ANAHEIM, CA (PTC Live Global 2013), June 12, 2013 - Don Flugrad, cofounder of iSEEK, was manning the booth at the PTC annual user meeting, but it iSEEK's CEO, Abir Qamhiyah, who commanding all the attention. Cascades of red hair, short dress, heels... CAD geeks don't see that often.
Eyes back on the product, I ask Don what's new? iSEEK has been pushing geometry-based search for some time, the ability to look for a part based on a similarity in shape to another. It will scan your database of parts and show you what is similar, rather than having to scan the parts yourself or try to remember part numbers. Don will tell you that the old way of searching [which is used in most every CAD system] relies on database engines using text or number searches. Bit database programs also work that way. And that's fine for addresses, phone numbers, part numbers, maybe even a standard part, like a screw, etc. but how is that going to help you find a yoke for a landing gear wheel, kinda like the one you made for another assembly? You just know one must exist, as you company has been making landing gear for decades, but where the hell could it be? A frustrating search later, you decide to just make a new model.
It is a scenario oft repeated. "Design engineers spend 20% of their time searching for the right document," says Don.
CADseek has been integrated with PTC's Windchill for over a year.
An algorithmic visual search makes perfect sense to me. A database search would be ok in a perfect world, where every part is stores with appropriate metadata. Really, who does that?
Shouldn't a CAD company have acquired iSEEK already, I wonder, only to realize I've again fallen in love with a concept. I better leave the M&A* to the suits.
What's next, I ask Don.
"We'll soon have the ability to take a picture of a part with a Android phone and be able to do a search," says Don. "For example, you have a broken washing machine part, you take a picture or two, and the app will find the part."
Android? Oh, yeah, I think engineers prefer Androids. I want to ask the CEO if she has an Android or an iPhone but I can't break through a throng of admirers.
*Mergers and acquisitions