Mechdyne AR Tool Streamlines Review Process for Aerospace, and Industrial Design
SmartAR Integrates With Existing Workflow Tools, Provides Digital CAD Overlay That Snaps to Position Over Physical Models for Real-Time Annotation and Change Visualization
Mechdyne Corporation, an advanced technology powerhouse and pioneer in immersive visualization systems, introduced a new Augmented Reality tool that enables intuitive capture of ideas and direction during design reviews. smartAR integrates with existing production tools to provide a digital CAD overlay viewed on a tablet device. The CAD model snaps to position over physical prototypes for real-time annotation and change visualization. Concise and precisely positioned feedback to engineers reduces prototype iterations for automotive and aerospace designers and engineers. Mechdyne has already integrated this review capability into the workflow of a leading, global automotive manufacturer.
smartAR provides a direct reference between the designers’ ideas for change and the CAD model so the CAD engineer can more easily understand the changes requested. It captures the ideas discussed in design reviews and provides annotated images with accurate spatial references to document action items for a CAD production team. Using a standard Windows-based tablet fitted with optical motion trackers, designers can compare fixtures, colors, and design elements in the computer-generated model to the actual physical prototype. The image on the tablet maintains one-to-one scale with the real model representation, which can be a production vehicle or a model sculpted in clay. As the user and/or the tablet move around, the position and orientation of the CAD model remain accurate relative to the physical model. The virtual model can be exterior information such as surfaces and colors or internal components under the physical surface, similar to an x-ray mode.
Using smartAR makes it easy to detect mechanical component clashes or to visualize proposed changes to a model. As an example, three-dimensional animations of the mechanical operation of a new hinge or wing flap design can be overlaid onto a physical aerospace model to better understand clearances and impingements. In another example, the tablet can overlay different colors and textures onto a vehicle seat, reducing the number of physical upholstered iterations needed.
The connection between the tablet and the high-power CAD workstation server is bi-directional and is integrated with Mechdyne TGX remote desktop tool. TGX provides remote access to complex models and graphics-intensive datasets housed in distant locations, with minimal bandwidth usage and very low latency. As the user moves the tablet around a physical prototype, the motion tracking system shows the appropriate position of the overlaid CAD model relative to its real-life location.
In addition to enabling the user to make precise notes and capture observations with the tablet, smartAR has the ability to capture pictures of the combined prototype and CAD image, which can then be imported into the production CAD model in the exact planar location and orientation of the physical prototype. The picture transparency can be varied to allow the production engineer to see through the image to the CAD model. The tablet can also be used as an “x-ray” system, moving through the entire computer model relative to its real-life counterpart to review placement of mechanical components such as the engine, axle shaft, and steering system. The user can snapshot and/or annotate areas of interest to inform and expedite CAD changes.
“The smartAR augmented reality system is a breakthrough for design-oriented manufacturers that need to ensure accuracy and greatly speed up the design process,” said David Gsell, General Manager of the Software Business Unit at Mechdyne. “For companies that build complex, scaled prototypes, smartAR integrates with the tools they already use to create, process, and visualize design features, providing seamless integration with existing workflows.”
smartAR supports existing production tools, such as Autodesk Alias Surface and Autodesk VRED Professional, with the capability to integrate with additional CAD programs in future developments or as required. Developed by the world leaders in large-scale virtual reality and display systems, this augmented reality tool provides an intuitive interface that eliminates discrepancies between prototypes and computer models early in the design cycle, speeds the design process, and reduces costly prototype iteration.
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