Future iPads and iPhones could tell stressed users to calm down

in Future Apple Hardware

Apple is researching how to bring its Apple Vision Pro physiognomy sensor technology to give iPads and iPhones the ability to detect stress in a user.

iPad on wooden surface displaying a message advising to shake the device to alleviate stress, with a white stylus beside it.
What an iPad could do when it detects that its user is stressed

Back in the 1980s, if an original Mac went wrong, it would play the sound of a crash, and display Susan Kare's bomb icon. It was a piece of whimsy that you really, really, really did not appreciate when you'd just lost your work.

Decades on, Apple could be about to make a similarly enraging move, though this time with good intentions. Apple wants to add a new health feature, where a device such as an iPad can tell when you're having a bad day.

A newly-revealed patent application, called just "Stress Detection," is chiefly concerned with how such stress could be determined. But it does make at least some references to what the devices could then do in response.

Apple proposes that devices could "improve a user experience by providing a notification based on an identified stress," which is not in any way going to be irritating. But the device could also provide relaxing content (e.g., meditation virtual content, relaxing music, etc.), which again would be a boon when you're on deadline.

A lit bomb and text saying It's just a horror film. Calm down. with a Whatever button.
This isn't exactly what Apple has in mind, but it could interrupt you with a stress warning at any time

To be clear, it isn't just iPads that might ultimately be smashed against walls. Apple's proposal is for just about any device. Sections of it referring to headsets and virtual environments, for instance, are similar to previous patents regarding the detection of Apple Vision Pro users' physiological state.

Diagram of a stick figure holding a device with a screen, showing lines indicating the figure is viewing and interacting with the screen.
Detail from the patent showing an iPad's Face ID being used for stress detection

This new patent application reads as if it comes from what Apple has learned from making the Apple Vision Pro, such as just what sensors could be used to spot stress. Those include "electro-encephalography (EEG) amplitude, pupil modulation, eye gaze saccades, heart rate, [and] electrodermal activity/skin conductance."

Apple's "Stress Detection" patent application is credited to two inventors. Those include Grant H. Mulliken, who has also worked on attention detection for Apple.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 8
    hodarhodar Posts: 358member
    I have found that telling my wife to calm down, often isn’t quite as effective as one would hope. 

    Telling her to “Put on the Big Girl pants and Man-Up” has a far greater impact.  

    Just trying to be helpful 
  • Reply 2 of 8
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,476member
    Apple may want to move this along to the implementation stage sooner rather than later. November is coming.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,272member
    In the future it will be humans telling an enraged AI to calm down. 
    edited May 23 xyzzy-xxxrjb2112watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    CheeseFreezeCheeseFreeze Posts: 1,281member
    Or, instead fix iPadOS ;-)
  • Reply 5 of 8
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,067member
    Better check the Apple Care fine print when this comes out. Make sure it doesn't have a clause invalidating the service if the device is smashed within 30 seconds of a pop-up telling you to "relax already." 
  • Reply 6 of 8
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 278member
    hodar said:
    I have found that telling my wife to calm down, often isn’t quite as effective as one would hope. 

    Telling her to “Put on the Big Girl pants and Man-Up” has a far greater impact.  

    Just trying to be helpful 
    ....says the divorced man, still recovering from his wounds.
    edited May 23 williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 8
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 278member
    I can hardly wait for the next time I drop my iPad. Will the OS tell me to be calmer and not throw things?
  • Reply 8 of 8
    humbug1873humbug1873 Posts: 138member
    Right makes perfect sense. I try to get things done, am stressed already and then the iPad wants to p*ss me off with this useless dialog window, preferably modal. 

    Kind of makes me wonder how such an iPad reacts when it hits the concrete wall right next to my desk, when it has been thrown with all the force I can generate at that moment. 

    I know iPads are not the biggest sellers, but this could be THE biggest sales push for these things in years.
    edited May 24 williamlondonwatto_cobra
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