Reverse engineering is the process of digitization of a physical object (called reference), for analysis or for remodeling computerized geometric surfaces, using special equipment and rework.

Usually the purpose of reverse engineering is to design a new object or device having as reference anything that already exists, of which it is unable to measure the exact size, due to the complexity of shape or difficulty in reaching the reference in question. Application possibilities are unlimited: sculptural; industrial; mechanical; aviation; aerospace; automotive; civil; architectural; medical; and many others.

Reverse engineering is developed in two phases: the first, called the acquisition phase of the data, is based on the "binning" of the reference in contiguous points in space that describe the shape approximation. The set of points sampled from the reference takes the name of "point cloud". The points, to be viewed with the appropriate 3D modeling programs, can be connected together by means of polygons and their together form a "polygon mesh", more simply called mesh, which is approximated by the starting reference. The greater the density of sample points, the better the approximation of the mesh to the reference. The point clouds may be obtained by contact with a probe or laser scanning of the surfaces. They can also be used in medical instruments such as: machines for the digital ultrasound; machines for magnetic resonance imaging; etc

The second phase, called the transformation step consists in reworking of the cloud of points in surfaces defined mathematically. These areas, known as NURBS surfaces (Non Uniform Rational B-Splines), approximate geometrically rationally and the mesh obtained from the point cloud. The results obtained depend mainly from the mesh base. Any "background noise", distortions or discontinuities of the points of the cloud, may reduce the accuracy of approximation, but they can be attenuated in the phase of data acquisition, or with special filtering software or manually, and in the processing phase, through a subjective interpretation of the reference.

CISIA provides a high-level reverse engineering allowing to reduce the degree of approximation of the model obtained. The process then allows total freedom to reshape objects obtained by providing the ability to change the geometry, obtained by the reference, on the basis of any design need.

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