June 18, 2019
Digital Twins are 3D digital replicas of existing systems which uses data gathered by sensors predominately seen in IoT (internet of Things) devices from the physical ‘twin’ which is then sent to the digital replica. Digital twins can be something large like a large site like a shopping centre or an oil and gas rig to an individual part of a larger machine such as a jet engine. Using the data, the digital twin can provide insights to businesses in a manner of different ways. Digital Twins can run simulations of different events as part of risk management, running simulations can help identify problems before something is even built. Digital twins use this data to improve the operations of businesses and increase the efficiency of systems and workers. Digital Twins are nothing new. When the Apollo 13 accident happened, NASA were able to use pairing technology, a technology which preceded digital twin technology. Using the pairing technology, NASA were able to help the stranded astronauts using something that resembled a digital twin of the Apollo 13.
Digital Twins can also detect and identify issues before they even happen in the real world, this can improve safety, efficiency and prevent downtime. Three areas which the oil and gas industry always strive to improve upon. What if we took these 3D digital twins and presented their information and the simulations they can run in a completely different way? Such as in VR or AR, what would the benefits of doing this be?
Using Augmented Reality technology, data taken from the IoT sensors in combination with the digital twin can present real time information to on-site workers to notify of them of any potential issues. Data can be overlaid on to the real world allowing for a better level of visualisation by placing data on for example, a table or other flat surface all whilst the user is using their own mobile phone. Smart Glasses can also be used by overlaying data over what the user is currently seeing. Onsite workers like individuals working on oil rigs, could use something like the Microsoft HoloLens in combination with a digital twin to get real time information when performing maintenance and repairs.
Using Virtual Reality is an even more impressive way in which to present the data created by simulations by the digital twin as well as the data being fed into it by the sensors. Presenting data in VR has been in the past has been incredibly effective for other industries like the oil and gas and banking industries, VR can be used with digital twins this way. By using VR headsets and 3D digital representations of large sites like an oil rig or an energy plant, workers onsite can be presented with data from the Digital Twin. Rather than working with raw data, VR allows workers to immerse themselves and experience the site in real time or whilst simulations are running.
Improving your business with Digital Twins and XR
Whether it’s using VR to present data from a digital twin in an immersive and engaging experience or support onsite workers through augmented reality headsets and AR mobile phone technology, digital twins are a technology that you’ll see more and more large businesses enterprises use in the years to come.
If you have an idea you want created get in touch with us and we can bring it to life. Whether it’s a quick prototype, a full product or even just to brainstorm, our team will be here to help. From the beginnings of your prototype to the final product we can support you with professional advice and delivery.