Applications for new categories of wearable devices are beginning to evolve into some interesting areas -- particularly within the medical arena, where innovation is likely to have a very positive impact on the professional healthcare sector.
Consumer wearable devices targeting health and fitness applications have already demonstrated some promising early-adopter use-cases. Moreover, advancements in neuroscience technology research have several manufacturers preparing to launch Brain-to-Machine Interface (BMI) enabled products.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, revenues from both medical-grade and consumer BMI related products will already approach $10 million in 2015.
That said, let's be clear about the potential applications, BMI technology is unable to read your thoughts. However, tapping into brain activity -- as a means of understanding human behavior, or controlling an external activity -- are now becoming possible.
Example BMI Application Scenarios
"Hardcore video gamers will be the first consumers to buy brain-to-machine interfaces," says Jeff Orr, research director at ABI Research. Combining augmented reality, eye-tracking, and BMI headgear will give elite players the upper-hand in real-time multiplayer gaming.
But don't expect to see people walking around wearing headgear to track their brain activity similar to those that have worn a fitness activity tracker. According to the ABI assessment, success of EEG-based headgear relies on precise placement and good electrode contact points with the scalp.
Also known by the medical research community as Brain-to-Computer Interfaces (BCI), clinical research trials of BMI solutions are combining the latest technology and brain-implanted modules to provide advanced robotic prosthetics, mobility controls, and communications capabilities to severely afflicted individuals.
BMI Device Market Outlook
In summary, revenue from both commercial and medical BMI products are forecast to reach $9.7 million in 2015, growing to $205 million in 2020 -- that's a a CAGR of 84 percent over the next 5 years.
Unit volumes for BMI products in 2015 top 20,000, increasing to more than 850,000 shipments in 2020 -- that's a CAGR of 113 percent over the 5-year forecast period.
North America and Western Europe have taken an early lead in the worldwide BMI market. The Asia-Pacific region, led by Japan, is forecast to experience the highest growth rate for both BMI units and revenues over the next 5 years, due to their advanced medical research community and savvy consumer technology buyers.