Raindrop Geomagic's 3D models make Invisalign orthodontic system fit for mass customisation

Research Triangle Park 05 February 2001Align Technology, maker of the Invisalign orthodontic system, has awarded Raindrop Geomagic a software license and development contract valued at more than $1.6 million. Raindrop Geomagic develops and markets Geomagic Studio, the first 3D product to provide precise dimensional and photometric information with coloured geometry in one process. The result is true-to-life 3D models that can be created in minutes by anyone, rather than in days by a specialist.

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Align Technology designs, manufactures and markets the Invisalign System, a proprietary new method for treating malocclusion, or the misalignment of teeth. Align's customised manufacturing process requires the latest technologies in computer graphics and animation, computational geometry, computer vision, and 3D scanning and printing. Raindrop Geomagic is providing patented technology and engineering services that enable Align to optimise its manufacturing process to meet current demand and increase its capacity in the future.

The contract is the first phase of what is expected to be a long-term strategic partnership between the two companies. It will help make Align Technology the first company to offer "mass customisation", individually designed products which can be manufactured in large quantities for the general public. Align is expected to deliver millions of Invisalign devices, each precisely fitted to individuals during various stages of orthodontic treatment.

The Invisalign System corrects malocclusion using a series of clear, nearly invisible, removable appliances which gently move teeth to a desired final position. Because it does not rely on the use of metal or ceramic brackets and wires, the Invisalign System significantly reduces aesthetic and other limitations associated with braces.

Align Technology selected Raindrop Geomagic as its partner based on the company's technology and "world-class talent", according to Zia Chishti, Align Technology's CEO. "Our design and manufacturing processes require automation, throughput and customisation, all of which Geomagic has the unique ability to provide." "This agreement is the most significant milestone since Raindrop Geomagic's inception in 1996", stated Ping Fu, the company's president and CEO. "Align Technology will make history as the first company to lead the wave of mass customisation for the 21st century."


Leslie Versweyveld

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