Powered exoskeletons or powered armor or exosuits are wearable robots powered by motors or hydraulics, exhibiting a close cognitive and physical interaction with the wearer and assists him by delivering part of the energy for limb movements. With the advances in the technology in mechanical, biomedical and electronic engineering and artificial intelligence the robotic exoskeleton technology has witnessed a rapid development. The main applications of exoskeletons can be seen in military and medical industries.
Even though the exoskeletons aren’t deployed at wide scale, companies have been developing many working prototypes. XOS by Sarcos, Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) by Lockheed Martin, Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) by Cyberdyne Inc. are some of them. MIT researchers developed a prototype for exoskeleton that reduces metabolic energy used when walking and carrying loads. Eskobionics is another company that is developing exoskeletons using bionics.
Exoskeletons can be used as a training aid for medical patients and soldiers can carry heavy weights. Lokomat, by Hocoma, Capio by DFKL Gmbh and HAL, by Cyberdyne are some of them. With the development of technology, the applications which were once limited to Teleoperation and power amplification now widened to telemanipulation, man-amplification, neuromotion control research and rehabilitation.
There are limitations to this technology. The energy source should be able to supply enough power in order for exoskeletons to operate for extended periods.
When the goal is a physical enhancement, response time matters. The exoskeletons should be capable of quick and agile movements, should be safe to operate without extensive training. Also, they must be built with materials that are lightweight and can resist high-load conditions.
Increasing orthopedic disorders and evolution of batteries, high-density storage systems and lightweight structural materials are driving the market whereas the weight and price of exoskeletons are restraining the market. Making health insurance companies cover for exoskeletons and designing a power source with sufficient energy density that can fuel an exoskeleton for extended periods of time can turn out to be huge opportunities.
Rewalk Robotics, Honda, Parker Hannifin and Cyberdyne have already entered the market commercializing their products. Flexibility, ability to control and modulate unwanted movements, detection of unsafe motions are the things that need attention in order to gain acceptability. The exoskeletons for simple medical assistance are estimated more common than full body exoskeletons in immediate future.
The study, besides estimating the powered exoskeleton market potential between 2016 and 2021, analyzes on who can be the market leaders and what partnerships would help them to capture the market share. The report gives an overview of the dynamics of the market, by discussing various aspects such as drivers, restraints, Porter’s five forces, value-chain, customer acceptance and investment scenario.
The study in brief deals with the product life cycle, comparing it to the relevant products from across industries that had already been commercialized. It approximates the time for innovation, in order for the industry to maintain a stable growth over a sustained period. The report also details the potential for various applications, discussing the recent product innovations and gives an overview on potential regional market shares.
Key Deliverables in the Study
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