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 Environment Sustainability in Medical Devices: Driver health monitoring. 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, robotic 3D bio-printing and 3D printed prosthesis are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Sharps disposal containers, biomedical 3D printing, and tooth 3D printing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bio-compatible surgical adjuncts and bio-active prosthesis sealing, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the medical devices industry

Driver health monitoring is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Driver health monitoring systems are one of the safety measures to keep a track of driver’s glucose, blood pressure, stress, and heart rate in real time through sensors, wearable devices, and cameras while driving an automobile. This is typically done through the steering wheel, although other methods of collection are beginning to become more common.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of driver health monitoring.

Key players in driver health monitoring– 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 driver health monitoring

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Hyundai Motor Group 64 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 61 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 49 Unlock company profile
Kia 47 Unlock company profile
Denso 31 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 30 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 27 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 24 Unlock company profile
LG 21 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 18 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 15 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 12 Unlock company profile
TS Tech 11 Unlock company profile
Mercedes-Benz Group 10 Unlock company profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 10 Unlock company profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 9 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 8 Unlock company profile
Union Tool 8 Unlock company profile
General Motors 7 Unlock company profile
Smart Eye 7 Unlock company profile
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung 7 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 7 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Zeppelin-Stiftung 6 Unlock company profile
ResMed 6 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 6 Unlock company profile
AB Volvo 6 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 5 Unlock company profile
Valeo 5 Unlock company profile
Yamaha Motor 5 Unlock company profile
Kyocera 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hyundai Motor Group is one of the leading patent filers for driver health monitoring. Some other key patent filers in the field include Honda Motor and Ford Motor.

In terms of application diversity, Smart Eye leads the pack, followed by Kia and Honda Motor. By means of geographic reach, Huawei Investment & Holding holds the top position, followed by Yamaha Motor and Nissan Motor, in the second and third spots, respectively.

Driver health monitoring systems can help in readily identifying health concerns, such as cardiac arrest, and alert the concerned party so that assistance could be provided to the driver at the earliest. Future advancements in the technology may ensure continuous monitoring of the driver’s health safety despite bad environmental conditions or when they are in no-network zones.

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.