Analysis of Potential Impact of COVID-19 on Robotic Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Market

Robotic Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Market is estimated to reach ~US$ 1.2 Bn in 2019, and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 12.5% from 2019 to 2027, increase in the geriatric population and large population with physical disabilities are projected to boost the market

Assistive Trousers Drive Innovation in the Robotic Technology Landscape

Technological innovations in the robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies landscape are offering people a second look at overcoming disability challenges. Modern technology in robotics is not only making the lives of disabled and elderly patients easier, but also improving their body functionalities.

The robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies market is driven by well-designed technology to develop care and companionship robots and assistive speech technology systems. Thus, stakeholders are conducting research & development to identify how assistive robots can effectively help disabled patients, and are working closely to design novel assistive robot technologies that solve the challenges of disabled individuals.

Likewise, stakeholders are developing robotic trousers that restore normal walking in disabled patients. These robotic trousers are developed by combining soft artificial muscles with electric conditioning to instigate movement such as standing up. In order to improve the body functionality of disabled patients, assistive trousers are leveraged with functional electrical stimulation (FES) technology that releases electrical impulses over the muscles to establish communication between the brain and muscles, resulting in direct command to the muscles to move or contract.

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Overwhelming Demand for Rehabilitation Services Led to the Inception of Mobile Self-help Robots

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University developed and evaluated the effectiveness of a robotic arm that functions as a self-help mobile rehabilitation of the upper limb in stroke patients. Since rehabilitation robots account for 43% of the global market share for robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies, stakeholders are developing lightweight devices that facilitate patients in intensive self-help rehabilitation exercises after they are discharged from the hospital.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability in individuals, worldwide. Stakeholders in the robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies landscape have observed a rise in the demand for mobile rehabilitation robots, as patients have to queue up for long hours to get an appointment for rehabilitation training, due to the overwhelming response for rehabilitation services. As such, the development of the robotic arm is the first-of-its-kind innovation in the robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies landscape, which consolidated an exoskeleton with soft robot and exo-nerve stimulation technologies.

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Social Science Approach and Medical Engineering Aid in Overcoming Technological Limitations

Stakeholders are coming up with new technological innovations in personal mobility and robot suits for elderly patients with disabilities. However, the robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies landscape is subject to certain limitations.

One of the major challenges in the robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies landscape is decreased cognitive functionality in elderly patients to assess the appropriate use of robot suits. Also, the risk of collisions due to uncertainty while driving vehicles and disorderly variations in low-base floors and other structural mechanisms pose challenges for stakeholders. Another challenge is to support monoaxial joint movement in the knees and hips to prevent a sudden fall.

Thus, in order to achieve sustainable product development in the robotic rehabilitation and assistive technologies landscape, stakeholders need to develop compact robot suits with lightweight motor and sensory modalities that minimize movement restrictions, reduce cognitive load on patients, and generate information processing to enable prediction of intention. Stakeholders also need to focus on developing robot suits by integrating the social science approach with medical engineering techniques

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