Design engineer uses Augmented Reality to protect IP

MarchantCain Augment Reality AR IP Application
According to the company, the real size, 3D visualisation doesn’t jeopardise valuable IP and still allows the design to be manipulated and viewed in detail - image courtesy of MarchantCain.

Midlands design engineering business, MarchantCain has introduced a novel way for manufacturers to protect their intellectual property (IP) by harnessing Augmented Reality.

MarchantCain has developed its own application which utilises Augmented Reality to bounce a CAD file off a target in order to generate a real life visualisation of a product.

The target can be locked down to an individual computer IP address and triggered to shut down when accessed by a different device - image courtesy of MarchantCain.
The target can be locked down to an individual computer IP address and triggered to shut down when accessed by a different device – image courtesy of MarchantCain.

According to the company, the real size, 3D visualisation doesn’t jeopardise valuable IP and  still allows the design to be manipulated and viewed in detail.

To keep the file secure, the target can be locked down to an individual computer IP address and triggered to shut down when accessed by a different device.

The company’s managing director, Rob Marchant, hopes that this will solve many of the protection issues associated with the way CAD files are currently shared through the supply chain.

He explained: “The problem with sharing a CAD file is that, although they can deliver detail and allow designs to be manipulated, they are also very easy to copy, and can leak IP.

“Our method converts the CAD model into a visualisation that can be connected to an individual computer IP address. It can still be spun around, enlarged and manipulated like a CAD file, but because it is generated by augmented reality, it doesn’t carry any of the IP that would come across in a normal CAD file.”

Rob Marchant, managing director, MarchantCain Design
Rob Marchant, managing director, MarchantCain Design.

The new approach to sharing design drawings in manufacturing is reportedly simple to use. The target is an image or logo, which can connect with the file as a printed PDF, either via a computer screen or mobile device. 

Furthermore, the visualisation is compressed, to ensure that it uses less bandwidth than electronically sending a CAD file to a customer. Once sent together with the target, a design can be brought to life.

The MD aims to not only help to protect IP in manufacturing – a recent report from Kapersky found that 20% of manufacturing businesses globally suffered a loss of IP last year, but also bring different manufacturing departments together.

He concluded: “A CAD file can only really be shared with somebody who already has CAD knowledge and can understand how to interpret it.

“With our approach, you don’t need any technical knowledge to view a file. This means that purchasing and quality teams, as well as design and engineering teams, can gain a good picture of a design, and understand how a product looks in order to price it accurately.

“This should bridge the divide that currently exists in manufacturing businesses between engineers and people in other business functions.”