Reverse engineering is also known as reverse engineering analysis, or reverse engineering design. It involves the analysis and reconstruction of the design of a product/system through the examination of its structure, operation, and function. Reverse engineering involves taking apart an existing product, looking at its components and functions, then using this knowledge to create or improve on the existing product. Reverse engineering is applicable to many fields including biology, computer hardware, software, and mechanical and electrical engineering.
There are many ways to reverse engineer. The specific approach used will depend on what product or system is being examined. A common approach to reverse engineering is to first examine the overall design and function of the product or system, then break it down into smaller parts or subsystems. The individual components and subsystems can then be examined in detail to learn how they function and fit into the overall system.
Reverse engineering can also be done by looking at the product’s behavior and looking for trends. It may be possible to determine the underlying structure and design of the product or system by studying how it functions under different conditions.
Reverse engineering can be done with a variety of techniques and tools, depending on what product or system is being examined. These are some of the most common tools and techniques:
- Disassembly involves taking apart the product/system, inspecting its parts and then reassembling it. This can be done manually or with the use of specialized tools such as disassembly jigs or microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) disassemblers.
- Scanning and imaging: This is the use of specialized equipment to create 3D scans or images that show details about the product’s components or structures. These images or scans can be used to create detailed diagrams or models of the product.
- Simulation and modeling: These are used to create virtual models of the product or system and allow for analysis and comparisons. You can create these models using a variety software tools such as finite element analysis (FEA), computer-aided design (CAD), and so on.
- Data analysis: This is the process of analyzing data generated from a product or system such as log files and performance data. You can use a variety data analysis tools such as spreadsheets, databases or specialized software to do this.
Reverse engineering can be used in many ways, including:
- Improvement of performance or efficiency in an existing product/system: It may be possible to identify areas that can be improved or made more effective by understanding the design and operation of a product/system.
- Reverse engineering existing products and systems can be used to create new products or new systems.
- Reverse engineering intellectual propriety: It is possible to identify IP infringements and violations by analysing the design and operation a product or system.
- Reverse engineering products or systems that have failed or are experiencing defects can be used to investigate the root cause and provide a solution.
Disassembly tools and scanning and imaging equipment are some of the most common tools used for reverse engineering.