The global wearable robots and exoskeletons market size was valued at USD 1.15 billion in 2021. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 13.58 billion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 31.5% over the forecast period (2022-2030).
As wearable exoskeletons help with personal mobility and can be worn on the human body to control and assist with movements, they are in their infancy stage of development. They constantly evolve to exhibit full implementation in various industries, such as healthcare, industrial, military, and defense.
Exoskeletons assist and encourage upright walking and help paralyzed and stroke patients regain lost functions as part of the healthcare industry. In a survey by Maxon Motor AG, the business calculated that 185 million individuals globally use wheelchairs regularly. The market is also subjected to growth as various companies worldwide, operating in varied industries, are entering the wearable exoskeletons market to gain maximum market traction while leveraging the first-mover advantage.
|Market Size||USD 13.58 billion by 2030|
|Fastest Growing Market||Europe|
|Largest Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
Every year, millions globally suffer from severe injuries requiring long-term medical rehabilitation. The rehabilitation process is complex, with physical and psychological dimensions, and results are often difficult to guarantee. This is one of the primary reasons for the increasing demand for robotic rehabilitation.
An appropriately applied, robotics-assisted rehabilitation therapy provides an advantage over the conventional approach, which includes adaptable support and the ability to increase the intensity of treatment and dose standardized training environment, thereby reducing therapists' physical burden.
According to the International Federation of Robotics, the sales of assistance robots for older and disabled communities are expected to increase substantially during the forecast period. Moreover, players in the market, such as Toyota, have been investing in R&D to develop robotic rehabilitation primarily to assist the elderly by enabling them to live independently and support their caregivers. Moreover, the increased costs associated with the long-term rehabilitation processes, the implications in providing appropriate duration, the intensity of rehabilitation services primarily required to manage disability, and the cost-effective development of robotic rehabilitation are expected to help grow the demand.
The past several years have seen a substantial increase in robotic exoskeleton technology. The market has been witnessing increasing investments in technology to improve its functionality. For instance, in Sep 2020, Sarcos Robotics, a startup developing robots for industrial and defense applications, raised USD 40 million in equity financing, bringing its total venture capital to nearly USD 100 million. The company planned to utilize the capital to commercialize its first full-body, self-powered product, the Guardian XO, ahead of an anticipated 2021 shipping date.
Moreover, companies such as Tendo AB have adapted space technology to create their exoskeleton that meets the urgent needs of paralyzed patients with reduced hand function. The product has a patented actuator system comprising artificial tendons that run along the fingers, batteries, and a motor. The grip is created by pulling the tendons.
Further, the market has also been witnessing product and technological innovations. For instance, in August 2020, toolmaker Hilti announced the launch of its first exoskeleton, the EXO-O1, which was designed to reduce strain on construction workers. This new wearable resulted from a partnership with biometric company Ottobock and was intended to alleviate 47% of the stress from users lifting their arms above their heads. Such instances drive segment growth.
Exoskeletons and wearable robots are used in the healthcare and defense sectors. Further, commercial sectors like construction have started incorporating exoskeleton solutions to increase the proficiency of their laborers and intern the output. However, the cost involved in rolling out the solutions in the commercial market is not pocket-friendly for ordinary citizens.
According to a research report, robotic exoskeletons for over-ground training decreased hospital costs associated with delivering locomotor activity in the base case analysis. Further, providing robotic exoskeleton overground training for 10% of locomotor training sessions over the year (range 226-397 sessions) decreases annual locomotor training costs (i.e., net savings) between USD 1,114 to USD 4,784 per annum.
However, policymakers and governments need to determine whether the technology deserves widespread application such that medical insurance can offer an exoskeleton unit per patient similar to a wheelchair.
Furthermore, several companies are witnessing heavy funding in this sector to create a hybrid work environment using the brains of humans and the strength of robots. In July 2021, Verve Motion raised USD 15 million for deploying exo-suites for grocery workers. Thus, the current cost of such equipment is prohibitive and may interfere with its accessibility in developed countries and less developed parts of the world.
Many exoskeleton companies are swaying away from rigid to Soft exoskeletons, made of fabric and flexible, artificial muscles that offer multiple advantages compared to metal counterparts. Most notably, they are lighter and provide more range of motion, making these tools more useful. New soft materials like microlattice don't compromise safety to achieve these benefits, either. Instead, micro lattice can slow blunt impacts by 21.7% despite its lightweight, making soft exoskeletons a viable tool for workplace protection.
Another advancement is toward passive or pseudo-passive exoskeletons, which don't use electricity but use mechanical energy to assist their users. For example, pseudo-passive designs infuse chunks of power to bolster otherwise passive exoskeletons. These alternatives only deliver power as required and use mechanical advantage to reduce the energy needed.
Further, Artificial intelligence (AI) and connected sensor technology are also in exoskeleton design. In such scenarios, sensors throughout the wearable robot accumulate data on its current use and the user's physiological state. Then, AI interprets this data to adjust the exoskeleton as necessary to deliver optimal performance.
