Neural and muscular stimulation by electronic and magnetic means have evolved into a burgeoning product development and commercial fields. For decades, transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) has been a mainstay in the pain relief arsenal. Through the years, as biocompatibility problems were being solved, electrode and sensor implants developed into a multitude of technologies with healthcare applications.
The growing approval of these applications by government regulators and the growing acceptance by insurance carriers have driven the market. These techniques have piqued the imagination of many alternative medicine advocates and clients, creating a market for products that need not pass the regulator's tests. As neural stimulation devices have become smaller (many the size of handheld calculators), less expensive (dual channel TENS units for less than a hundred dollars), and less complicated to operate, the segment has filled with products that are relatively easy to market.
However, modern science and microelectronics manufacturing capabilities promise a future marketplace filled sophisticated devices and applications as well. These exciting innovations are now evolving from the integration of new technologies like wireless communications and sensors, MEMS and nanoelectronics, digital signal processing, advances in biocompatibility, and the development of nerve-to-electronics interfaces. Cochlear implants are enabling deaf to hear, neural prosthetics are aiding atrophied muscles to move, and other miracles are in the offing.
Objectives and Methodology
The goal of this Kalorama Information report is to examine the possibilities and realities in this unique marketplace, and to forecast both the market and the technologies that will drive nerve stimulation and nerve-electronics interfaces during the next decade. The report is written for medical equipment innovators, manufacturers, and marketers as well as buyers, healthcare administrators, and researchers in related fields. The report is based primarily on interviews with technology suppliers, other market participants, and analysts in the industry and on comprehensive searches of current research, product literature, company reports, market data, and other sources.