Wearable or body integrable components or systems that are used to augment physical capabilities of humans. Investments and research activities to enhance human capabilities by combining physical and digital technologies are expected to gain traction in the near future. In May 2016, a duo project for development of a wearable arm that could be attached to the human wrist and provide extra assistance in daily activities as a set of extra hands was conducted at Fluid Interfaces Group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.
Significant applications to enhance the human capability to work more efficiently and with high capacities is expected to be the major driver for the body integrated programmable interface market
The abovementioned robo-hand featured gesture based activations, which could be used for performing multiple functions with single arm such as play instrument, grab an object and others; however, the actual human arm was free to work independently. Other such developments that are expected to augment growth of the market include physical morphology, skin displays, somatosensory extension, and reconfigured biological circuits over the forecast period.
Physical morphology: It includes augmentation technologies that provide functional morphology change that offer increased sensorimotor capabilities or to increase additional functionalities of the human body.
Skin Display: These include garments or skin displays that are interactive and provide information of an individual’s emotional state. For instance, ‘caress of the gaze morphs (developed by Behnaz Farahi in co-operation with Autodesk, PIER9) detects and reacts in accordance to the people’s gaze; defensive dresses that react upon invasion of personal space; and other such wearables.
Somatosensory Extension: This includes novel sensory modalities that are exteroceptive or interoceptive that aim to substitute or enhance existing sensory capabilities
Biological Circuits reconfiguration: This includes technologies developed for biological circuits that involve computation such as neural prostheses
Potential of these systems for rehabilitation of physically challenged people is expected to augment growth of the market over the forecast period
According to WHO’s report on disability in 2011, around 15% of the world’s population is suffering from some form of disability, among which around 2 to 4% experience significant difficulties in functioning. Utilization of user interface closely incorporated with human body, utilizing neuroscience and cognitive stimulation for operation can increase potential for rehabilitation of a number of physically challenged persons.
Moreover, researchers are increasingly focused on enhancing the existing capabilities of humans for improving capability of the defense forces, and provide protection from physical threats.
North America and Europe are expected to be the initial adopters of this technology. Owing to large number of research and development activities centered in these regions in body integrated programmable joint interface, these regions are expected to witness highest growth over the forecast period. However, as considerable share of the global population concentrated in countries in Asia Pacific including China, India, and ASEAN countries, this region is expected to provide substantial consumer base for adoption of the technology. Applications of this technology in enhancing manufacturing and processing capabilities in industries, entertainment, sports, rehabilitation, and others is expected to provide high growth opportunities. However, commercialization of this technology and adoption rates are still unclear as some of this technology have not been market tested and may witness slower adoption rates over the initial few years of the forecast period.
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