By Region, the global wearable robots and exoskeletons market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Rest of the World
North America accounted for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 30% during the forecast period. One of the significant markets for robotics and one of the notable innovators and pioneers in the field in North America. Increased use of automated material handling and trends like "lights-out automation," as well as increased use of these robots across various industries, are some of the reasons propelling the market's expansion. The market vendors consider North America one of the promising markets. The region comprises some of the most automated industries. The regional end-user industries are also pioneers in terms of the adoption of advanced technologies. Multiple end-user companies play significant roles in developing the wearable robotics market at the global level. The North American industries are speeding up the adoption of robots. The companies in North America introduced a record number of robots in the first nine months of 2021. They rushed to accelerate assembly lines and faced a limited number of human workers. All such instances contribute to regional market growth.
Europe is the second largest region. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 3500 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 30.2% over the forecast period. The European region holds a notable market for robotics, especially in regions like Germany. The market for robotics in the region is driven by government support, continuous R&D expenditure in robotics, and the increasing demand in numerous industries. Exoskeleton technology has been one of the most interesting developments in the robotics sector of the region. For instance, German Bionic, a startup that designed and developed exoskeletons, primarily aimed at industrial and physical applications, raised USD 20 million in funding, which Samsung led. The company describes German Bionic's Cray X robot as "the world's first connected exoskeleton for industrial use" by the company. This robot helps industry workers manage and lift heavy objects, providing power, safety, and precision. The European Union funds several programs to support research, robot awareness-raising campaigns, and the series of tournaments run throughout Europe by the European Robotics League (ERL). These programs also assist in developing platforms for robotics, thus bringing innovation to the market studied.
Asia-Pacific is the third largest region. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to record the highest growth rate over the forecast period due to the increased adoption of robots across the region. South Korea and China are the dominant markets in robotics, including wearable robots, owing to the massive deployment of electronic and automotive manufacturing industries in these countries. As these sectors are also growing significantly in other economies, such as India, there is considerable potential for growth in the market studied.
The global wearable robots and exoskeletons market is segmented by type, end-user Industry, and region.
By Type, the global wearable robots and exoskeletons market is segmented into powered and passive exoskeletons. The powered exoskeletons segment accounted for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 30.3% during the forecast period. A powered exoskeleton is a wearable mobile machine powered by electric motors, levers, hydraulics, pneumatics, or a combination of technologies that permit limb movement with enhanced strength and durability. Its design offers back support, senses the user's motion, and sends the signal to motors that manage the gears. Moreover, the exoskeleton supports the shoulder, waist, and thigh and assists movement for lifting and holding heavy items while lowering back stress. In July 2021, The Swiss exoskeleton company Auxivo AG launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new exoskeleton kit called EduExo Pro. The EduExo Pro aims to make exoskeleton technology accessible to students, educators, and researchers. The kit contains all the parts needed to assemble an arm exoskeleton. The EduExo Pro features a passive, spring-actuated shoulder joint and a powered (motorized) elbow joint. In the field of care, powered exoskeleton-type technology is generally utilized in rehabilitation, where patients wear the skeleton of a walking robot. New Jersey researchers have shown that gait training using robotic exoskeletons improved motor function in adolescents and young adults with acquired brain injury. Such factors contribute to market growth.
The passive exoskeletons segment is the second largest. Many companies are innovating and developing passive exoskeletons for the country's military purpose. For instance, Rostec demonstrated its new operative passive exoskeletons for the first time for the Russian Army's new generation of Ratnik combat suits. The Russian Army has already trialed the exoskeletons in combat environment conditions. To improve the safety and comfort of the life of the soldiers, the defense organizations are also creating passive exoskeletons. For instance, the DRDO revealed in June 2021 that an exoskeleton was being developed for the Indian military stationed in high altitudes. The DRDO declared that it would improve Indian soldiers' performance in many warfare scenarios, including lower/upper extremity configurations. Exoskeleton suit that can be used for carrying ammunition, after a previous type of non-powered exoskeleton suit entered service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) border defense troops in late 2020 for missions including supply delivery, patrol, and sentry duty.
By End-User Industry, the global wearable robots and exoskeletons market is segmented into healthcare, military and defense, industrial, and other industries. The healthcare segment accounted for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 30.1% during the forecast period. Exoskeletons are used more frequently in the medical sector, from physiotherapy to emergency services. For instance, a robotic support system from Delhi-based GenElek Technologies helps persons with neurological diseases like spinal cord injury (SCI), paralysis, and stroke. The exoskeleton helps disabled persons regain their ability to walk. They will gain self-reliance and independence, assisting their physical and emotional health. The healthcare market is anticipated to be driven by the innovations mentioned above.
The military and defense segment is the second largest. Exoskeletons have increasing applications in multiple industries ranging from military and defense. For instance, these tools can enhance physical skills in military applications, allowing soldiers to run faster, lift larger loads, and reduce physical stress. To improve the safety and comfort of the life of the soldiers, defense organizations are also creating passive exoskeletons. For instance, the DRDO revealed in June 2021 that an exoskeleton was being developed for the Indian military stationed in high altitudes. The DRDO declared that it would improve Indian soldiers' performance in many warfare scenarios, including lower/upper extremity configurations. Such instances drive segment growth.
List of key wearable robots and exoskeletons market companies