The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, and growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality (AR), 5G and digitalization. In the last three years alone, there have been over 710,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Virtual and augmented reality in medical: AR-based medical imagingBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 155,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the medical devices industry, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

AR-based medical imaging is a key innovation area in virtual and augmented reality

AR-based medical imaging is the use of augmented reality technology to enhance medical imaging and visualization. This approach allows for the display of three-dimensional medical images in real-world environments, allowing medical professionals to visualize and manipulate these images in a more intuitive and interactive way.

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 240+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AR-based medical imaging.

Key players in AR-based medical imaging – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to AR-based medical imaging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips 576 Unlock Company Profile
Heartflow 336 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 269 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens Healthineers 262 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 199 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 157 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 156 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 145 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 125 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 118 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 103 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 95 Unlock Company Profile
Align Technology 75 Unlock Company Profile
Hologic 69 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 64 Unlock Company Profile
Dentsply Sirona 57 Unlock Company Profile
Magic Leap 54 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba Medical Systems 52 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 50 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 46 Unlock Company Profile
Planmeca 37 Unlock Company Profile
Synaptive Medical 36 Unlock Company Profile
GE HealthCare Technologies 35 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 32 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Scientific 31 Unlock Company Profile
OnPoint Medical Diagnostics 30 Unlock Company Profile
Episurf Medical 30 Unlock Company Profile
Globus Medical 28 Unlock Company Profile
Surgical Theater 27 Unlock Company Profile
HCA Healthcare 27 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 25 Unlock Company Profile
NovaRad 25 Unlock Company Profile
Smith & Nephew 23 Unlock Company Profile
Ivoclar Vivadent 20 Unlock Company Profile
Pro Medicus 20 Unlock Company Profile
Terumo 19 Unlock Company Profile
NuVasive 18 Unlock Company Profile
Ziosoft 18 Unlock Company Profile
Healthy io 18 Unlock Company Profile
Intuitive Surgical 17 Unlock Company Profile
NantMobile 17 Unlock Company Profile
Dental Monitoring 16 Unlock Company Profile
PHC 16 Unlock Company Profile
BrainLAB 16 Unlock Company Profile
Medit 16 Unlock Company Profile
ResMed 16 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 15 Unlock Company Profile
DOG Microsystems 14 Unlock Company Profile
Olympus 14 Unlock Company Profile
Omniscient Neurotechnology 14 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips and Heartflow are two of the leading patent filers in AR-based medical imaging. Some other key patent filers in the field include Johnson & Johnson, Siemens Healthineers, and Fujifilm.

In terms of application diversity, ResMed leads the pack, while Stryker and Intuitive Surgical stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Heartflow held the top position, followed by OnPoint Medical Diagnostics and Stryker.

The horizon of AR-based medical imaging is set to expand significantly, driven by the ability to offer real-time, 3D visualization during medical procedures, which enhances accuracy and reduces risks. Furthermore, AR-based medical imaging is anticipated to play a pivotal role in medical education and diagnosis, contributing to better patient care and outcomes. As technology advances, the market will continue to thrive, with increasing adoption by healthcare professionals and institutions, ultimately leading to an overall improvement in healthcare delivery and patient experiences.

To further understand the key Virtual and augmented reality and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Augmented Reality in 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.