3D print workflow provider Authentise announced something they call “geometric search”, and it’s quite interesting.
Authentise is a unique company in the 3D print space as they provide neither 3D printers, materials, CAD design, print services, or finishing services. Instead, they want to be the glue between all of those pieces.
The reality of a 3D printing business is that the 3D printing itself is only a very small portion of the required work. 3D models must be created, quoted, transferred, versioned, analyzed, fixed, stored, printed, finished, packed, invoiced, shipped and many more steps. You get the idea: there are many things to do.
Typically this is done with a jumble of different independent software programs or (ugh) spreadsheets, and often there are plenty of problems as a result. Authentise provides a number of modules that perform a wide variety of 3D printing business administration and technology services from which you can assemble a 3D printing workflow that works for you.
Among their many features is storing 3D models, which you may wish to search from time to time. A new feature is geometric search, in which a given 3D model is reduced to a “signature”. They explain:
The software can find models based on similar attributes, geometric features, and thumbnails instead of text-based tags, descriptions, names, etc.
How is this done? Again, they explain:
Create a CAD database by extracting the signature of the model and its essential features. The total data extracted is on the order of 100Kb. This can reduce the total data by a factor of 1000 as opposed to storing the entire model.
What this means is that you could, theoretically, search for a signature and identify variants of a particular concept. You might also be able to detect a newly stored model that is actually a version of a previously stored 3D model.
There’s another benefit with this technology: security. Authentise explains:
Benchmarking suppliers for a part requires going through a design quoting interface. IP protection is paramount for any business. Geometric Search allows the process to happen without giving away your design, providing only the data useful for comparing with the index.
This alone could be a critical feature for some businesses who may be greatly concerned with the security of their designs.
Geometric search is a very interesting function that I’d like to see more widely implemented. In fact, for everyone the best scenario would be some kind of data standard for 3D model signatures that 3D model repositories could employ. That might make endless searches through large catalogs a bit more efficient.