The content of this report will be updated with the latest scenarios based on the global COVID-19 Pandemic
The wearable robots and exoskeletons are expected to record a CAGR of 22.17% over the forecast period (2020 - 2025). The wearable robots and exoskeletons continue to evolve. The medical sector has adopted exoskeleton technologies for rehabilitation therapy and geriatric support. However, the market is gaining traction in the defense and other industries.
- Wearable robots and exoskeletons are used to assist in personal mobility. They encourage upright walking and relearning of lost functions for stroke patients and people who are paralyzed. Exoskeletons deliver high-quality rehabilitation, thus, providing the base for a growth strategy for clinical facilities.
- Wearable robots and exoskeletons are designed for supporting manual labor tasks in construction sites, for factory labor, in warehouses. In the manufacturing sector, exoskeletons offer various advantages, like reduction in work-related injuries, lower work fatigue, thus, increasing productivity and work quality. For instance, companies such as Ford are performing a trial by using exoskeletons. Based on its success, the company adopted the EksoVest (an exoskeleton that elevates and supports the arms of workers performing repeated overhead tasks) at 15 of its plants. EksoVests reduced workplace injuries by 83% during the course of the trial period.
- Exoskeletons have become much more sophisticated. Advances in robotics and artificial intelligence have added many functionalities. Companies such as LG, in 2018 launched an exoskeleton, CLOi SuitBot to help workers take the load off their legs. The exoskeleton is powered by AI. By using AI, it learns and gets effective by analyzing the user’s movements. It also manages the power efficiency of this wearable robot.
Scope of the Report
A wearable robot is a type of wearable device used to enhance a person’s motion and physical abilities. The wearable robot is designed after the shape and function of the human body. Wearable exoskeletons are placed on the user’s body to provide essential support for human motion, with potential uses ranging from consumer products to military deployment. The exoskeletons can cover the entire body, or just the upper or lower extremities, or a specific body segment like the ankle or the hip.
Key Market Trends
Military & Defense is Expected to Hold a Significant Share
- The military & defense sector require an exoskeleton that is comfortable to wear for long hours and are still highly effective and flexible. The need for increasing the safety and efficiency of the soldiers has led the military & defense sector to invest in these technologies, as the exoskeletons reduce the fatigue on the soldiers, while also giving them an extra layer of protection from the outside.
- Exoskeletons for military enable soldiers to carry up to 17 times more weight than normal, for instance, carrying 400 pounds feels like 23.5 pounds. New generations of exoskeletons will further increase the carrying capacity of soldiers. The XOS2 (a robotics suit) from Sarcos Corp. allows a weight of nearly 50 lb. (23 kg) on each arm.
- The United States Army is investing in exoskeletons that would enhance soldiers’ physical capabilities on the battlefield by lessening the strain of heavy loads or helping them move faster. For instance, In 2018, B-Temia, a robotics tech company from Canada announced its engagement in an agreement with US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center with its partner Lockheed Martin, which was appointed as the prime contractor. This agreement is for the optimization of the ONYXTM exoskeleton, the military version of the B-Temia’s Dermoskeleton technology, for field trials with military operators.
Asia-Pacific is Expected to Experience a Rapid Growth
- Asia-Pacific wearable robots and exoskeletons market are expected to grow at a faster pace over the forecast period. The use of wearable robots in the region varies from healthcare, manufacturing, defense, etc. When it comes to the exoskeleton wearable development, two countries in the region stand apart from the rest, Japan and China. Both countries view exoskeletons as the key to prevent workplace injury and allowing aging workers to stay in the workforce longer. For instance, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is using exoskeletons for its aging staff to help them in lifting luggage.
- With the aging population becoming a major problem in this region, the demand for wearable robots and exoskeletons is set to increase over the forecast period. As per the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (Japan), 36.2 million inhabitants in Japan were aged 65 or older in 2020, as compared to that of 35.2 million in 2017. This is encouraging companies to invest in such products for the elder population in the region.
- In 2019, the National University Health System in Singapore adopted three EksoGT exoskeletons (developed by Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc.) for a clinical study. This study focuses on determining the potential for scaling-up the use of robotic exoskeletons in hospitals and care centers. The study will be mainly focused on the patients suffering from stroke and spinal cord injuries, especially for the elderly.
- Moreover, the region is increasingly investing in military exoskeletons. In 2019, Norinco, China’s state-owned manufacturer of armored vehicles and heavy ground munitions launched military exoskeleton to help infantry members carry 100 pounds (45 kgs) of weapons and ammunition.
The wearable robots and exoskeletons market is marked with high competition and consists of several players. The market potential is also attracting a lot of startups that are investing in the market, thus, intensifying the competition. Many companies are increasing their market presence by introducing new products, expanding their operations, or by entering into strategic mergers and acquisitions.
- September 2019 - Hyundai Motor Group developed a vest exoskeleton (VEX), a wearable robot to assist industrial workers who spend long hours working in overhead environments. VEX enhances productivity and minimizes fatigue of the workers by imitating the movement of human joints to boost support and mobility.
- January 2019 - Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc.’s subsidiary, Ekso Bionics Inc., partnered with Zhejiang Youchuang Venture Capital Investment Co., Ltd, and another partner to establish a joint venture to develop the exoskeleton market in China and other Asian markets and to create an exoskeleton manufacturing center.
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