Soft Robotics Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The Soft Robotics Market is segmented by Application (Human-Machine Interface and Interaction, Locomotion and Exploration, Manipulation, Medical and Surgical applications​, Rehabilitation and Wearable Robots​), and Geography.

Market Snapshot

Soft Robotics Market Growth
Study Period: 2020-2027
Base Year: 2021
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: North America
CAGR: 35.1 %

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Market Overview

The Soft Robotics Market is expected to register a CAGR of 35.1% over the forecast period (2022- 2027). Though soft robotics is still in its early stages, with the variety of benefits offered by soft robots compared to traditional robots, the penetration of soft robots is expected to grow dramatically over the forecast period. Also, the global COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the demand to automate to alleviate workforce challenges and develop operational and Food Safety in factory environments, which has led to the market's growth.

  • Factors driving the development of the soft robotics market include the increasing demand for safety across the various end-user industries and the growing need for automation in food processing, e-commerce, etc. The ever-increasing investments/funding in research and development across multiple nations is fueling the growth of the soft robotics market.
  • Exoskeletons are an emerging developing technology that has the potential to protect and save warehouse and manufacturing workers from shoulders, back pain, neck pain, and injuries related to heavy and repetitive lifting. Various researchers are developing soft, wearable robots that mimic muscle movements. In May 2021, a team of researchers at Queen's University in Canada developed an exoskeleton that reduces the metabolic cost of walking. The research is based on designing an exoskeleton that obtains over some of the brakings that occur during walking, thereby reducing the total metabolic cost of walking.
  • Medical and non-medical exoskeletons are subjected to international safety regulatory requirements published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization)/IEC. For successful commercialization of these products, manufacturers must comply with these regulations. Also, the chances for approval are subjective. They can be achieved only if there is a reasonable assurance that the device is appropriate for its application. Because of these reasons and the lack of a single centralized regulatory body, the commercialization aspect is delayed, thus restraining the potential growth of the market.
  • Various players have been focusing on developing soft, pneumatic-powered grippers ideal for fragile foodstuff that might be damaged by rigid robotics otherwise. Food has been a prime target for interest in automation during the pandemic due to labor shortages and fears of disease transmission. In June 2021, Soft Robotics company cited pandemic-related demand and raised USD 10 million for research and development in its revolutionary soft grasping, 3D perception, and AI technologies.
  • The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to delays in possible research undertaken by various universities and research institutions. This is because of extended lockdown across multiple countries and social distancing norms. Furthermore, many R&D projects were funded by various governments worldwide despite the Covid-19 crisis to support the contribution of robotics and automation to the industry and society. For instance, China's strategic plan of Made in China 2025 includes advanced robots among the top 10 core industries.

Scope of the Report

Soft robots are primarily composed of easily deformable matter such as fluids and gels, where softness may refer to structural and inherent material compliance. These products serve specific purposes in application areas like food processing, pharmaceutical packaging, etc. The market under research covers soft robotics in the form of soft grippers, cobots, and exoskeletons, among others.

The report's scope includes insights on the applications such as human-machine interface and interaction, surgical applications, rehabilitation, and wearable robots and locomotion.

By Application
Human-machine Interface and Interaction
Locomotion and Exploration
Manipulation
Medical and Surgical Applications
Rehabilitation and Wearable Robots
By Geography
North America
Europe
Asia Pacific
Latin America
Middle East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Medical and Surgical Applications to Register Highest Growth

