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 Robotics in Medical Devices: Aspiration coupled surgical system.

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, HUDs for surgical navigation, robotic biopsy endoscope, and camera-guided surgical robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Robotic exoskeleton, surgical robots, and robotic catheters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are robotic lower limb rehabilitation and microfluidic lab-on-a-chip, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the medical devices industry

Aspiration coupled surgical system is a key innovation area in robotics

The aspiration-coupled surgical system uses a needle to withdraw tissue or remove unwanted fluids from any area of the body. Surgeons perform an aspiration to diagnose or treat diseases and conditions in inpatient or outpatient settings.

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 10 companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of aspiration coupled surgical system.

Key players in aspiration coupled surgical system – 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 aspiration coupled surgical system

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 1092 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 115 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 42 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 14 Unlock company profile
Waters 11 Unlock company profile
460Medical 9 Unlock company profile
Zidan Medical 9 Unlock company profile
ConMed 6 Unlock company profile
Allied Minds 6 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in the field of aspiration-coupled surgical systems. Some other key patent filers in the field include Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic.

In terms of application diversity, Waters leads the pack, followed by Johnson & Johnson and ConMed. By means of geographic reach, Allied Minds holds the top position, followed by Waters and Medtronic in the second and third spots, respectively. 

Integration of robotics in the aspiration-coupled surgical systems would allow healthcare professionals to perform minimally invasive surgeries with more precision, potentially eliminate the possibility of tremors, and easily execute complex operations, enabling faster recovery for patients and further driving the market for aspiration-coupled surgical systems.

To further understand how robotics is disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics in Medical (2021).


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.