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Smart Robotic Prosthetics

As per the Amputee Coalition, 2.1 million people are currently living with limb loss, in the U.S. Chronic diseases like diabetes, vascular diseases and cancer are among the leading causes for amputation. The global prevalence of chronic diseases is exploding, they account for 71% of global death, annually, as per the WHO. Out of these, cardiovascular diseases cause the most deaths, approximately 17.9 million annual deaths, cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes are the three other major fatal chronic diseases.


According to the Amputee Coalition, of the more than 2 million people living with a loss of limb in the U.S., majority (54%) were due to diseases like diabetes, peripheral arterial disease etc. and 45% were due to trauma. Rising incidence of diseases such as critical limb ischemia (CLI), which severely damages the extremities of the limbs is another factor necessitating the demand in the market. Subsequently, diabetes and sedentary lifestyles are all contributing to an increase in CLI, which usually results in limb paralysis.


A paper published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International stated the global prevalence of amputations due to trauma was more than 57 million, as of 2017. The increasing rate of amputations and increasing need to find better technologies to restore quality of life for amputees is driving the growth of the market.


With aging populations, increased incidence of vascular diseases and trauma that lead to amputations, those numbers are likely to increase worldwide. Some countries like the U.S. could see their number of amputees nearly doubled by 2050.


To the 1 million global new amputees yearly (that’s one amputation every 30 second), the loss of a limb means that they have to adapt to a new world. Take India, one of the world’s most populated countries, for example. Only 3% of its buildings are adapted for accessibility, while the country counts more than half a million amputees. As part of this new adaptation process, amputees succumb to further injuries. Experts estimate that amputees fall at about 200 times the rate of healthy individuals; and seek medical attention comparable to the institutionalised elderly.


Technology trends

Rapid advancements in technology especially in robotics has also been a key driver for the growth of the robotic prosthetics market. The use of better materials, biosensor technology, use of artificial intelligence as well as other tools are behind the rapidly evolving field of robotics.


Ongoing research and development on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning is technologically incorporated into the prosthetic and orthotic business, which has been beneficial for people with disabilities. Leading producers of rehabilitation tools have used the neural network concept to simulate a variety of morphological and biomechanical functions of the body’s missing parts.


Intelligent prosthetics are predicted to interface with the human nervous system and brain to improve movement precision and comfort. The bridge between the two is joined via technology and artificial intelligence. This is extensively used in upper extremity prosthetics consisting of hand, elbow, and shoulder and lower extremity prosthetics consisting of foot & ankle, knee, and hip.


Healthcare professionals are developing less invasive and advanced prosthetics using computer aided design (CAD) software to enhance the products. Using this software aids in designing and analyzing the product through 3-D graphics, providing the precision and efficiency needed for the prosthetics.


Further, modern three-dimensional (3D) printing technology is aiding the intelligent prosthetics to be widely available and affordable, fuelling the growth.


Advancements in technologies such as bionic limb, mind or thought control prosthesis, and exoskeletons are introduced by integrating electronic circuitry, USB-C rechargeable, software, robotic-assisted, and electron beam melting (EBM) technology.


Bionic prosthetics are making robotic limbs feel more and more like regular limbs with more agile, human like movements and aesthetically appealing looks for robotic prosthetics.


For instance, in Sweden, researchers have been studying and improving a new version of consciously controlled prosthetic arm, capable of significantly improving the quality of life for amputees. The prosthesis is surgically attached to bone, muscle and nerves, implanted electrodes pick up brain signals and help in movement, touch, etc., just like a normal, natural arm would. Innovations like these are significant contributors to the overall growth of the robotic prosthetic market, globally.


The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also involved in development of novel prosthetic systems for veterans, one such example of their developments is the LUKE arm system which was developed in collaboration with DEKA Research and Development Corporation. It is a modular system and is powered by batteries, it enables dextrous arm movements through an intuitive controlling system which enables the users to make movements in multiple joints, simultaneously.


Robotic Prosthetics market

The global robotic prosthetics market size was valued at USD 1,269.6 million in 2021. The global intelligent prosthetics market is expected to enjoy a valuation of US$ 747.4 Mn by the end of 2022, and further expand at a CAGR of 6.1% to reach an estimated valuation of ~US$ 1.35 Bn by 2032.


The market is primarily driven by the high rate of innovation in the field of robotics by deploying artificial intelligence, 3D printing and increased demand for custom made bionic prosthesis. High rate of amputation due to injuries, chronic diseases and congenital diseases are also key to the rise in demand for robotic prosthetics.


