According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 155,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the medical devices industry, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Custom orthotics 3D printing is a key innovation area in 3D printing

Custom orthotics 3D printing combines advanced 3D printing technology to create orthotics tailored to an individual’s specific needs. This 3D printing technology uses precise and accurate measurements of a person’s foot to create the perfect fit, providing improved comfort and support compared to traditional, mass-produced orthotics.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of custom orthotics 3D printing.

Key players in custom orthotics 3D printing – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators. 

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to custom orthotics 3D printing

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Ossur and 3D Systems are two of the leading patent filers in custom orthotics 3D printing. Some other key patent filers include Eurazeo, Align Technology, and Smith & Nephew.

In terms of application diversity, Samsung Group leads the pack, while Kuraray and Berkshire Hathaway stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Smith & Nephew held the top position, followed by Berkshire Hathaway and Dreve Otoplastik.

Custom orthotics using 3D printing technology enable tailored, cost-effective solutions, improving patient comfort and treatment efficacy. Future prospects suggest widespread adoption due to reduced production costs, faster manufacturing and increased accessibility. Advancements in materials and scanning technologies will further optimize precision and customization. 3D-printed custom orthotics are poised to redefine patient care, offering personalized solutions for various musculoskeletal conditions.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on 3D Printing in Medical Devices.


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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.

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