  • Soft robots inherently have the advantage of being compliant with the natural tissues of humans and living organisms. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is one of the research areas with the big potential of adopting soft robotics. This is because it overcomes the limitation of traditional MIS methods, such as a low degree of freedom.
  • The limitations of open and laparoscopic procedures and the increasing advantages of robotic surgery systems are expected to boost the adoption rates of robot-assisted surgeries worldwide. Soft-robotic surgery on a human body has been inspired by soft-bodied animals with applications specifically designed for minimally invasive surgery (MIS), opening up areas previously inaccessible to surgeons using current keyhole surgery techniques. With similar research being active across multiple researcher labs, and medtech companies innovating new soft robots will likely shape how physicians perform surgeries.
  • According to a study conducted on Soft Robot-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery (RAMIS) and Interventions by IEEE in May 2022, with the arrival of laparoscopic surgery, which is performed through narrow incisions, the surgical community saw a rapid move away from traditional open surgery. Switching from handheld instruments to RAMIS was the next logical step. Surgeons could easily perform complex surgical procedures with the help of robots and an intuitive user interface, partially replicating the easily accessible situation of open surgery.
  • Furthermore, biocompatible soft materials, superelastic materials, and 3D-printed soft plastics such as silicone elastomers allow for greater safety during surgeries. These allow changes in robotic shape and mechanical properties in response to touch, thus enhancing their greater intrinsic safety. Such developments are likely to expand the scope of soft robotics and become relevant to procedures in minimally invasive surgery, such as laparoscopy, single port laparoscopy, etc.
  • In January 2022, Benchmark announced a manufacturing and supply agreement with Titan Medical to manufacture patient carts for Titan's Enos robotic workstations and single-port surgical systems. The company was selected for its experience and vertical integration in designing, manufacturing, and assembling complex medical devices and its ability to scale production to meet demand. The company has integrated its manufacturing solutions with Titan's cameras and articulated instruments to help achieve its goal of manufacturing surgical workstations and patient carts for use in human studies scheduled to begin in 2023.
  • The robotic surgery market is expected to benefit from the growing incidence of chronic diseases such as urology, gynecology, orthopedic, and other chronic disorders worldwide. According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, are responsible for almost 71% of global deaths. It accounts for 41 million people dying each year of these NCDs.​
Soft Robotics Market

Asia Pacific is Expected to Register the Fastest Growth During the Forecast Period

  • Asia-Pacific is one of the fastest-growing markets for soft robotics mainly due to the massive adoption of the technology with increasing domestic production in the market. The regional vendors also play a significant role in the innovation and development in the soft robotics field. For instance, according to the SIPRI, China's military expenditure reached USD 252 billion in 2020, 1.7% of its GDP and 13% of global spending. While India's defense budget for 2002 is USD 72.9 billion. India plans to invest in military robotics, and by 2023, the country is preparing to deploy advanced robotic soldiers. Such inclination toward robotic deployment is likely to create scope for the market in the region.
  • Regarding wearable exoskeleton development, two countries in Asia stand apart from Japan and China. Both countries view exoskeletons as key to preventing workplace injury and allowing aging workers to stay in the workforce longer. These countries are profoundly investing in the development of robotic exoskeletons for their ability to assist injured or disabled people and keep aging populations in the force longer.​
  • Further, in October 2021, the Indian Spinal Cord Injury Center (ISIC) announced that the patient was being treated using her 3D imaging capabilities and robot-guided minimally invasive surgery. Indian doctors integrated "O-Arm," a 3D imaging system with MAZOR X. The MAZOR X Stealth Edition is the advanced, minimally invasive robotic surgery for orthopedic, neurological, and spinal disorders.
  • In China, many research organizations and engineers are developing exoskeletons for military applications. For instance, The 202 Institute of China Ordnance Industry Group is developing an exoskeleton for military applications. These exoskeletons can carry more than 100 lb. and walk more than 12 miles at a speed of 2.7 miles per hour.
  • Additionally, in Japan, the government is collaborating with universities and companies to develop a robotic surgery system that allows doctors to operate more accurately and simultaneously monitor MRI readings and data from other devices. Like many other countries, Korea is adapting robots for healthcare.
Soft Robotics Market

Competitive Landscape

The Soft Robotics Market has seen huge investments in the technical front, and new entrants are expected to emerge in the market. Currently, soft robot manufacturers have very specific solutions, and the market is moderately competitive. However, with the advent of big players in the robotics market, venturing into soft robotics is expected to increase the competition.

