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, and 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 Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality in Medical Devices: AR/VR medical image visualization
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.
AR/VR medical image visualisation is a key innovation area in augmented reality/virtual reality
Medical images can be visualised in an augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) environment. Doctors can view and evaluate medical images in these settings in a more interactive manner.
VR and AR are being applied in healthcare for the advanced representation of complex anatomy in medical imaging and procedural guidance. A person’s field of view is enhanced by augmented reality by fusing images there. These techniques for advanced image visualisation are thought to enhance surgical planning, provide better intraoperative guidance, and ultimately improve patient care by increasing understanding of anatomy and surgical pathology.
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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AR/VR medical image visualisation.
Key players in AR/VR medical image visualisation – 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 medical image visualization
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Koninklijke Philips||533||Unlock company profile|
|Siemens||322||Unlock company profile|
|Heartflow||282||Unlock company profile|
|Johnson & Johnson||200||Unlock company profile|
|Fujifilm Holdings||183||Unlock company profile|
|Canon||173||Unlock company profile|
|Samsung Group||127||Unlock company profile|
|Medtronic||125||Unlock company profile|
|Stryker||107||Unlock company profile|
|Hitachi||105||Unlock company profile|
|General Electric||94||Unlock company profile|
|Hologic||67||Unlock company profile|
|Align Technology||55||Unlock company profile|
|Toshiba Medical Systems||51||Unlock company profile|
|Dentsply Sirona||49||Unlock company profile|
|Magic Leap||47||Unlock company profile|
|Abbott Laboratories||44||Unlock company profile|
|Toshiba||39||Unlock company profile|
|Planmeca||33||Unlock company profile|
|International Business Machines||32||Unlock company profile|
|Boston Scientific||28||Unlock company profile|
|Synaptive Medical||28||Unlock company profile|
|HCA Healthcare||26||Unlock company profile|
|OnPoint Medical Diagnostics||24||Unlock company profile|
|Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare||24||Unlock company profile|
|Sony Group||22||Unlock company profile|
|Raytheon Technologies||21||Unlock company profile|
|NovaRad||19||Unlock company profile|
|Carl Zeiss Stiftung||19||Unlock company profile|
|Surgical Theater||19||Unlock company profile|
|Globus Medical||17||Unlock company profile|
|Pro Medicus||17||Unlock company profile|
|Episurf Medical||16||Unlock company profile|
|Ziosoft||16||Unlock company profile|
|BrainLAB||16||Unlock company profile|
|PHC Holdings||15||Unlock company profile|
|NuVasive||14||Unlock company profile|
|Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore||13||Unlock company profile|
|Microsoft||13||Unlock company profile|
|DOG Microsystems||13||Unlock company profile|
|NantMobile||12||Unlock company profile|
|Smith & Nephew||11||Unlock company profile|
|Olympus||11||Unlock company profile|
|Panasonic||11||Unlock company profile|
|Agfa-Gevaert||11||Unlock company profile|
|Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics||10||Unlock company profile|
|Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung||10||Unlock company profile|
|adidas||10||Unlock company profile|
|ResMed||9||Unlock company profile|
|Neocis||9||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Koninklijke Philips and Siemens are two of the leading patent filers in AR/VR medical image visualisation. Some other leading patent filers include Heartflow, Johnson & Johnson, Fujifilm Holdings, Canon and Samsung Group.
Digital reality (AR/VR) technologies, which are still in their development, are assisting healthcare professionals in making crucial decisions and saving lives. These innovations could reduce the overall cost of healthcare. Considering this possibility, diagnostic practice for viewing MRI and CT scans may undergo a revolution in the field of healthcare. AR/VR technologies have the potential to significantly alter many traditional healthcare operations and branches, including radiology, oncology, training, and more.
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.