This article presents the first of a three-part tutorial on surgical and interventional robotics. The core concept is that a surgical robot couples information to action in the operating room or interventional suite. This leads to several potential benefits, including increased accuracy and the ability to intervene in areas that are not accessible with conventional instrumentation. We defined the categories of surgical CAD/CAM and surgical assistance. The former is intended to accurately execute a defined plan. The latter is focused on providing augmented capabilities to the physician, such as superhuman or auxiliary (additional) eyes and hands. These categories will be the focus of the final two parts of this tutorial.