There have been many advancements in powered lower-limb exoskeletons, but users are experiencing a hard time navigating sloping or slippery surfaces. The prototypes cannot yet cope with twisting motions, so users making turns while carrying objects could tire out easily, resulting in adverse events, which can include skin and tissue damages and bone fractures. Thus, regulatory bodies have established a very tight approval process for such devices so that a wearer’s safety is not compromised due to the high-power output of actuators used in them.
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Hardware components are likely to account for the larger share of the exoskeleton market during the forecast period. Hardware components add major value to the overall exoskeleton cost. The exoskeleton technology is at a growing phase and reinventing itself. Many factors are promoting increased exoskeleton adoption. For example, startups have significantly enhanced these systems by improving drives, materials, and power sub-systems. New battery technologies now promise to power exo-suits for as long as 8 hours. Such hardware systems are expected to create more demand for exoskeletons.
Lower extremity exoskeletons are designed to provide protection, assistance, and support to the lower limbs of a human body. The user’s weight activates sensors in the device, which initiate steps and enable walking in people with weaknesses in lower extremities. Also, the lower extremities of an exoskeleton exhibit stability to provide weight-bearing and locomotion capabilities to a user. Hence, these exoskeletons are used in regaining a stable gait. These exoskeletons help patients with neurological disabilities, spinal cord injuries, and paraplegics to improve their motor performance.
The mobile segment accounted for the larger share of the overall exoskeleton market in 2020 and is expected to grow at a higher CAGR from 2021 to 2026. The basic purpose of using exoskeletons is to provide mobility to people, which can be achieved only by using mobile exoskeletons; hence, the demand for mobile exoskeletons is more than the stationary ones. Lower extremity exoskeletons developed for human locomotion assistance are used to help patients who have completely lost mobility in the lower limbs due to conditions such as spinal cord injury (SCI), multiple sclerosis, etc.
The market for assistive exoskeleton devices is expected to be driven by the increase in the aging population, which will correspondingly raise the prevalence of age-related ailments. According to the WHO, between 2000 and 2050, the world's population over 60 years is expected to rise from about 11% to 22%. This will further create a major market for exoskeletons that can assist the elderly. Exoskeletons that are being used in the healthcare sector are stationary and mobile for both upper and lower extremities, respectively. The stationary ones are generally used for therapeutic purposes, and the mobile ones are used for rehabilitation.
APAC comprises a diverse range of economies with varying levels of development and the presence of various manufacturers. This region has witnessed an influx of investments and business expansion opportunities, especially for manufacturing industries, because of the availability of abundant and cheap labor. As of 2020, China, Japan, and South Korea were among the top exoskeleton manufacturers globally. The presence of exoskeleton manufacturing companies such as CYBERDYNE (Japan), DIH Technologies (China), Hyundai Motor (South Korea), Fourier Intelligence (China), P&S Mechanics (South Korea), ATOUN (Japan), Daiya Industry Co. (Japan), Honda Motor (Japan), and MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES (Japan), that have made significant investments in R&D to gain a competitive edge, is driving the exoskeleton market in APAC.
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