Imaginestics Does Web Search With Drawings - InformationWeek

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Imaginestics Does Web Search With Drawings

Users can find parts on foreign language sites without needing to type in text queries, though text can be used to refine searches.

Imagine using a crude drawing or doodle to search for something online rather than text.

Imaginestics LLC has developed a search engine called 3D-Seek.com that lets engineers search on drawings and images rather than text. The search engine launched this week at DEMOfall 2006 in San Diego, Calif.

The 3D search engine took seven years to develop. The technology extracts a descriptor in the sketch to find like objects. Users can add text to help define searches.

"Shape is the universal language," said Nainesh Rathod, Imaginestics president and CEO. There's no language barrier. If I want to find a part in China, I don't have to write the word in Chinese. I just draw it."

The application searches on more than 30,000 parts, processing 100 times more information than text engines to find similar objects as the drawing. Pictures of parts are retuned in the search query, rather than text.

Clicking on the picture representing the part redirects the user to the supplier's Web site. "The real world is all 3D, but we still use text to search for things online," said Karthik Ramani, Imaginestics chief scientist and Purdue University professor.

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