Reverse Engineering

  • Goran Šagi
  • Zoran Lulić
  • Ivan Mahalec


One of the most time-consuming aspects of creating 3D virtual models is the generation of geometric models of objects, in particular if the virtual model is derived (digitized) from a physical version of the object. A variety of commercially available technologies can be used to digitize objects at the molecular scale but also multi-storey buildings or even planets and stars. The process of 3D digitizing basically consists of a sensing phase followed by a rebuild phase. The sensing phase collects or captures raw data and generates initial geometry data, usually as a 2D boundary object, or a 3D point cloud. Sensing technologies are based on tracking, imaging, and range finding or their combination. The rebuild phase is internal processing of data into conventional 3D CAD and animation geometry data, such as NURBS and polygon sets. Finally, in most cases, the digitized objects must be refined by using the CAD software to gain CAD models of optimal quality which are needed in the downstream processes. Leading CAD software packages include special modules for such tasks. Many commercial vendors offer sensors, software and/or complete integrated systems. Reverse engineering focuses not only on the reconstruction of the shape and fit, but also on the reconstruction of physical properties of materials and manufacturing processes. Reverse engineering methods are applied in many different areas, ranging from mechanical engineering, architecture, cultural heritage preservation, terrain capture, astronomy, entertainment industry to medicine and dentistry.


Reverse engineering Scanning methods Shape reconstruction Feature reconstruction Innovative design Intellectual property protection 