  • June 2021 - Soft Robotics Inc. announced that it had raised a USD 10 million Series B expansion to expand its commercial operations further to meet the demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The capital will also be used to bring the company's SoftAI-powered robotics solution to market. SoftAI applies 3D vision and artificial intelligence technology to Soft Robotics' patented and proven IP69K certified soft grips, bringing human hand-eye coordination to industrial robots.
  • April 2021 - Righthand Robotics Inc announced the launch of Rightpick 3, which features dense packing and damage-free item handling, and it handles an even broader range of items. In addition, the announcement aligns with ProMatDX’s virtual material handling automation showcase.

Major Players

  1. Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc.

  2. ReWalk Robotics Ltd.

  3. Yaskawa Motoman

  4. Soft Robotics Inc​

  5. RightHand Robotics, Inc.

Soft Robotics Market

Recent Developments

  • June 2022 - RightHand Robotics, a robotic picking solution for order fulfillment, and Asetec, a logistics automation ICT company, have partnered on a future robotic logistics center integration project in South Korea. Asetec combines robotic warehouse systems and other complementary technologies with RightHand Robotics RightPick item handling solutions to add a diverse range of automation to its offerings.
  • June 2021 - Bioserve introduced a new and enhanced version of the cutting-edge exoskeleton glove, which won the NASA Commercial Invention of the Year Award in 2020. The Ironhand 2.0 glove can save workers' lives while increasing business revenue in heavy sectors where repetitive strain injuries are widespread.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION

    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study

  2. 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

  3. 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  4. 4. MARKET INSIGHTS

    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Industry Value Chain Analysis

    3. 4.3 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.3.1 Threat of New Entrants

      2. 4.3.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers

      3. 4.3.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      4. 4.3.4 Threat of Substitute Products

      5. 4.3.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry

    4. 4.4 Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on the Market

  5. 5. MARKET DYNAMICS

    1. 5.1 Market Drivers

      1. 5.1.1 Need for Safer Automation Solutions

      2. 5.1.2 Need for Human Safety in Manufacturing Units

      3. 5.1.3 Increased R&D From Various Countries

    2. 5.2 Market Restraints

      1. 5.2.1 Lack of Awareness and a Single Centralized Regulatory Body

  6. 6. TECHNOLOGY SNAPSHOT

  7. 7. MARKET SEGMENTATION

    1. 7.1 By Application

      1. 7.1.1 Human-machine Interface and Interaction

      2. 7.1.2 Locomotion and Exploration

      3. 7.1.3 Manipulation

      4. 7.1.4 Medical and Surgical Applications

      5. 7.1.5 Rehabilitation and Wearable Robots

    2. 7.2 By Geography

      1. 7.2.1 North America

      2. 7.2.2 Europe

      3. 7.2.3 Asia Pacific

      4. 7.2.4 Latin America

      5. 7.2.5 Middle East and Africa

  8. 8. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

    1. 8.1 Company Profiles

      1. 8.1.1 Soft Robotics Inc

      2. 8.1.2 RightHand Robotics Inc

      3. 8.1.3 Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc

      4. 8.1.4 Rewalk Robotics Ltd

      5. 8.1.5 Yaskawa Electric Corporation

      6. 8.1.6 Bioservo Technologies AB

      7. 8.1.7 Festo AG

      8. 8.1.8 Roam Robotics

      9. 8.1.9 ABB Ltd.

      10. 8.1.10 Pneubotics Inc​

    2. *List Not Exhaustive
  9. 9. INVESTMENT ANALYSIS

  10. 10. MARKET OPPORTUNITIES AND FUTURE TRENDS

**Subject to Availability
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Frequently Asked Questions

The Soft Robotics Market market is studied from 2020 - 2027.

The Soft Robotics Market is growing at a CAGR of 35.1% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

North America holds highest share in 2021.

Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc., ReWalk Robotics Ltd., Yaskawa Motoman, Soft Robotics Inc​, RightHand Robotics, Inc. are the major companies operating in Soft Robotics Market.

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