About 15 years ago, a start up company based out of a garage in California, moved into their Palo Alto Headquarters for the first time. That start up was Google, and they changed the way that billions of people search the internet on a daily basis. Using sophisticated computer algorithms, which take hundreds of variables into account, Google has solidified their position as the worlds #1 internet search engine. In fact they are so far ahead of their competition, that some have even called them a monopoly.
Here we are in 2014, and one company hopes to do the same thing Google did in the late 1990’s, start a company based around search, that could change the way we all interact with our computers. 3DShap.es recently launched their search engine behind the proprietary 3D search algorithms of 3DIndustri.es, which are used within the 3dpartsource.com website. Like 3DPartSource, 3DShap.es searches via images, but unlike 3DPartSource, they return results of only 3D printable models which match a given search query.
Complicated algorithms may drive the technology used by 3DShap.es, which searches via images, however, the way it works from a user’s standpoint is rather simply. All a user needs to do is upload a 3D model in brep, dxf, iges, obj, step, stl or vrml format to the search engine, and 3DShap.es will analyse that model returning results of models which are 3D printable, and similar to that which has been uploaded. Users can then click a link to head over to the host of that particular file, and quickly download it, or they can do a subsequent search, this time using that new model to search with.
3DShap.es has teamed with several 3D model repositories, like that of Thingiverse. This enables them to provide a vast database of models, available via their search algorithms. For those simply looking to search via text, 3DShap.es offers that option as well.
“There’s been huge progress and development in 3D printing hardware lately, but content has been left as almost an afterthought,” says Seena Rejal CEO and founder of 3DI. “This will severely limit growth unless its addressed before 3D data becomes unmanageable.”
As the 3D printing market expands, and millions of households eventually own 3D printers, there will be subsequent growth in the number of searches performed for models which are compatible with 3D printing. What 3DShap.es looks to do, is establish themselves as the authority within this rapidly expanding niche.
Overall their search works pretty well, especially for being in beta, however, in order to really become an authority within this area, they will need to continue to improve upon the algorithms used, as well as expand there file library. Ultimately such a technology could be an important part of the 3D printing ecosystem, as well as an interesting way to identify possible intellectual property infringements.
Have you used 3DShap.es yet? Let us know your thoughts in the 3DShap.es forum thread on 3DPB.com.