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 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 Cloud in Medical Devices: AR/VR Surgical System Interfaces.  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, CT angiography analysis automation, interactive nutrition monitoring and management, and clinical trials management systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Sensor integrated prosthesis, remote health monitoring networks, and AR/VR medical image visualisation are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is the computer assisted surgeries, which is now well established in the industry.  

Innovation S-curve for cloud in the medical devices industry 

AR/VR surgical system interfaces is a key innovation area in cloud

AR/VR surgical system interfaces enable visualisation of target area in an augmented or virtual reality environment. This technology replaces the conventional method in which a surgeon uses 2D diagnostic images on display monitors to create a 3D mental image to perform his task. These interfaces not only provide better understanding of patient specific complex anatomy precisely and perform surgery in a more interactive way, but also aid in reducing time and cost for training and providing medical assistance in remote areas.

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 AR/VR surgical system interfaces.

Key players in AR/VR surgical system interfaces – 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 surgical system interfaces

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 430 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 141 Unlock company profile
Stryker 140 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 107 Unlock company profile
Globus Medical 79 Unlock company profile
Siemens 53 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 48 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 43 Unlock company profile
EBM 42 Unlock company profile
Olympus 41 Unlock company profile
Alcon 40 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 32 Unlock company profile
Seiko Epson 31 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 29 Unlock company profile
Dentsply Sirona 28 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 28 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 25 Unlock company profile
CMR Surgical 24 Unlock company profile
OnPoint Medical Diagnostics 24 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 23 Unlock company profile
Butterfly Network 22 Unlock company profile
EDDA Technology 21 Unlock company profile
NovaRad 19 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 19 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 19 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 18 Unlock company profile
Vicarious Surgical 18 Unlock company profile
Surgical Theater 18 Unlock company profile
JointVue 17 Unlock company profile
Novartis 17 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 17 Unlock company profile
Aris MD 16 Unlock company profile
Chang Gung Memorial Foundation 15 Unlock company profile
Body Vision Medical 15 Unlock company profile
Cleveland Clinic Foundation 12 Unlock company profile
Elbit Systems 10 Unlock company profile
Roper Technologies 10 Unlock company profile
Nexstim 10 Unlock company profile
NZ Technologies 8 Unlock company profile
Surgalign Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Help Lightning 8 Unlock company profile
Taiwan Main Orthopaedics Biotechnology 7 Unlock company profile
Point Robotics MedTech 7 Unlock company profile
Accenture 7 Unlock company profile
MediView XR 6 Unlock company profile
Danaher 6 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Tietronix Software 6 Unlock company profile
Intelligent Ultrasound Group 6 Unlock company profile
Allm 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in the field of AR/VR surgical system interfaces. Some other key patent filers in the field include Medtronic, Stryker, Koninklijke Philips, Globus Medical and Intuitive Surgical.

In terms of application diversity, Alcon leads the pack, followed by Seiko Epson and Roper Technologies, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Cleveland Clinic held the top position, followed by EBM and Dentsply Sirona in the second and third spots, respectively.

VR/AR surgical interfaces are likely to remain in demand as they have helped surgeons perform procedures in an accurate, safe, and patient-specific way. The continuous advancement of VR/AR tools such as headsets, HUDs, haptic gloves, and, HMD, to facilitate surgeons to navigate complex challenges will improve the surgical success rate and result in decreased morbidity, improved patient outcomes, decreased length of hospital stays as well as other cost benefits.

To further understand how Cloud is disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing in 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.