However, the only downside is the cost of these technologies which make them non-approachable to the general public. These advanced technologies are still in development and testing phase and are poised to bring about a revolution in the market. Government initiatives and support for growing number of research and development activities in the field of AI and robotics also propelling the market towards growth.


Market Segments

The microprocessor prosthetics segment held the largest market share of 57.7% in 2021. The microprocessor prosthetics provide amputees with better stability, more natural movements and overall improved functionality of the prosthetic limb. This technology has revolutionized the prosthetics industry and has made lives of lower limb amputees better. These have better adaptability to supply more mobility by adjusting to walking patterns of the wearer.


Myoelectric prosthetics are however poised to grow significantly over the forecast period. This new technology where-in the prosthesis is controlled by mind rather than mechanically, is the new rage, many companies and institutes are continuously improving the technology to bring out the best version of a truly bionic prosthesis. These are much nearer in terms of mimicking the natural movement of limbs as compared to mechanical or even microprocessor prosthetics.


A number of companies have developed myoelectric prosthetics with currently available technologies which offer wider range of movements and a better quality of life. For instance, In September 2021, Steeper introduced a myoelectric system which includes Myo Kinisi hand which is easy to control along with auto grip function providing amputees to grip or hold objects much more efficiently.


Extremity Insights

As of 2021, the lower body extremity section held the largest market share of 56.5%. It is also predicted to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast years. The number of lower limb amputations in general are more common than the upper limb amputations. The rising prevalence of chronic illnesses like diabetes and PAD are the main reason for amputations that are due to non-traumatic injuries. A research article published on Trauma Monthly studying the number of amputations over a period of 10 years reported the lower limb amputations accounted for more than 79% of the total cases.


The leading non-traumatic amputations were due to diabetes (over 26%) and vascular diseases (over 10%). The growing demand for prosthetics in the geriatric population manages the growth of the market. The global geriatric population is on a staggering, all time high, a total of 727 million people were aged above 65, as of 2020, as per a report by WHO. The older generation in need to replace limbs with prosthetics to improve quality of life and over functionality has been driving the growth of the market.


Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The market is highly competitive due to the presence of several large players and is driven by the R&D activities done in the industry to constantly improve the functionality of the prosthetic limbs so as to get as near as possible to mimic the natural movements.


Regional Insights

North America accounted for the largest market share of 43.0% of the global robotic prosthetic market as of 2021. The region’s development status as well as availability of modern and advanced technology, presence of large players in the market and increasing number of R&D activities in the field are all significantly contributing to the growth of this region. Furthermore, initiatives taken by the government to provide its veterans with prosthetics has also promoted considerable growth. Presence of companies pioneering in the field of robotics is also a key driving factor. Sarcos Robotics, a U.S. based company involved in development of highly advanced robotic systems which use AI, also creates wearable technology and has recently received funding for its R&D activities, amounting over USD 95.0 million.


Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at the fastest pace owing to the growing economy of the region’s countries, growing geriatric population as well increasing number of amputations in the low-middle income countries in the region. A study published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International revealed that the highest number of traumatic amputations were done in the East and South Asia regions. Above mentioned factors are key factors responsible for the growth of robotic prosthetic market in the region.



Several robotics companies are now making prosthetics for upper and lower extremities. Some of the prominent players in the robotic prosthetics market include: Ottobock, Touch Bionics, Inc., and EndoliteSynTouch, Inc., HDT Global, Össur Americas, Shadow Robot Company



Recent developments

For instance, in 2019, Ossur, a leading player in orthopaedic and prosthetic technology unveiled its bionic Proprio Foot microprocessor ankle. The company integrated AI and used CAD to enable the prosthetic to sense and respond to change in walking style of the user and according to the terrain.

Indian Space Agency – ISRO reported to have developed an intelligent artificial limb using Space technology in Sep 2022. The ‘microprocessor-controlled knees (MPKs)’ offer extended capabilities for the amputee than those offered by the passive limbs that do not use the microprocessors. “Thus far, a 1.6 kg MPK has enabled an amputee to walk about 100 m in the corridor with minimum support. Efforts to improvise the performance are underway,” The Space Agency said.


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Cite This Article

International Defense Security & Technology (May 30, 2023) Smart Robotic Prosthetics. Retrieved from
"Smart Robotic Prosthetics." International Defense Security & Technology - May 30, 2023,
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International Defense Security & Technology - Smart Robotic Prosthetics. [Internet]. [Accessed May 30, 2023]. Available from:
"Smart Robotic Prosthetics." International Defense Security & Technology - Accessed May 30, 2023.
"Smart Robotic Prosthetics." International Defense Security & Technology [Online]. Available: [Accessed: May 30, 2023]

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