Apple Vision ProPatents

Apple patent filing involves ‘eye-gazed based biofeedback’ on a Vision Pro

FIG. 1 illustrates a device displaying a visual experience and obtaining physiological data from a user.

Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230259203 A1) for “eye-gazed based biofeedback” for the upcoming Vision Pro.

The US$3,499 (and up) Spatial Computer was announced at June’s Worldwide Developer Conference. However, it won’t go on sale until early 2024 — and, then, apparently in limited quantities.

The patent filing generally relates to displaying content with electronic devices, and in particular, to systems, methods, and devices to determine a user’s attentive state during the displaying of the content. Apple notes that aA user’s cognitive state and more specifically a user’s attentive state, while viewing content on an electronic device, can have a significant effect on the user’s experience. 

For example, staying focused and engaged while using the Vision Pro in an extended reality (XR) environment may be required for meaningful experiences, such as meditation, learning a new skill, watching educational or entertaining content, or reading a document. Improved techniques for assessing the attentive states of users viewing and interacting with content may enhance a user’s enjoyment, comprehension, and learning of the content. 

What’s more, content may not be presented in a way that makes sense to a particular user. Apple says that content creators and display systems may be able to provide better and more tailored user experiences that a user is more likely to enjoy, comprehend, and learn from based on being able to determine the user’s cognitive state.

Apple’s idea is for devices, systems, and methods that determine an attentive state of a user during an experience (e.g., visual and/or auditory content that could include real-world physical environment, virtual content, or a combination of each) based on the user’s gaze characteristic(s) to enhance the experience. 

Eye gaze patterns can vary based on the attention state of an individual and characteristics of the scene in front of him or her. Apple’s idea is for these patterns to be obtained while using a Vision Pro with eye tracking technology while users perform mindfulness tasks that demand varying levels of attention, such as focused attention to breath meditation. 

For example, over the course of a meditation session, attention can fluctuate towards and away from the breath. When an individual focuses on his or her breath during an eyes-open meditation task, eye gaze may be slow in time and constrained to a particular area of the scene. When the individual loses focus and starts to mind wander, eye gaze stability may decrease and/or eye gaze velocity may increase. 

Observing repeated measures of eye gaze velocity and position over a duration of time (seconds to minutes) can give insights about the underlying attention state of the user at different time scales. These metrics of attention can be used to provide feedback during a meditation experience.

Other examples of experiences other than a meditation experience can utilize the techniques in the patent filing. For example, an education experience could notify a student to stay on track when he or she appears to be mind wandering. Another example may be a workplace experience of notifying a worker who needs to be focused on his or her current task at hand. 

For example, providing feedback to a surgeon who may be getting a little tired during a long surgery, alerting a truck driver on a long drive he or she is losing focus and may need to pull over to sleep, and the like. Apple says the techniques described in the patent filing can be customized to any user and experience that may need some type of feedback mechanism to maintain one or more particular attentional states.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.