  1. 1.
    Chikofsky E, Cross J II (1990) Reverse engineering and design recovery: a taxonomy. IEEE Soft 7(1):13–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Wang W (2011) Reverse engineering—technology of reinvention. CRC Press, Boca Raton. ISBN 13: 978-1-4398-0631-9Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pham DT, Hieu LC (2008) Reverse engineering–hardware and software. In: Raja V, Fernandes KJ (eds) Reverse engineering—an industrial perspective, Springer, London, pp 33–70Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Raja V (2008) Introduction to reverse engineering. In: Raja V, Fernandes KJ (eds) Reverse engineering—an industrial perspective, Springer, London, pp 1–9Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Raja V, Fernandes KJ (eds) (2008) Reverse engineering—an industrial perspective. Springer, London, ISBN 978-1-84628-855-5 Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Müller HA, Jahnke JH, Smith DB, Storey M-AD, Tilley SR, Wong K (2000) Reverse engineering: a roadmap. In: Proceedings on the future of software engineering, pp 47–60Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hieu LC, Sloten JV, Hung LT, Khanh L, Soe S, Zlatov N, Phuoc LT, Trung PD (2010) Medical reverse engineering applications and methods. In: 2nd international conference on innovations, recent trends and challenges in mechatronics, mechanical engineering and new high-tech products development MECAHITECH, 23–24 Sept 2010, BucharestGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sansoni G, Trebeschi M, Docchio F (2009) State-of-the-art and applications of 3D imaging sensors in industry, cultural heritage, medicine and criminal investigation. Sensors 9:568–601. doi: 10.3390/s90100568 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barbero BR, Ureta ES (2011) Comparative study of different digitization techniques and their accuracy. Comput-Aided Des 43(2):188–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bi ZM, Wang L (2010) Advances in 3D data acquisition and processing for industrial applications. Robot Comput-Integr Manuf 26:403–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chang M-C, Fol Leymarie F, Kimia BB (2009) Surface reconstruction from point clouds by transforming the medial scaffold. Comput Vision Image Underst 113(11):1130–1146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Di Angelo L, Di Stefano P, Giaccara L (2011) A new mesh growing algorithm for fast surface reconstruction. Comput-Aided Des 43(6):639–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Labatut P, Pons J-P, Keriven R (2009) Robust and efficient surface reconstruction from range data. Comput Graphics Forum 28(8):2275–2290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ye X, Liu H, Chen L, Chen Z, Pan X, Zhang S (2008) Reverse innovative design—an integrated product design methodology. Comput-Aided Des 40(7):812–827CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wand M, Adams B, Ovsjanikov M, Berner A, Bokeloh M, Jenke P, Guibas L, Seidel H-P, Schilling A (2009) Efficient reconstruction of nonrigid shape and motion from real-time 3D scanner data. ACM Trans Graphics 28(2):15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ihrke I, Kutulakos KN, Lensch HPA, Magnor M, Heidrich W (2008) Transparent and specular object reconstruction. Comput Graphics Forum 29(8):2400–2426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rocchini C, Cignoni P, Montani C, Pingi P, Scopigno R (2001) A low cost scanner based on structured light. Computer graphics forum (Eurographics 2001 Conf. Proc.) 20(3):299–308Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Page D, Koschan A, Abidi M (2008) Methodologies and techniques for reverse engineering—the potential for automation with 3-D laser scanners. In: Raja V, Fernandes KJ (eds) Reverse engineering—an industrial perspective, Springer, London, pp 11–32Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Savarese S (2005) Shape reconstruction from shadows and reflections. PhD Thesis, California Institute of TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Post D, Han B (2008) Moiré interferometry. In: Sharpe WN Jr. (ed) Springer handbook of experimental solid mechanics. Springer, Berlin, pp 627–645 (ISBN: 978-0-387-26883-5)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
  22. 22.
    Zhang YF, Wong YS, Loh HT (2008) Relationship between reverse engineering and rapid prototyping. In: Raja V, Fernandes KJ (eds) Reverse engineering—an industrial perspective, Springer, London, pp 119–139Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lulić Z, Tomić R, Ilinčić P, Šagi G, Mahalec I (2012) Application of reverse engineering techniques in vehicle modifications. In: Stjepandić J, Rock G, Bil C (eds) Concurrent engineering approaches for sustainable product development in a multi-disciplinary environment. Proceedings of the 19th ISPE international conference on concurrent engineering (2013), vol 2. Trier, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4471-4425-0, pp 921–932Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    GOM (2008) Application example: quality control, sheet metal: measuring characteristic features using the optical measuring machine TRITOPCMM. GOM mbH, Rev. A (en) 03042008,
  25. 25.
    Cuypers W, Van Gestel N, Voet A, Kruth J-P, Mingneau J, Bleys P (2009) Optical measurement techniques for mobile and large-scale dimensional metrology. Opt Lasers Eng 47(3):292–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Tut V, Tulcan A, Cosma C, Serban I (2010) Application of CAD/CAM/FEA, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping in manufacturing industry. Int J Mech 4(4):79–86Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Červenková L, Skovajsa M (2013) Doosan škoda power: modernization and retrofitting of turbine components. GOM conference—optical metrology 2013, 9–12 Sept 2013, Braunschweig, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kremer J, Hunter G (2007) Performance of the StreetMapper mobile LiDAR mapping system in “real world” projects. In: Fritsch D (ed) Photogrammetric Week’07, Wichmann, Heidelberg, pp 215–225Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lerma JL, Navarro S, Cabrelles M, Seguí AE, Haddad N, Akasheh T (2011) Integration of laser scanning and imagery for photorealistic 3D architectural documentation. In: Wang C-C (ed) Laser scanning, theory and applications. InTech, Rijeka, ISBN: 978-953-307-205-0Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hieu LC, Zlatov N, Sloten JV, Bohez E, Khanh L, Binh PH, Oris P, Toshev Y (2005) Medical rapid prototyping applications and methods. Assembly Autom 25(4):284–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Robiony M, Salvo I, Costa F, Zerman N, Bazzocchi M, Toso F, Bandera C, Filippi S, Felice M, Politi M (2007) Virtual reality surgical planning for maxillofacial distraction osteogenesis: the role of reverse engineering rapid prototyping and cooperative work. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 65(6):1198–1208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Giordano M, Ausiello P, Martorelli M (2012) Accuracy evaluation of surgical guides in implant dentistry by non-contact reverse engineering techniques. Dent Mater 28(9):178–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Limbert G, van Lierde C, Muraru OL, Walboomers XF, Frank M, Hansson S, Middleton J, Jaecques S (2010) Trabecular bone strains around a dental implant and associated micromotions—a micro-CT-based three-dimensional finite element study. J Biomech 43(7):1251–1261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bagaria V, Deshpande S, Rasalkar DD, Kuthe A, Paunipagar BK (2011) Use of rapid prototyping and three-dimensional reconstruction modeling in the management of complex fractures. Eur J Radiol 80(3):814–820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Colombo G, Filippi S, Rizzi C, Rotini F (2010) A new design paradigm for the development of custom-fit soft sockets for lower limb prostheses. Comput Ind 61(6):513–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Samuelson P, Scotchmer S (2002) The law and economics of reverse engineering. Yale Law J 111(7):1575–1663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    WIPO intellectual property handbook (2004) WIPO, 2nd edn. ISBN 978-92-805-1291-5, reprinted 2008Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Archibugi D, Filippetti A (2010) The globalization of intellectual property rights: four learned lessons and four thesis. Glob Policy 1(2):137–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Henry C, Stiglitz JE (2010) Intellectual property, dissemination of innovation and sustainable development. Glob Policy 1(3):237–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval ArchitectureUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Adolo 7 d.o.o.ZagrebCroatia

Personalised recommendations