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 Robotics in Medical Devices: Robotic Biopsy Endoscope.

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, HUDs for surgical navigation, robotic biopsy endoscope, and camera-guided surgical robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Robotic exoskeleton, surgical robots, and robotic catheters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are robotic lower limb rehabilitation and microfluidic Lab-on-a-chip, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the medical devices industry

Robotic biopsy endoscope is a key innovation area in robotics

Robotic biopsy endoscopes are typically used in diagnostics and minimally invasive treatments to extract tissue for biopsy. A robotic arm attached to the endoscope aids in tissue extraction. These devices are a preferred choice as they help minimise the side effects associated with traditional endoscopic biopsy devices.

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 robotic biopsy endoscope.

Key players in robotic biopsy endoscope – 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 robotic biopsy endoscope

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Medtronic 201 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 141 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 108 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 84 Unlock company profile
Olympus 47 Unlock company profile
Globus Medical 46 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 26 Unlock company profile
Medical Microinstruments 23 Unlock company profile
Creo Medical Group 19 Unlock company profile
General Electric 17 Unlock company profile
Siemens 17 Unlock company profile
Merit Medical Systems 13 Unlock company profile
Quantum Surgical 12 Unlock company profile
Waters 11 Unlock company profile
Broncus Medical 11 Unlock company profile
Canon 10 Unlock company profile
CairnSurgical 10 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 9 Unlock company profile
Micrima 7 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 6 Unlock company profile
Rfemb Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Perfint Healthcare Pvt 5 Unlock company profile
Advanced Medical Diagnostics Holding 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Medtronic is one of the leading patent filers in the field of robotic biopsy endoscopes. Some other key patent filers in the field include Johnson & Johnson, Intuitive Surgical, and Koninklijke Philips.

In terms of application diversity, BrainLAB leads the pack, followed by Waters and Koninklijke Philips. By means of geographic reach, Merit Medical Systems held the top position, followed by Creo Medical Group and Rfemb Holdings in the second and third spots, respectively.

Owing to their active movability and precision, procedures performed with robotic biopsy endoscopes help overcome persistent pain in the target area, risks associated with perforation, reduced internal bleeding, and infection. These advantages are expected to result in an increase in screenings and lead to timely treatment.

To further understand how robotics is disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics in Medical (2021).


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.