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Table 2 Selected technological trends found in the medical device industry. Rather than being uncorrelated, various trends actually strengthen each other, e.g. miniaturization supports both the integration in super-systems and targeted action

From: Functional technology foresight. A novel methodology to identify emerging technologies

• Minimally invasive technology (reduction in manual access, also in diagnosis)
• Integration between diagnostic and therapeutic functions in the same medical device
• Trend towards super-systems (e.g. echomyography = ultrasound scan + electromyography)
• Crossover of solutions to other fields (e.g. cardioneurology)
• Targeted action (e.g. substance delivery)
• Elimination of human involvement (e.g. rehabilitative robotics)
• Increase in the degree of segmentation of the active elements, or trend Mono-Bi-Poly (e.g. tools for the removal of organic materials)
• Miniaturization of devices
• Integration with genetic screening
• Increasing importance of software for support to early diagnosis, image processing and interpretation, simulation of therapies, definition of therapeutic protocols