The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by robotics, advanced sensors, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), and growing importance of technologies such as actuators, force sensors, control systems, and virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR) to create robots that possess superior capabilities and versatility. Force feedback robots use haptic interfaces such as force-feedback gloves or exoskeletons, enabling users to interact and receive tactile sensations from the robot. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in technology: force feedback robotsBuy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

190+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, inspection robots, robotic maintenance, and cleaning robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Surveillance robots, warehouse management automation, and automated palletizing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the technology industry

Force feedback robots is a key innovation area in robotics

Force feedback robots refer to robotic systems capable of delivering tactile sensations to users with the use of actuators to generate forces or vibrations that can be perceived. This technology enhances immersion in applications like virtual reality gaming and provides haptic feedback in industrial robotic systems, enabling users to experience realistic touch sensations and improve interaction and engagement.

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 590+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of force feedback robots.

Key players in force feedback robots – a disruptive innovation in the technology 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 force feedback robots

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Midea Group 241 Unlock Company Profile
Azbil 58 Unlock Company Profile
Yaskawa Electric 134 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 145 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 1455 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 89 Unlock Company Profile
Daifuku 56 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 152 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec 90 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Motor 65 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 138 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 104 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Electric 206 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 268 Unlock Company Profile
Yujin Robot 51 Unlock Company Profile
Intuitive Surgical 78 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 413 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 95 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 466 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 90 Unlock Company Profile
Denso 76 Unlock Company Profile
Tokyo Electron 53 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 232 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 1270 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 592 Unlock Company Profile
CMR Surgical 99 Unlock Company Profile
Sarcos 55 Unlock Company Profile
UBTECH Robotics 95 Unlock Company Profile
Mujin 80 Unlock Company Profile
Franka Emika 112 Unlock Company Profile
X Development 94 Unlock Company Profile
GROOVE X 92 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 203 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha 127 Unlock Company Profile
Kabushiki Kaisha Yaskawa Denki Seisakusho 56 Unlock Company Profile
HAI ROBOTICS 52 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Fanuc is the leading patent filer in force feedback robots, followed by Seiko Epson, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Sony, Canon, and Panasonic.

By geographic reach, Nissan Motor leads the pack, followed by Intuitive Surgical and Hai Robotics. In terms of application diversity, Yujin Robot holds the top position, followed by Daifuku and Intuitive Surgical.

Force feedback robots enhance human-robot interaction by providing tactile sensations and haptic feedback. This capability enables more immersive experiences in virtual reality applications, improves teleoperation and training in industrial settings, and enhances user engagement and realism in various fields, ranging from gaming to medical simulations.

To further understand how robotics is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics.

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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.