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 the growing importance of 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 Innovation in Medical Devices: Optical stimulation sleeping aids.

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

Optical stimulation sleeping aids is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Optical stimulation is a neural stimulation technique used to manage nervous system conditions, such as insomnia and sleep-wake cycle, by precisely generating stimuli in a discrete population of neural receptors. It can be performed using infrared neural stimulation (INS) or genetic modification of neurons, a method called optogenetics. It will replace the electrical stimulation technique as it allows fine control over neural stimulation and reduces current dissipation to insignificant receptors, thereby improving the therapeutic effect on the targeted region.

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 optical stimulation sleeping aids.

Key players in optical stimulation sleeping aids – 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 optical stimulation sleeping aids

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Magic Leap 115 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 62 Unlock company profile
Signify 43 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 38 Unlock company profile
Delos Living 32 Unlock company profile
Light Field Lab 29 Unlock company profile
Korrus 28 Unlock company profile
Cognito Therapeutics 23 Unlock company profile
JK-Holding 20 Unlock company profile
BrainLit 19 Unlock company profile
Equilume 15 Unlock company profile
LG 15 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 13 Unlock company profile
Apira Science 13 Unlock company profile
Valkee 12 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 11 Unlock company profile
Sensai 8 Unlock company profile
SD Biosensor 8 Unlock company profile
Getinge 8 Unlock company profile
EBS Technologies 8 Unlock company profile
Tsubota Laboratory 7 Unlock company profile
Soniphi 7 Unlock company profile
Braintrain 2020 7 Unlock company profile
Amorepacific Group 6 Unlock company profile
MicroTransponder 6 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Lockheed Martin 5 Unlock company profile
Dopavision 5 Unlock company profile
CareGroup 5 Unlock company profile
ResMed 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Magic Leap is the leading patent filer in the field of optical stimulation sleeping aids. Some other leading patent filers include Koninklijke Philips, Signify and Johnson & Johnson.   

In terms of application diversity, Magic Leap leads the pack, followed by Light Field Lab and CareGroup. By means of geographic reach, Apira Science holds the top position, followed by Sensai and Tsubota Laboratory in the second and third spots, respectively.

With more people facing sleep disorders due to factors, such as lifestyle changes and stress, demand for these devices is growing. Continuous advancements in technology and proper integration of the same into optical stimulation sleeping aids will further improve the precision and specificity of neurostimulation, thereby enhancing efficacy.

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.