The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance in technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Medical Devices: AI assisted NMR spectroscopy.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

150+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, AI-assisted radiology, motion artefact analysis, and treatment evaluation models are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. MRI image smoothing, AI-assisted EHR/EMR, and AI-assisted CT imaging are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are computer-assisted surgeries and 3D endoscopy, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the medical devices industry

AI-assisted NMR spectroscopy is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Nuclear magnetic spectroscopy (NMR) is an analytical technique that is used to diagnose certain diseases, principally through the area of metabolomics. Metabolomics is the analysis of metabolites from bodily fluids, such as blood, and is useful for the diagnosis of metabolic diseases, and represents a new field in Precision Medicine. Spectroscopic data collected from NMR spectroscopy is analysed using AI, allowing more precise and accurate analysis.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI-assisted NMR spectroscopy.

Key players in AI-assisted NMR spectroscopy – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to AI-assisted NMR spectroscopy

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Siemens 84 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 74 Unlock company profile
Enlitic 58 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 47 Unlock company profile
Hyperfine Research 34 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 30 Unlock company profile
Cleerly 28 Unlock company profile
Canon 23 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 22 Unlock company profile
Kheiron Medical Technologies 21 Unlock company profile
Olympus 20 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 19 Unlock company profile
Vektor Medical 18 Unlock company profile
Cosmo Pharmaceuticals 17 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 16 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 14 Unlock company profile
Stryker 13 Unlock company profile
Nikon 12 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 10 Unlock company profile
Neurophet 10 Unlock company profile
Terumo 10 Unlock company profile
General Electric 9 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 8 Unlock company profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 8 Unlock company profile
Fuel 3D Technologies 8 Unlock company profile
Healthy io 8 Unlock company profile
ADM Diagnostics 8 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence 7 Unlock company profile
Koh Young Technology 7 Unlock company profile
Hologic 7 Unlock company profile
Darmiyan 7 Unlock company profile
Heuron 6 Unlock company profile
Adiuvo Diagnostics Pvt 6 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 6 Unlock company profile
VIDA Diagnostics 6 Unlock company profile
Carestream Dental Technology Topco 6 Unlock company profile
Dermala 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Enlitic is one of the leading patent filers in AI-assisting NMR spectroscopy. Other key patent filers in the medical devices industry include Hyperfine Research, Koh Young Technology, Neurophet, Kheiron Medical Technologies, Tencent Holdings and Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence.

In terms of application diversity, Enlitic leads, followed by Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence and Tencent Holdings, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Koh Young Technology held the top position, followed by Kheiron Medical Technologies and Neurophet.

The objective of precision medicine is to diagnose and treat patients taking into account variability in the genome, the molecular phenotype, and the effects of the environment and lifestyle on the individual. Metabolomics is still a nascent field and is broadly defined as the comprehensive measurement of all metabolites and low-molecular-weight molecules in a biological specimen. The huge number of metabolites identified in humans requires additive technologies such as AI in order to fully utilise the huge potential of NMR spectroscopy. Development and refinement of AI will enable metabolomics to become a feature in the pathology laboratory, alongside clinical genomics.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.