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 digitalization. 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 Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality in Medical Devices: AR/VR Eyewear.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 550,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the medical devices industry, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry. 

AR/VR eyewear is a key innovation area in augmented reality/virtual reality

AR/VR eyewear is a head-worn device that creates a virtual or augmented reality environment by projecting a computer-generated image over the user’s sight of the actual world. The headset features an opening that allows the camera to see the surroundings.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AR/VR eyewear.

Key players in AR/VR eyewear – 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 AR/VR eyewear

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Magic Leap 173 Unlock company profile
Tobii 105 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 93 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 67 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 65 Unlock company profile
Apple 51 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 45 Unlock company profile
Jgb Collateral 39 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 33 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 24 Unlock company profile
OnPoint Medical Diagnostics 24 Unlock company profile
Globus Medical 22 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 22 Unlock company profile
Meta Platforms 21 Unlock company profile
Seiko Epson 21 Unlock company profile
Siemens 19 Unlock company profile
Vizzario 18 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 16 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 15 Unlock company profile
Xiaomi 15 Unlock company profile
Surgical Theater 12 Unlock company profile
Beijing Zhigu Rui Tuo Tech 12 Unlock company profile
NovaRad 11 Unlock company profile
Elbit Systems 11 Unlock company profile
Smileyscope 11 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 9 Unlock company profile
Osterhout Group 9 Unlock company profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 8 Unlock company profile
HTC 8 Unlock company profile
Eyefree Assisting Communication 8 Unlock company profile
InteraXon 8 Unlock company profile
Surgalign Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 8 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 8 Unlock company profile
Denso 8 Unlock company profile
FOVE- 8 Unlock company profile
Dentsply Sirona 7 Unlock company profile
Cleveland Clinic Foundation 7 Unlock company profile
Virtual Radiologic 7 Unlock company profile
ArcSoft 7 Unlock company profile
Ricoh 7 Unlock company profile
Pixium Vision 6 Unlock company profile
Alcon 6 Unlock company profile
Thales 6 Unlock company profile
Eyelab 6 Unlock company profile
Legend Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
MindMaze 6 Unlock company profile
Arspectra 5 Unlock company profile
mediVR 5 Unlock company profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Magic Leap is one of the leading patent filers in AR/VR eyewear. Some other leading patent filers include Tobii, Microsoft and Alphabet.

In terms of application diversity, Becton Dickinson leads the pack, followed by Smileyscope and Huawei Investment & Holding. By means of geographic reach, Cleveland Clinic holds the top position, followed by Becton Dickinson and Pixium Vision in second and third spots, respectively.

Research in the AR/VR eyewear field is progressing rapidly as interest from both academia and the healthcare industry in the field is growing. Further technological advancements to improve the field of view, resolution, eye box size, and ease of manufacturing will expand their applications.

To further understand how augmented reality is disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Augmented Reality in 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.