The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals and access to digital therapies, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Smart contact lenses.

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.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, drug delivery device security, microscopic image analysis models, and cellular imaging techniques are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, automated immunoassay analysers, and AI-assisted MRI are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart fitness training system and non-invasive physiological monitoring, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry

Smart contact lenses is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Smart contact lenses are a cutting-edge optical innovation designed to maximise human potential. Many smart contact lens initiatives focus on the Augmented Reality (AR) potential of contact lenses on the internet of things in order to give the human eye a computer-like interface.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of smart contact lenses.

Key players in smart contact lenses – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare 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 smart contact lenses

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 227 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 210 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 115 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 32 Unlock company profile
e-Vision 26 Unlock company profile
Menicon 20 Unlock company profile
E-Vision Smart Optics 13 Unlock company profile
InteraXon 10 Unlock company profile
Geelux Holdings 9 Unlock company profile
Ubiquity Biomedical 7 Unlock company profile
Tangible Science 6 Unlock company profile
Ocular Dynamics 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in Smart contact lenses. Some other key patent filers in the field include Alphabet and Magic Leap.

In terms of application diversity, InteraXon leads the pack, followed by Menicon and Magic Leap. By means of geographic reach, Johnson & Johnson holds the top position, followed by Menicon and e-Vision in second and third spots, respectively.

Smart contact lenses can provide numerous solutions for health monitoring and medical therapy, such as corneal damage, allergy relief, glucose monitoring, and vision correction. Although there are numerous exciting technological concepts in development, there are currently no viable and marketable smart contact lenses available.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare.


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.