The mind-boggling speed and reach of Internet search engines mask a severe limitation: They are powered by words alone. What a humdrum existence. The world is so much brighter and more varied, full of objects and patterns that defy searchable descriptions. In hopes of wrapping their arms around more of that stuff, computing researchers have developed new search engines that can mine catalogs of three-dimensional objects, like airplane parts or architectural features.
All the users have to do is sketch what they're thinking of, and the search engines can produce comparable objects. "The idea of information and knowledge, and retrieval of knowledge, has been something I've been intrigued with for a long time. This gives it a more solidified meaning," said Karthik Ramani, a Purdue University professor who created a system that can find computer-designed industrial parts. Ramani expects his search engine will serve huge industrial companies whose engineers often waste time and energy designing a specialized part when someone else has already created, used or rejected something similar.
News source: Yahoo News!