Tracing the Evolving Trends in Electronic Skin (e-Skin) Technology Using Growth Curve and Technology Position-Based Patent Bibliometrics

Electronic skin (e-skin) technology has grown considerably over the past decade, attracting much attention as an emerging technology in the revolutionizing of the next-generation wearable devices and robots. Therefore, the tracing of the evolving characteristics of this technology up to the present time will assist researchers and R&D planners in directing their further R&D. In this paper, two patent-based bibliometric analyses are conducted to study the evolving characteristics of e-skin technology in terms of the technology life cycle and the technology position. First, a growth curve is fitted to the yearly patent registrations, thereby calculating the technology-maturity ratio, the number of potential future patents, and the expected remaining life of the e-skin technology. Second, a technology-position analysis that depicts the evolution of the core technologies and their neighborhood is performed to identify the way that new technology clusters emerge and grow over time. As a result, it is possible to identify from the inventional perspective that the technological development of the e-skin technology has entered the early maturity stage, and its expected remaining life as of the end of 2016 was estimated as 11.78 yr. In addition, several major technology clusters, including pressure-sensitive elements, semiconductor devices and fabrication, and diagnostics, which have grown considerably and show increasing technological overlaps, were identified.

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