Purdue University engineers have developed a system that will enable employees to search huge industry databases of parts created with computer-aided design, or CAD, software, such as this image. Before a CAD part can be searched, its three-dimensional shape must be converted into "voxels," or volume elements, and then the system uses complex software algorithms to convert the voxels into a simplified "skeletal graph" based on "feature vectors," or numbers that represent a parts shape. The system then searches for these simplified skeletal graphs. (Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering)
Here is another example of CAD parts contained in company databases. Purdue University engineers have developed a system that will enable employees to search huge industry databases for such parts. Before a CAD part can be searched, its three-dimensional shape must be converted into "voxels," or volume elements, and then the system uses complex software algorithms to convert the voxels into a simplified "skeletal graph" based on "feature vectors," or numbers that represent a parts shape. (Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering)
Researchers at Purdue University have developed the first system capable of searching a company’s huge database of three-dimensional parts created with computer-aided design software.
Such "parts search engines" could save time and millions of dollars annually by making it easier for companies to "reuse" previous designs, benefiting from the lessons learned in creating past parts.
"Designers spend about 60 percent of their time searching for the right information, which is rated as the most frustrating of engineers’ activities," said Karthik Ramani, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering. "The whole power of computers is lost if you are not able to retrieve and ’reuse’ what you have created in the past."
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