Robots, Wearables and Implanted Devices in the Age of Bionic Health


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If you are an electronics manufacturer and you ask your business bankers where their market research suggests growth will come from, they will almost certainly identify medical electronics as a key growth area. For the past five years, the segment has enjoyed something close to 6% CAAGR with acceleration predicted in the short term and remains one of the few areas where the U.S. is a net exporter of products. This results in a market size on the order of $120 billion in the U.S. alone with more than 6,500 companies participating, and analysts expect this figure to grow to $133 billion in the next two years. There are a series of drivers for this growth:  demographics, technology advancements and, perhaps most importantly, remote monitoring.

The first and most obvious trend is that the population base is both aging and living longer (Figure 1). With an increasing number of prospective patients for more advanced procedures, the proliferation of medical electronics and technology advancement is a critical piece of the puzzle. The objective is to bring technology advancements such as wireless communication protocols, data analytics and robotics into the hospitals and operating rooms to improve success rates, reduce complications and improve patient comfort.

A visit to a hospital operating room in 2015 will provide ample evidence of the trends toward more and more advanced electronics adoption in the medical field. Technology is allowing more surgery to be done with fewer incisions, reducing scarring, risk of infection and other complications. 3D cameras and robotic surgical instruments allow doctors to operate from several feet to thousands of miles away avoiding the crowding of operating rooms and allowing specialists to work on patients who cannot travel to their physical location.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of The PCB Magazine.

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