A medical exoskeleton, also known as a wearable robot, is a robotic machine suite worn by humans in place of their limbs to complement, substitute, and enhance human functions. It helps in physical movements by offering increased strength and endurance.
The Factors such as the increasing number of people with physical disabilities and subsequent growth in the demand for effective rehabilitation approaches; agreements and collaborations among companies and research organizations for the development of the exoskeleton technology; and increasing insurance coverage for medical exoskeletons in several countries driving the growth of the medical exoskeleton market. However, the high cost of medical exoskeletons may restrict market growth to a certain extent.
According to the new market research report “Medical Exoskeleton Market by Component (Hardware (Sensor, Actuator, Control System, Power Source), Software), Type (Powered, Passive), Extremities (Lower, Upper) & Mobility (Mobile, Stationary) – Global Forecast” published by MarketsandMarkets™, is projected to reach USD 571.6 million, at a CAGR of 37.4% during the forecast period.
Growth Opportunity: Introduction of soft actuators;
Currently, the medical exoskeletons industry is focusing on developing soft exoskeletons (without electronic motors and heavy batteries), which augment normal muscle function in healthy individuals for commercial use. Currently, these exoskeletons are available only for research purposes. Such exoskeletons have soft actuators that can be easily driven by an off-board compressor.
Soft exoskeletons are attached to the body securely and comfortably and transmit forces over the body through beneficial paths such that biologically appropriate moments are created at the joints. Compared to traditional exoskeletons, these exoskeletons are ultra-light-weight and have low mechanical impedance and inertia. The use of soft actuators has led to the development of inexpensive gait-supportive exoskeletons, creating opportunities for new players in the industry.
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Geographically; North America is expected to dominate the market followed by Europe. The large share of this geographical segment is attributed to the growing geriatric population, increasing demand for self-assist exoskeletons, growing number of spinal cord injuries (SCI), and the high prevalence of stroke in the region.
The medical exoskeleton market includes various players. The major players in the market are Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc. (US), ReWalk Robotics Ltd (Israel), Parker Hannifin Corp (US), Bionik Laboratories Corp (Canada), CYBERDYNE Inc. (Japan), Rex Bionics Ltd. (UK), B-TEMIA Inc. (Canada), Hocoma AG (A Subsidiary of DIH Technologies) (Switzerland), Wearable Robotics SRL (Italy), Gogoa Mobility Robots SL (Spain), and ExoAtlet, O.O.O. (Russia).
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Market Segmentation in Detailed:
Lower extremity medical exoskeletons are expected to dominate the market in 2018
By extremity, the market is segmented into lower extremity medical exoskeletons and upper extremity medical exoskeletons. In 2018, lower extremity medical exoskeletons segment is expected to account for the largest share of the global medical exoskeleton market. Lower extremity exoskeletons provide stability to paralyzed and geriatric patients and offer weight-bearing and locomotion capabilities. As a result, they are more widely adopted for rehabilitation applications.
The mobile segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period
Based on mobility, the medical exoskeleton market is segmented into mobile and stationary exoskeletons. The mobile segment is expected to register the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The growth of this segment can be attributed to the high demand for compact, light-weight mobile medical exoskeletons that can offer mobility assistance to paralyzed patients.