July 30, 2014

At the Smart America Expo, start-up Imaginestics out of West Lafayette, Indiana demonstrated the potential impact of "Smart Shape Technology (SST)" on 3D printing and local manufacturing hubs.


The SST system empowers today's consumers to connect directly with local manufacturers and retailers. For example when a device in your kitchten or office is broken and you need to quickly find a solution to fix it. Via mobile devices and wireless chips embedded on a part (Active Label), the system les you take a picture of the problem part of the device with a smartphone, and then finds a match of the broken component. The Active Label technology contains 3D design data and links to retailers to communicate the part's availability, location and shape signature information via VizSpace, Imaginestics' social supply chain cyber platform.

The system then displays the information of part's availability and its precise location. Addtionally it also gives user an option to use the part's active label to directly build the part at a local neighborhood 3D printing service provider. Once the user selects the printer, he then is able to go to that specfic printer and pick up the part he needs to complete his repair.

Nainesh Rathod, founder of Imaginestics teamed up with Jamie Tan and developed its first shape-search engine: VizSeek. VisSeek works like the human brain: it translates 3D models, 2D sketches, photographs, and even hand-drawn doodles into results you can use. Users can use the shape of the part as search input to find a supplier who carries similar parts.

The VizSeek technology pwoers the VizSpace platform, where companies create an online profile and showcases their products and services by uploading images, 2D drawings, 3D models, catalogs and other product-related text information. VizSeek then indexes that information and matches the visual input of buyers to suppliers' visual data files.

This technology, combining 3D printing and neighborhood 3D printing hubs, provides more channels for manufacturers and more choices for consumers. It helps to create job, grow local manufacturing and increase busienss for retailers and manufacturers.

"Maturity of 3D printing technology coupled with SST is one of the means to bring manufacturing back to local communities, and SST will allow consumers and manufacturers to connect like never before." Rathod said. "The potential economic impact for communities is astounding when you return demand to local manufacturers."


Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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