ROBODOC™ was the first robot to perform surgery in the United States. It was developed in 1986 by IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and researchers at the University of California, Davis. They formed a collaborative initiative to develop a surgical device for Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA). The team included William Bargar, M.D., Howard "Hap" Paul, D.V.M (1949- 1993), and engineers, Brent Mittelstadt and Peter Kazanides. See US Patent 5,769,092 for Computer-aided system for revision total hip replacement surgery and US Patent 5,806,518 for Method and system of positioning surgical robot, 1998. The original company, Integrated Surgical Systems (ISS) was incorporated in 1990.
The goal of ISS was to create a robotic surgical system that would redefine precision joint replacement procedures. Drilling into bone by hand is not always precise, and often requires glue to fill in empty spaces. Additionally there is a danger the bone will splinter. In this regard, ROBODOC is similar to computer-controlled machine tools. ROBODOC "mills" the bone or joint for accurate fitting similar to machine tools.
In May of 1990 the device was successfully tested on dogs. Since 1998 when it received 510 (K) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Total Hip Arthroplasty over 28,000 procedures have been performed worldwide.
ROBODOC™ was eventually sold in 2007 to Novatrix Biomedical, Inc. which formed Curexo Medical, Inc. to handle the acquisition of Integrated Surgical Systems, Inc. (ISS). ISS became THINK Surgical, Inc. in 2014.