Google trends grant us a window into what terms people are using to look for exoskeleton and related information. We can also see how popular those terms have been over time compared to their peak popularity, and how popular they are compared to each other.
Google Trends is made by Google Inc., based on Google Search, that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.
Exoskeleton, Wearable Devices, Wearable Robotics, Biomechatronics
The above are four of the most popular terms to describe the exoskeleton industry. So which one is the most popular in Google Search? What can we see from this? Although we don’t know how often “exoskeleton” refers to an insect exoskeleton vs a mechanical one, it is a far more popular search term than Wearable Robotics or Biomechatronics. The general term “Wearable” has gone through a sharp popularity at the start of 2014 (most likely due to wearable sensor devices and exercise trackers) and is far more popular than the term “exoskeleton” (for now).
How to define exoskeleton products is also questionable. Competing terms to “exoskeleton” such as exosuits, powered suits, ergosuits, and powered armor are often mentioned. In the chart above, we can see that “exoskeleton” is the most used term, with the exception of “power suit” in 2015. What happened in 2015? The popular Fallout franchise released Fallout 3, which had powered suits and power armor. The game allowed players to find and play with different powered armor suits hidden around the virtual world and for players to build one from scratch module by module. This created a spike in Google Search for “power armor” and “power suit” that dwarfed any other related term.
Some exoskeleton companies have been more popular on the internet than others. Some share search terms that overlap. For example, CYBERDYNE is also the name of the fictional company that creates the Terminator in the Terminator movie franchise. Google Trends shows that companies such as Ekso Bionics have been good at staying relevant, while major initiatives such as Myomo issuing stock and Noonee press coverage have definitely paid off in terms of additional Google searches. Overall, no dedicated exoskeleton company can compete with the search volume for established entities in the industry such as Ottobock.
This is just a small sampling of the power of Google Trends. If you are interested in more information we encourage you to try it out yourself at https://trends.google.com/trends/. You can search for terms individually or compare and contrast against each other. For more popular search terms, you can even break down your results by language and region.