Researchers at Purdue University say they have developed a system for searching a company's database of 3-D parts created using computer-aided-design (CAD) software. The new system lets users find the desired part either by selecting a part that resembles the specific part and retrieving a selection of 'like' items or by sketching the desired part. "Designers spend about 60% of their time searching for the right information, which is rated as the most frustrating of engineers' activities," claims Karthik Ramani, a professor of mechanical engineering at the West Lafayette, Ind., school and director of the Purdue Research and Education Center for Information Systems in Engineering. Purdue says their search system is not ready for commercialization just yet. "We have solved significant problems, but there are remaining challenges," Ramani says. Purdue engineers are working with a psychology expert to help improve the system by incorporating information about human perception.