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 of 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 Internet of Things in Medical Devices: Ingestible sensors.

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, ingestible sensors, wireless gastric stimulation devices, and remote nerve stimulation devices are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Dosage monitoring inhalators, programmable infusion pumps, and athletic monitoring sensors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are blood glucose sensors and medical emergency response systems, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for internet of things in the medical devices industry

Indigestible sensors is a key innovation area in internet of things

Ingestible sensors are small, capsuled devices capable of gathering data about the state of gastrointestinal health and associated disorders upon consumption. Images, core temperature values, pH measurements, pressure readings, and chemical components like enzymes, hormones, and metabolites can be captured and sent over the internet to remote monitoring systems. These devices are replacing standard health monitoring devices as they run on less power, while being non-invasive, highly sensitive, reliable, and selective.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of indigestible sensors.

Key players in indigestible sensors – 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 ingestible sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Biora Therapeutics 105 Unlock company profile
Rani Therapeutics Holdings 81 Unlock company profile
Vibrant 33 Unlock company profile
Dare Bioscience 28 Unlock company profile
Olympus 19 Unlock company profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 18 Unlock company profile
InCube Labs 18 Unlock company profile
Medimetrics Personalized Drug Delivery 17 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 16 Unlock company profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 16 Unlock company profile
EarLens 14 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 14 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 14 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 12 Unlock company profile
Stryker 11 Unlock company profile
West View Research 11 Unlock company profile
Otsuka Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Gearbox 6 Unlock company profile
Bionaut Labs 5 Unlock company profile
Ankon Medical Technologies 5 Unlock company profile
Rock West Medical Devices 5 Unlock company profile
Pop Test 5 Unlock company profile
NinePoint Medical 5 Unlock company profile
Check-Cap 5 Unlock company profile
Rainbow Medical 5 Unlock company profile
Kibur Medical 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Biora Therapeutics is the leading patent filer in the indigestible sensors market. Some other leading patent filers include Rani Therapeutics, Vibrant, and Dare Bioscience.

In terms of application diversity, Rani Therapeutics leads the pack, followed by Medimetrics Personalized Drug Delivery and Otsuka. By means of geographic reach, Rani Therapeutics held the top position, followed by NinePoint Medical and Novo Nordisk Foundation in the second and third spots, respectively.

The ingestible sensors market is expected to grow throughout the forecast period, due to an increase in population and incidence of gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, a growing preference for minimally invasive procedures among patients and doctors is also contributing to the growth of this market.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 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.