Research and innovation in robotics in the medical sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of robotics related patent applications in the industry stood at 109 in the three months ending February – down from 150 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to robotics followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 109 in the three months ending February 2021 to 78 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Robotics is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Medtronic Plc was the top robotics innovator in the medical sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in Ireland, filed 24 robotics related patents in the three months ending February. That was up from 16 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the United States based Johnson & Johnson with 17 robotics patent applications, the United States based Globus Medical Inc (15 applications), and the United States based Intuitive Surgical Inc (13 applications).

Medtronic Plc has recently ramped up R&D in robotics. It saw growth of 33.3% in related patent applications in the three months ending February compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the medical sector.