In its latest robotics report, ABI Research predicts the robotic exoskeleton sector to reach $1.8 billion in 2025, up from $68 million in 2014, for a CAGR of 39.6%.
Lower body exoskeletons, employed as rehabilitation tools or quality of life enablers, currently lead the sector. However, commercial systems that augment or amplify capabilities will exhibit the strongest growth moving forward. This is especially true for industrial tasks requiring heavy lifting, extended standing, squatting, bending or walking in manufacturing facilities, particularly within construction and agriculture industries.
“Following years of ongoing research and development, a commercial exoskeleton market finally fully emerged, though it is still in its nascency,” says Dan Kara, Research Director at ABI Research. “Social imperatives, military requirements and business needs, supported by technological advances, now make it possible to develop commercially viable exoskeleton systems for a wide variety of applications and markets.”
Last week the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it will now cover the cost of ReWalk Robotics’ powered exoskeleton for eligible paralyzed veterans. The exoskeleton costs $77,000 and was too expensive for many injured veterans. According to NPR, ReWalk has so far determined 45 paralyzed veterans meet the criteria for the exoskeleton and have begun the enrollment process.
The VA policy is the first national coverage policy in the US for qualifying individuals who have suffered spinal cord injuries. The policy provides eligible veterans access to referral and evaluation at all designated ReWalk Training Centers across the country. Eligible veterans will be referred for training on the use of the device, and successful candidates will then be eligible to obtain a ReWalk Personal system.
“This historic policy will provide access to our life-changing technology for thousands of veterans across America,” said ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski. “We want all U.S. veterans with a spinal cord injury to know that they now have a path to securing their own ReWalk Personal exoskeleton system.