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The integration of robotics into medical devices has seen explosive growth in recent years with new applications in areas such as prosthetics and rehabilitation, surgical, and even drug-delivery devices. A new report predicts that the medical robotics market will reach more than $9 billion in 2022.

Yole Développement, a market research and strategy consulting company, has identified robotics as a major contributor to the evolution of the healthcare industry and its needs as the industry seeks ways to meet related technology challenges.

In its report, “Medical Robotics Technology & Market Analysis,” the researchers note that the medical robotics market will experience an impressive 17 percent CAGR, from $3.7 billion in 2016 to $9.3 billion in 2022.

“This growth will be mainly driven by the surgical robots segment, which represents about 94 percent of the medical robotics market in revenue in 2016,” says Dr. Marjorie Villien, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. “However, due to a big difference in average selling price, rehabilitation and prosthetics robots, along with hospital and ambulatory care robots, represented 87 percent in terms of units sold.”

The report also delves into the drivers behind this growth, particularly the importance of sensor technology being critical for a robot to function and sense its environment. Of note are position and torque sensors for the articulations; gyroscopes and accelerometers for positioning and moving parts; pressure sensors, image sensors, surface electromyography, and neuronal implants as a trigger signal for exoskeletons; and many other sensor types. For rehabilitation robotics and prosthetics, for example, the report examines how different sensor strategies can be used separately or combined (e.g., dynamic control with torque and force sensors) so that “a single rehabilitation robot can embed dozens of sensors.”

According to the report, a major component of medical robotics technology is rehabilitation robotics, noting that people affected by spinal cord injury, stroke, and neurodegenerative disease could greatly benefit from robotics technology. It points to huge market potential for powered exoskeletons, rehabilitation robots and orthotics, and artificial limbs.

“Rehabilitation robotics and smart prosthetics are very dynamic fields,” says the report, “with established players like Hocoma leading the market along with many newcomers in the field of powered exoskeletons for upper and lower limbs. With the first exoskeletons (ReWalk Robotics, Ekso Bionics) now FDA approved for certain conditions, the market is booming thanks to equipment leasing to rehabilitation centers and the emergence of personal-use systems.”

And so it appears that the robot is poised to bring exciting changes to many areas of medical technology.

Sherrie Trigg

Editor and Director of Medical Content

Note: To obtain a copy of the report, go to www.yole.fr.