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. Buy the report here.

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.

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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.