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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 Internet of Things in Medical Devices: Sensor integrated prosthesis. Buy the report here.

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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

Sensor integrated prosthesis is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Integrating sensors at the point where a prosthetic meets the wearer's tissue generates data about its functioning and comfort, such as pressure across the wearer's tissue. The technology has replaced conventional methods of manufacturing prostheses based on the age and requirements of patients as the data provided is used to improve future iterations, leading to more affordable electric-powered prosthetics.

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 sensor integrated prosthesis.

Key players in sensor integrated prosthesis – 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 sensor integrated prosthesis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 90 Unlock Company Profile
Implantica Patent 66 Unlock Company Profile
Milux Holding 57 Unlock Company Profile
Canary Medical 39 Unlock Company Profile
UroMems 27 Unlock Company Profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 26 Unlock Company Profile
W. L. Gore & Associates 25 Unlock Company Profile
GraftWorx 24 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 19 Unlock Company Profile
Foundry Innovation & Research 1 18 Unlock Company Profile
Fulfillium 17 Unlock Company Profile
Gearbox 11 Unlock Company Profile
Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris 10 Unlock Company Profile
Endotronix 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vactronix Scientific 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vesiflo 8 Unlock Company Profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 8 Unlock Company Profile
Lape Medical Societe Par Actions Simplifiee 8 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 7 Unlock Company Profile
Smith & Nephew 7 Unlock Company Profile
Truffle Capital 6 Unlock Company Profile
Strathspey Crown 6 Unlock Company Profile
Elenza 6 Unlock Company Profile
BoneTag 5 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 5 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sensome 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in the field of sensor integrated prosthesis. Some other key patent filers in the field include Implantica Patent and Milux Holding.

In terms of application diversity, Endotronix Inc leads the pack, followed by International Business Machines (IBM) and Milux Holding. By means of geographic reach, Implantica Patent holds the top position, followed by BoneTag and Emerson Electric in the second and third spots, respectively.

The internet allows the monitoring of the data generated by sensor-integrated prosthesis in real-time by the patient, healthcare providers, and prostheses manufacturers. This physiological data can be used to develop treatment plans and training programs to treat injuries, along with reducing the breakage of the device. This will reduce the burden of cost for patients and the healthcare system because they will not have as many repeated hospital visits and will be able to improve device fit and care at home rather than entering the healthcare system at a time when it is increasingly overloaded.

The companies are currently focused on developing artificial intelligence algorithms to identify patterns in sensor input indicative of patient discomfort associated with prosthetic use and improving sensor design and packaging suitable for all types of environments, including high temperatures, humidity levels, and repetitive pressure patterns.

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.