Established in 1964 by Mike Lee and Vince Grispo, Research Instruments developed a range of mechanical micromanipulators for the microelectronics market for electrical testing of integrated circuits. The early micromanipulators, e.g. the TCV500 produced in 1964, had three axes of movement from one lever and a range of movement reduction from 500: 1 to 100: 1. Offering a price advantage and simplicity, these manipulators were purchased by large research organizations, such as the microelectronics giant GEC.
In the 1980s, Research Instruments developed the TLO500, an early derivative of the current TDU500 model, which incorporated the use of flexural hinges, giving the important advantages of stability and relatively low maintenance needs.
Approached by Simon Fishel, Research Instruments expanded into the IVF market in the early 1980s, developing micromanipulators that could be mounted on to an inverted microscope. The TDU500 was thus developed, and the Sonic Sword was designed to improve the ease of cell-wall penetration for the up and coming SUZI technique. During this period, Research Instruments concentrated on the IVF market and developed systems that responded to embryologists' needs.
With the advent of the ICSI technique, Research Instruments continued to develop innovative features to help the novice embryologist get to grips with micromanipulation. In the early 1990s, Research Instruments introduced a home function, which allowed the user to set up the micropipettes above the Petri dish and then to lower them into the dish rapidly without incurring accidental damage.