Your next Fitbit or Pixel Watch could monitor your mental health


What you need to know

  • The U.S. patent office granted Fitbit a patent for “Determining mental health and cognitive state through physiological and other non-invasively obtained data.”
  • Fitbit says it can use machine learning to assess if someone has a mental disorder, such as depression. 
  • The patent shows game apps on a smartwatch meant to reveal one’s mental state.
  • Fitbit filed the patent in late 2021 but only received approval in January 2024. 

Fitbit and parent company Google just received patent rights for the concept of measuring or screening your mental health using data from your smartwatch or smartphone. The concept sounds very well-meaning, but also like a bit of a privacy nightmare.

Originally filed in 2021, the patent notes that “physiological variables” such as “heart rate, sleep data, activity level, [and] gamification data” can be used “to screen for and predict mental health issues and cognitive states.”


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