On March 23rd, 2021, the Report of the Global Conference on WIPO Technology Trends 2021: Assistive Technology was held at WIPO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. This is a report on the major technology trends in the field of rehabilitation engineering technology with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) since it released its first technology report-WIPO Technology Trends 2019 - Artificial Intelligence. Daren Tang, director-general of WIPO, attended the conference and delivered a speech. Relevant leaders from WHO and more than 150 experts from over 30 countries and regions attended the meeting online. Professor Yu Hongliu, director of the USST Rehabilitation Engineering and Technology Research Institute, attended the press conference as one of the 10 specially invited guests and experts in the world, delivered a speech and participated in discussions as an expert at its round-table forum.
This groundbreaking report looks at patenting and technology trends in innovation in assistive technologies. It identifies the prominent technologies. It identifies the emerging technologies, top players and markets for patent protection across seven domains- mobility, cognition, communication, hearing, the built environment, self-care and vision. The report reveals that USST ranks No.1 between 1998 and 2019 in terms of the total number of patent applications for rehabilitation assistive technology or rehabilitation engineering technology among the top 12 universities and public research institutions in the world, and it is also the only institution of higher education in the world to have entered the top 12.
Patents are an important indicator of technological innovation and transformation. Since 2019, WIPO has been looking at the development direction of future technology through patent analysis. WIPO’s first technology trend report on AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology trend was released in 2019, and assistive technology is its second such report. The report was completed after more than one year's hard work by more than 70 experts around the world, demonstrating that the international community is paying great attention to the development of rehabilitation assistive technology.
Professor Yu Hongliu, as a member of the panel of the experts specially invited by WIPO, participated in the panel’s review of the technology trend report and commented on the future trends, technology transformation, universal design integration and Chinese characteristics of AT technology. He believes that in the future AT technology will integrate artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, VR/AR, Internet of things and other emerging technologies, while traditional AT devices will develop rapidly in the direction of becoming remote, intelligent and roboticized. On the other hand, AT services will also be combined with these emerging technologies to produce many new AT service modes, such as intelligent rehabilitation prescriptions, fully personalized rehabilitation equipment, remote services and so on. Besides, Professor Yu Hongliu, as one of the world's five well-known experts recommended by WHO, gave an expert rating on the maturity of technology trends involved in the report.
Rehabilitation engineering is a major orientation of the discipline of biomedical engineering at USST and the relevant research has been carried out in rehabilitation engineering since 2003. After more than a decade’s development, USST’s rehabilitation engineering has developed into an important base for scientific research and talent cultivation. In recent years, USST’s rehabilitation engineering technology has already obtained more than 100 authorized invention patents, and dozens of them have been transformed, ranking in the forefront compared with its peers in the industry. This global report on rehabilitation assistive technology is another important international activity in the field of rehabilitation engineering after i-CREATe2018, the largest international conference on rehabilitation engineering held by our university. Therefore, it will help to further expand the international influence of our university in this discipline.