Mechdyne Augmented Reality Tool Streamlines Review Process, Reduces Prototype Iterations for Automotive, 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

June 3, 2020

Marshalltown, Iowa:

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 remains
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’s 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 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.

About Mechdyne Corporation

Mechdyne Corporation is a broad-based technology company with business units developing solutions for immersive virtual reality, audiovisual and information technologies (AV/IT), software and content development, and IT and technical support services. Mechdyne’s Integration Business Unit has deep experience in virtual reality extending back to its founding in 1996.

The integration team has a long track record of success with innovative solutions that enable research, improve design, speed decision making and push the boundaries of both science and technology. Headquartered in Marshalltown, Iowa, Mechdyne serves a global client base that includes leading government laboratories, university and research centers, energy, aerospace, manufacturing, and health care organizations, as well as any other users of advanced technology.

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