bionicThe legal and procedural complications associated with the wide-scale prescription of brain implants for treating epilepsy and other psychiatric disorders have created huge concerns among stakeholders. Despite efforts to demonstrate the clinical safety and efficacy of bionic prosthetics proving its economic value, the current reimbursement scenario across developing nations and inadequate product diversification efforts affect brand positioning across high-growth markets.

Manufacturers want to mitigate the risks of sourcing parts and components from single-source suppliers, thereby opening up opportunities for in-house product research and development (R&D) of bionic prosthetics. Governments are increasing their spending on bionic devices that help clinicians resolve technological challenges in restoring the sensibility to bionic hands. Additionally, escalating volumes of eye surgery procedures require caregivers to identify the optimal stimulation parameters for bionic retinal implants, developed for restoring blindness.

“There is huge commercial potential for artificial pancreas, which can sense the level of insulin and glucagon in the blood and deliver the appropriate doses for clinically effective management of diabetes,” explained Frost & Sullivan TechVision Industry Analyst Arjunvasan Ambigapathy. “Another likely blockbuster bionic solution is brain-powered prosthetics that can completely replace the function of a lost limb through activation of brain-controlled interface.”

Future of Bionics is part of Frost & Sullivan’s TechVision (Health & Wellness) Growth Partnership Service program. The study analyses the top trends from both technology and end-user perspectives as well as the competitive landscape, with a focus on the roles and strategies of existing and emerging participants in the global market. The research also studies the ongoing transformations in healthcare and technology-enabled business models of established participants.

While there are many bionic devices at various stages of commercialisation, their adoption rates are modest, with the exception of robotic exoskeletons for rehabilitation. In North America, companies such as Advanced Bionics, ReWalk Robotics and Medtronic have been successful in increasing the large-scale adoption of bionic prosthetics, achieving impressive market penetration.

Bionic manufacturers employing the open-source prosthetics business model have enjoyed a significant competitive advantage by gaining wider access to customers. This business model involves the use of inexpensive electronics and 3D printing to create bionic prosthetics, like bionic hands and legs, which meet the needs of patients who do not receive reimbursement for bionic prosthetics. Other innovative business models include the bionic runner and bionic gym, which help patients achieve their fitness goals and support their lifestyle modification programs. These business models are poised for very high commercial success across emerging markets, considering their strategy of sourcing innovations from emerging markets.

“The most successful participants will be those that actively collaborate with care providers and insurance providers during new product development initiatives and explore novel applications such as design of clinically safe and effective implantable bionic prosthetics,” noted Ambigapathy.