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November 16, 2022
3 Min Read
Image courtesy of ArtemisDiana / Alamy Stock Photo
As the saying goes, “there’s an app for everything.” In the not-too-distant future, we might also be able to stake the same claim to wearable healthcare sensors. According to the German-based market and consumer data company, Statista, more than 533 million wearable devices were shipped worldwide in 2021, a number that includes watches, wristbands, hearables, and other products that assist healthcare providers and patients in monitoring and maintaining overall health.
From early iterations such as motion sensors that count steps walked and hours slept to electrodes that measure heart, muscle, and brain activity, the technology continues to become more sophisticated and diverse. Some of the more recent innovations include biometrics that are made accessible through skin patches and chemical sensors that offer an alternative to finger pricks for taking one’s glucose levels for diabetes patients.
The National Institutes of Health has found that approximately 30% of adults in the United States use wearable healthcare devices, nearly half of whom reportedly use their devices each day for increasingly more complex healthcare reasons. Additionally, a recent report by IDTechEx, a global market research, business intelligence, and technology events company, claims that the expansion into health monitoring through wearable sensors will address a growing demand for remote patient monitoring and decentralized clinical trials not only among healthcare professionals but among general consumers. The result will include easier access to healthcare and further sensor integration into headsets and other accessories for immersive experiences in the metaverse, according to the Wearable Sensors 2023-2033 report.
The report analyzes the complex landscape of sensor types, biometrics, and form factors to provide insight into how the use of wearable sensors could continue to grow. The report also highlights key opportunities and challenges for each sensor type to achieve commercial success across the next 10 years.
The Next Generation of Technology
According to researchers at IDTechEx, sensor developers are interested in pushing the boundaries of what can be measured noninvasively with light through these technologies, such as photoplethysmography and spectroscopy. Multiple companies are reportedly competing to lead in the commercialization of wearable blood pressure and devices that could replace common hospital tests.
The report also dedicates a section to electrodes, the use of which has developed into an emerging trend across four categories of devices — wet, dry, microneedle, and electronic skin — and has led to better measurement of heart and brain activity as well as assessment of vital signs, sleep, and stress.
Future wearables are also expected to become less invasive, as evidenced by the report’s overview of the existing market for continuous glucose marketing that provides an analysis of competitor technologies.
Continued Everyday Integration
With analysis conducted on the progress of more than 50 wearable electronic product types throughout the study, IDTechEx researchers have also attempted to predict how wearable sensors could be integrated into society long-term. The main drivers for growth have been identified as digital health devices and remote patient monitoring, extended reality, the metaverse, and performance analytics of athletes.
Key questions that are also answered within the report include:
What is the current and future market size of each wearable sensor type?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of each wearable sensor technology?
What is the technological and commercial readiness of each wearable sensor technology for each application?
What are the fundamental operating principles of each sensor type?
Who are the key players in each sensor type, and what are their plans?
What are the promising innovation opportunities and application areas?
How are macroscopic trends influencing the wearable sensor market?
Each product review consists of an understanding and characterization of the prevalence of sensor types integrated into each modality. The report examines the key sensor components in each of these wearable product categories, placing a focus on 12 different sensor types. The combination of detailed wearable product forecasting and understanding of the sensor landscape and suppliers allows for detailed forecasting of wearable sensors in terms of revenue, pricing, and volume. Data from 2010 to present provides insight into the forecasting for 2023-2033.
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