The evolution of digital twins: the metaverse

08-09-2022 | Posted by Principia


“Our universe Is 838 and we’ve designated yours 616”

This quote from Doctor Strange in the latest Marvel film refers to the multiverse as a multiple physical reality, a collection of alternative observable coexisting universes, beyond our space-time reality. Reality? Fiction? Science glimpses at their existence, but it cannot prove it. 

But something similar already exists (or almost): the metaverse, similar to our universe, but in digital space. If we apply the multiverse theory to the digital environment, the multiverse would be a collection of metaverses…

From an industrial perspective, what started as simple digital designs has evolved to ever more immersive environments, where it is possible, for example, to simulate the production process, allowing interaction between assisting robots and digital human avatars. And if we replicate the simulations in different digital environments that can interact, we will have a digital multiverse that will allow analysing and comparing the behaviour of the physical assets in each metaverse.

Simulation software already allows generating such virtual environments and many companies are optimising their manufacturing processes, their assembly lines, as well as the ergonomy and the safety of their workers using virtual representations of reality and digital twins.

As suggested, automation usually involves human workers as well. A digital twin can already simulate the worker’s movement and interaction with the machines, and we can contemplate various alternatives for modifying the location of the elements, or the investment in new equipment. What if we install an automated machine that operates faster? Or can we arrange better the workers to avoid bottlenecks in the production process?

Take as an example the loading and unloading of machine tools. A single worker can do it simultaneously for more than one, but what happens if we install one with a faster production cycle? Will he be able to follow the pace, or will he become the limiting factor?

A digital twin can simulate the change in the process, identify the times involved in loading and unloading, the necessary man-machine interactions and, finally, establish the optimum balance to specify exactly the performance requirements before purchasing new equipment. Or not purchasing it, semi-automating instead the loading operations. Eventually it could generate multiple alternative metaverses to find the best scenario to fulfil the specified requirements.

What is the best alternative? Metaverse 838 or 616? Virtual simulation has the answer, at least in this universe.

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