Tuesday, 19 April 2016
What Does the Future of Mobility Devices and Aids Hold in Store?
The future of the personal mobility devices market has never been brighter. The following facts illustrate this point: Worldwide, over a billion persons are living with a disability of some form and by 2050 over 1.5 billion persons in the world will be over 65 years of age. That brings to the fore the pressing need for devices and equipment that enable such persons to lead an independent life. The medical devices industry has offered numerous products and solutions to address mobility challenges faced by the disabled and the aged. But there’s more ground that needs to be covered. Recent market research studies evidence this.
Transparency Market Research, for instance, said in a recent report that the global market for personal mobility devices is expected to stand at US$12.7 bn by 2023. This market is projected to have a compounded annual growth rate of 7.3% between 2015 and 2023. The demographic transition that the world is going through can be attributed as one of the chief reasons for the growing demand for personal mobility aids and devices. Whether the use of mobility aids is a temporary need or a lifelong means to lead a normal life, there are numerous personal mobility devices available on the market currently. These include: Rollators, mobility scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, and more.
The development of the global personal mobility devices has occurred in pulses rather than in a predictable, steady manner. And the future is likely going to be no different. Technology will continue to help counter challenges associated with mobility. Here are a few changes that will continue to fuel the personal mobility devices market:
Exoskeletons – From Science Fiction to an Everyday Enabling Tool
In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the first time approved a motorized exoskeleton that would change the lives of paraplegics – people paralysis of the lower body. The product was brought to the market by ReWalk Robotics. Although exoskeletons do not entirely free the user from the use of crutches, newer advances could potentially change the status quo. As a product that’s relatively new on the market and more sophisticated than many other personal mobility aids available on the market, the high price of exoskeletons puts them out of the reach of many consumers.
Telepresence Robots – Caregivers and Mobility Assistants of the Future
A rising number of aged people who cannot move around independently are confined to their homes and grow increasingly dependent on caregivers and mobility aids as they age. But the yawning ‘care deficit’ that’s developing because of a shift in demographics and smaller families could leave many aged people in the future without proper care.
There’s hope, however, in the form of telepresence robots and ‘carebots’ that are designed to address both the loneliness and mobility challenges that the aged are likely to face. While telepresence robots help connect people just as a videoconferencing system would, other mobility robots help people get out of bed or assist them to the bathroom and back. In instances where seemingly small daily tasks become an almost insurmountable challenge, mobility robots could bring hope to the disabled and aged.
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Many of these technologies are currently available only in developed countries and are often prohibitively priced, but as more consumers invest in them, the prices are expected to drop down within the reach of the average consumer.