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 of 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: MRI image smoothing.
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
MRI image smoothing is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence
MRI image smoothing allows reduction in fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) data noise by averaging adjacent voxels so as to enhance the signal. The process involves convolving fMRI data with 3D Gaussian Kernel that averages signals from adjacent voxels, thus removing high frequencies with high noise from the signal and enhancing lower frequencies. The optimal Kernel size varies with slice thickness and the need for separation of activation regions. MRI image smoothing offers various advantages such as increased sensitivity by improving signal-to-noise ratio, normalising error distribution, ensuring accurate statistical assumptions and suppresses the influence of anatomical and functional variations across subjects.
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 60 companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of MRI image smoothing.
Key players in MRI image smoothing – 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 MRI image smoothing
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Siemens||383||Unlock company profile|
|Koninklijke Philips||377||Unlock company profile|
|Heartflow||282||Unlock company profile|
|Canon||195||Unlock company profile|
|Hitachi||103||Unlock company profile|
|General Electric||102||Unlock company profile|
|Samsung Group||98||Unlock company profile|
|Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare||96||Unlock company profile|
|Enlitic||57||Unlock company profile|
|Elekta||52||Unlock company profile|
|Hyperfine Research||48||Unlock company profile|
|Toshiba||46||Unlock company profile|
|Arterys||42||Unlock company profile|
|Toshiba Medical Systems||38||Unlock company profile|
|Synaptive Medical||30||Unlock company profile|
|Johnson & Johnson||29||Unlock company profile|
|Intuitive Surgical||29||Unlock company profile|
|Fujifilm Holdings||26||Unlock company profile|
|Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris||22||Unlock company profile|
|Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center||21||Unlock company profile|
|Elbit Imaging||20||Unlock company profile|
|BrainLAB||19||Unlock company profile|
|Subtle Medical||17||Unlock company profile|
|Heuron||16||Unlock company profile|
|Mayo Clinic||15||Unlock company profile|
|International Business Machines||15||Unlock company profile|
|Massachusetts General Hospital||15||Unlock company profile|
|Neurophet||14||Unlock company profile|
|Tel Hashomer Medical Research Infrastructure and Services||14||Unlock company profile|
|Alcon||14||Unlock company profile|
|ASAN Foundation||14||Unlock company profile|
|Tencent Holdings||13||Unlock company profile|
|Medtronic||12||Unlock company profile|
|General Hospital||12||Unlock company profile|
|KinetiCor||12||Unlock company profile|
|BioProtonics||10||Unlock company profile|
|Dai Nippon Printing||10||Unlock company profile|
|Omniscient Neurotechnology||9||Unlock company profile|
|Dragerwerk||9||Unlock company profile|
|Shanghai Neusoft Medical Technologies||9||Unlock company profile|
|Aclarion||9||Unlock company profile|
|Brainvivo||8||Unlock company profile|
|Cedars-Sinai Health System||8||Unlock company profile|
|Carl Zeiss Stiftung||8||Unlock company profile|
|Bayer||7||Unlock company profile|
|Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence||7||Unlock company profile|
|Pie Medical Imaging||7||Unlock company profile|
|Darmiyan||7||Unlock company profile|
|Neusoft||6||Unlock company profile|
|Ramot||6||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Siemens is one of the leading patent filers in the field of MRI imaging smoothing. Some other key patent filers include Koninklijke Philips, Heartflow and Canon.
In terms of application diversity, Enlitic leads the pack followed by Hyperfine Research and Elekta. By means of geographic reach, Intuitive Surgical holds the top position, followed by Brainvivo, Pie Medical Imaging and Elbit Imaging.
Application of AI in MRI image smoothing will standardise reduction in noise and usage of Kernel size through use of fMRI data. This would help produce standard anatomical images along with improved detection of true activation in the sample. This technology has potential to improve many aspects of imaging along with increased practitioner efficiency.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.