Intelligent Surgical Drill System

Strathclyde has developed an intelligent drill and navigation system for orthopaedic surgery which will significantly improve implant positioning, patient outcomes and healthcare costs.


About one in 40 people in the world requires orthopaedic surgery due to osteoarthritis. This high rate, coupled with an aging population, is driving the growth of the global orthopaedic devices market.

The orthopaedic devices market is expected to reach $41.2 billion globally by 2019. In England and Wales there are approximately 160,000 total hip and knee replacement procedures performed each year. Hip and knee replacements are carried out in around 400 hospitals in the UK.

Computer-Aided Orthopaedic Surgery (CAOS) has been advancing for some years due to the introduction of robotic surgical devices and navigation systems. Such advances have resulted in an increase in procedure accuracy leading to better precision in implant positioning. This has resulted in fewer complications and improved patient outcomes.

While current CAOS systems are impressive and lend themselves to minimally invasive procedures, there remains further scope for improvement in accuracy. This should translate into significant benefits to patients and healthcare systems through lower infection rates and other complications, reduced in-patient hospital duration, faster recovery and less patient discomfort.

Have a look at our video and see our prototype in action:



Current robotic systems are either unable to perform some orthopaedic procedures or undertake them sub-optimally. Our new intelligent drill and navigation system has been developed to enable surgeons to achieve a new level of implant placement precision.

Our technology is based on a hyper dexterity drill, a novel hybrid tracking device and a multi-modality navigation system which allows variable and controlled drilling pathways inside the bone.

The system has the potential to deliver benefits to both cost-conscious healthcare providers and patients.

Key benefits

  • minimally invasive surgery approach through smaller incisions, minimising trauma
  • much greater precision and accuracy through better visualisation and tracking
  • significantly improved implant positioning
  • decrease in the durations of patients’ hospital stay and
  • associated complications
  • faster patient recovery
  • less patient discomfort and therefore less use of pain
  • reduction therapies
  • low-cost solution

Markets & applications

  • the intelligent drill/navigation system can address all orthopaedic procedures including joint replacement and ACL reconstruction
  • the platform has the potential to extend to other bonerelated procedures such as spine, skull, maxillofacial anddental surgeries

Licensing & development

The University of Strathclyde is securing patent protection for this technology. A prototype to prove the concept has been built and tested in saw bone and in-vivo. We are seeking organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology.

For further information, please email the RKES team.