parameters

Although using a device that monitors the brain may seem invasive, it has already been done in applications that appear to be designed to use this technology. The difference is that instead of hooking someone up to customized blood pressure, brain monitoring, and stress-inducing components, a complete diagnostic system can reside inside the headband of an AR/VR headset.

This patent belongs to Javier Mendez, who also has a patent for possible wireless charging battery packs, GPS receivers and other sensors that could be integrated into the Apple Watch band.

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