The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the progress in robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and sensor technologies, and growing importance of technologies such as nanomaterials, nanofabrication techniques, molecular self-assembly, and smart sensors and actuators. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Robotics: Nanorobotics. Buy 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 stabilising 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.

300+ 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 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, AI-assisted inspection, anti-collision LiDAR, and 3d object sensing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Autonomous harvesters, cleaning robots, and line follower robots are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are, welding robot and robotic vision, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the technology industry

Nanorobotics is a key innovation area in robotics

Nanorobotics is a branch of nanotechnology that focuses on creating and advancing tiny robots at the nanoscale. These robots are purpose-built for carrying out precise operations or engaging with nanomaterials and other nanoscale devices. Nanorobotics holds immense transformative potential across various domains, including science, medicine, and technology.

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 360 companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of nanorobotics.

Key players in nanorobotics – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to nanorobotics

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Gilead Sciences 172 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 122 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 120 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 115 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 90 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 77 Unlock Company Profile
Dare Bioscience 74 Unlock Company Profile
Otsuka 71 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 69 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 68 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Denko 65 Unlock Company Profile
Selecta Biosciences 65 Unlock Company Profile
Midatech Pharma 63 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 59 Unlock Company Profile
E. Merck 59 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 56 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 55 Unlock Company Profile
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore 54 Unlock Company Profile
Ligand Pharmaceuticals 54 Unlock Company Profile
Perrigo Co 53 Unlock Company Profile
Nanobiotix 52 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 52 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 51 Unlock Company Profile
Spanish National Research Council 49 Unlock Company Profile
Procter & Gamble 49 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 48 Unlock Company Profile
GSK 46 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 45 Unlock Company Profile
CEA 44 Unlock Company Profile
Consejo Superior Investigacion 42 Unlock Company Profile
Natura 41 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 40 Unlock Company Profile
Hologic 40 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 39 Unlock Company Profile
Melinta Therapeutics 38 Unlock Company Profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 37 Unlock Company Profile
Unilever 36 Unlock Company Profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 36 Unlock Company Profile
Bracco 36 Unlock Company Profile
Onxeo 36 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 35 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 34 Unlock Company Profile
Eli Lilly 34 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 33 Unlock Company Profile
Altergon 32 Unlock Company Profile
LG 31 Unlock Company Profile
Yuhan 31 Unlock Company Profile
Sapiotec 31 Unlock Company Profile
Guerbet 30 Unlock Company Profile
Amorepacific Group 29 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Gilead Sciences is one of the leading patent filers in nanorobotics. The company’s patents are related to a bi-specific antibody or antibody fragment having at least one arm that is reactive against a targeted tissue and at least one other arm that is reactive against a linker moiety.

The linker moiety encompasses a hapten to which antibodies have been prepared. The antigenic linker is conjugated to one or more therapeutic or diagnostic agents or enzymes. The invention provides methods for producing and using the bi-specific antibodies or antibody fragments.

Other prominent patent filers in the space include Koninklijke Philips and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

By geographic reach, Nitto Denko leads the pack, followed by Eli Lilly and Ono Pharmaceutical. In terms of application diversity, Vascular Biogenics holds the top position, followed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Supernus Pharmaceuticals.

Nanorobotics can offer new possibilities for improving human health, addressing environmental challenges, advancing technology, and expanding understanding of the nanoworld. The significance of nanorobotics lies in its potential to revolutionise fields such as medicine, materials science, environmental science, manufacturing, and scientific research.

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

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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.