Podoactiva is a biotechnology-based company specialized in podiatry and biomechanics, which strives to improve the quality of people’s lives through the improvement of their gait, applying the knowledge and experience of our multidisciplinary team and innovative technology to diagnose, design and manufacture personalized treatments.
The system called 3D Scan Sport Podoactiva® was patented in Spain in 2008 with great results. It is a unique method to obtain a 3D scanned image from the foot using a laser. It was complemented with the creation of a specific software with Ingecon (“”3D Scan Insole Designer””) for the treatment and design of an insole from a virtual mould of the foot (the scanned image), leading to its robotic manufacture by milling a solid piece made of an exclusive polypropylene and carbon alloy Podoactiva material (Podoactiva Dynamic y Podoactiva Elastic). In 2011 this system was patented all over the world.
The input of the design program is a .stl file (STereoLithography) with the 3D scanned image of the foot of the patient (the 3D scan method is a Worldwide Patent hold by Podoactiva). This .stl file is generated in a podiatrist office and then sent to the Podoactiva to design the tailored insole. In Podoactiva, the .stl file is loaded in a CAD program and then the engineer uses the plug-ins to perform automated validations and simulations during the design process. The output is a tailored insole sketch that will be used in the manufacturing process by a CAM program and then a CNC milling machine.
Description of the infrastructure
3D Scan Insole Designer” is a PC software design and simulation platform used in the design of tailored insoles for foot wear used by sporty people and people with problems in their feet. It consists on a set of powerful plug-ins, add-ons and scripts developed to automate the design process of the tailored insole. They have been implemented on the commercial design program Rhino, but they can be used in almost any design program with a software development kit (SDK) allowing scripting after the code migration to the corresponding programming language.New functionalities will be added to the solution and the insole design process might be completely automated and the CAD program then would run in the background for every user.
The current available simulations are focused on the shoe industry, but the platform architecture selected makes easily feasible the development in the close future of new plug-ins to check sketches/images of other industries not related to the footwear business. These plans will be greatly supported by the migration of the platform to the cloud, which will grant huge computing and storage resources for many users.
Major concern is that the remote execution in Rhino doesn’t allow the migration of all the existing functionalities.
The software simulation consumes around 200 Mb of RAM memory in processes that can last more than 30 seconds. 10 users may try to access simultaneously to run the software.
Another important feature is that every patient simulation requires 15-20 Mb of hard drive space because of the scanned images that have to be uploaded and stored. Only in the case of Podoactiva, around 2000 insoles are designed per month and only the scanned images occupy 15 Mb, so up to 300 GB of new storage could be required monthly.
Detailed description of the demonstrator
The e aim of this experiment is to establish a portal through which scans can be uploaded to the cloud-based software service (SaaS) and then execute remotely the CAD plug-ins and get the result back. This will allow the following use cases:
- Immediate validation in the podiatrist office of the scanned images before sending to Podoactiva avoiding rejections and delays in the design. Currently if a scanned image is not valid for the design, it can only be detected in the engineering office some days later, and the patient has to go back to the podiatrist office to repeat the scanning process. With the new workflow, the podiatrist can validate the scanned file without the need of a CAD license and while the patient is still in his office.
- Ability to run CAD plug-ins remotely during the design of the insole instead of executing them in the PC. This will allow agreements with third party designers without risking the loss of intellectual property and software piracy. It will also enable the storage of design information (sketches…) in a common repository to share with the manufacturing workshop.
- Ease the integration of Automated intelligent calculation of the insole optimal thickness using finite elements method (on-going project with the University of Zaragoza)
This experiment will therefore explore the extent to which the development of a scalable cloud-based manufacturing service supporting the lifecycle of tailored insole production can be achieved.In general, the benefits expected are:
- Easier application maintenance and versions release
- Much safer to avoid software piracy and protect IPR (no source code in users’ premises)
- Many users capable to access simultaneously to the application
- Ubiquity: Comfortable access to the application from anywhere with an internet connection
- Improved marketing and pre-sell process enabling to prospective customers everywhere demo versions through the cloud and testing periods to the software services offered.
- Reduce the expenditure and dependency on third party software licenses maximizing their exploitation.
- Availability of high volume information storage (the scanned images occupy 15-20 MB per customer)
- Possibility to use SaaS business models.
Specifically, with the current scenario, the software developed should be handed over to third parties without the possibility to protect it by encryption (because they are embedded in the CAD) and IPR would be in danger. With the new cloud based model enabling remote execution, the new partners wouldn’t have access direct access to the code while enjoying all the functionalities quired. Also remote support would be much easier and HPC capabilities would also be very useful with many users accessing to the platform from many different places around the world.
Another important benefit is that with this project Ingecon is going to learn cloud technologies and advantages, and so they will be able to apply them to other commercial software packages they have for engineering applications, especially for the renewable energies sector.
Biotechnology, biomechanics, podiatry, 3D scan, insole design, footwear