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Research Papers

Metrics for Evaluating the Barrier and Time to Reverse Engineer a Product

[+] Author and Article Information
Stephen P. Harston

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602sharston@gmail.com

Christopher A. Mattson

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602mattson@byu.edu

J. Mech. Des 132(4), 041009 (Apr 22, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001347 History: Received June 01, 2009; Revised February 04, 2010; Published April 22, 2010; Online April 22, 2010

Reverse engineering, defined as extracting information about a product from the product itself, is a common industry practice for gaining insight into innovative products. Both the original designer and those reverse engineering the original design can benefit from estimating the time and barrier to reverse engineer a product. This paper presents a set of metrics and parameters that can be used to calculate the barrier to reverse engineer any product, as well as the time required to do so. To the original designer, these numerical representations of the barrier and time can be used to strategically identify and improve product characteristics so as to increase the difficulty and time to reverse engineer them. As the metrics and parameters developed in this paper are quantitative in nature, they can also be used in conjunction with numerical optimization techniques, thereby enabling products to be developed with a maximum reverse engineering barrier and time—at a minimum development cost. On the other hand, these quantitative measures enable competitors who reverse engineer original designs to focus their efforts on products that will result in the greatest return on investment.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Simple resistor-capacitor circuit. The capacitor is initially fully charged and begins to discharge the instant the switch is closed at t=0.

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Figure 2

A basic taxonomy of information contained by a product

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Figure 3

First order sensitivity analysis of the reverse engineering barrier

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Figure 4

First order sensitivity analysis of the time to reverse engineer a product

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Figure 5

Part 127 as presented in Sec. 5

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Figure 6

Part 128 as presented in Sec. 5

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Figure 7

Plot of unextracted dimensions remaining in Part 127 versus time as compared with the linear and exponential time predictions for Individual 1

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Figure 10

Figure of keyboard disassembled

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Figure 11

Plot of unextracted dimensions remaining in keyboard versus time as compared with the linear and exponential time predictions

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Figure 8

Plot of unextracted dimensions remaining in Part 128 versus time as compared with the linear and exponential time predictions for Individual 1

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Figure 9

Figure of keyboard before disassembly

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