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 Innovation in Medical Devices: Neurostimulation therapy.

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, neurostimulation therapy, smart physiotherapy devices, and real-time IR thermographic imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Precision radiotherapy, electric atomisers, and bio-active prosthesis coating are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bioresorbable stent coating and cryogenic tissue treatment, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Neurostimulation therapy is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Neurostimulation therapy, also called as spinal cord stimulation therapy, provides pain relief by blocking the pain signals between the spinal cord and the brain. The therapy involves the placement of a fully implantable, reversible system, and once implanted, patients can control their level of stimulation with a handheld device. 

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of neurostimulation therapy.

Key players in neurostimulation therapy – 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 neurostimulation therapy

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips 385 Unlock company profile
Omron 133 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 115 Unlock company profile
Bose 81 Unlock company profile
Aliphcom 78 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 62 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 46 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 40 Unlock company profile
ResMed 36 Unlock company profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 30 Unlock company profile
General Motors 29 Unlock company profile
Advanced Brain Monitoring 26 Unlock company profile
Yamaha 26 Unlock company profile
Bryte Labs 25 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 24 Unlock company profile
Cognito Therapeutics 23 Unlock company profile
Fresenius 22 Unlock company profile
LG 21 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 20 Unlock company profile
Nokia 19 Unlock company profile
Dymedix 18 Unlock company profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 16 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 15 Unlock company profile
Sana Health 15 Unlock company profile
Dreem 15 Unlock company profile
Akili 14 Unlock company profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 14 Unlock company profile
InteraXon 14 Unlock company profile
Soniphi 14 Unlock company profile
Daikin Industries 13 Unlock company profile
Intel 13 Unlock company profile
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 13 Unlock company profile
Oracle 13 Unlock company profile
Withings 13 Unlock company profile
Hyundai Motor Group 12 Unlock company profile
TS Tech 12 Unlock company profile
Ebb Therapeutics 12 Unlock company profile
Gearbox 12 Unlock company profile
Apollo Neuroscience 11 Unlock company profile
Smileyscope 11 Unlock company profile
Kia 10 Unlock company profile
Kyocera 10 Unlock company profile
Team Turquoise 10 Unlock company profile
Oncomfort 9 Unlock company profile
Bodyfriend 9 Unlock company profile
Keeson Technology 9 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 9 Unlock company profile
General Electric 9 Unlock company profile
Braintrain 2020 9 Unlock company profile
InCube Labs 9 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips is one of the leading patent filers in the field of neurostimulation therapy. Some other key patent filers include Omron and Magic Leap.

In terms of application diversity, Apollo Neuroscience leads the pack, followed by Bodyfriend and Keeson Technology. By means of geographic reach, Omron Tateisi Electronics holds the top position, followed by Keeson Technology and Oncomfort in the second and third spots, respectively.

Owing to the continuous innovation of new products/technology, enhancement of existing products, growing ageing population, limited side effects, and the increasing incidence of neurological disorders, the neurostimulators market is expected to grow at a decent rate in the coming future. However, the availability of non-invasive devices that carry out similar functions but have lower risks associated with treatment may act as a threat to 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.