Soumac’s WOW Blog: Digital twins

‘Digital twins’ are the latest much talked-about technology trend. Imagine having an exact copy of yourself, that only exists in the digital world, which is designed to improve you and give you feedback.

Current world

Currently everything that exists in the world is being replicated digitally. Plans are to create a digital twin of yourself that would be able to walk around, think and interact as you do. Experts say we will have thinking digital twins within a decade.

Digital twins are set to go a step further than the virtual worlds and basic avatars that currently exist, to combine Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the Internet of Things, (electric devices connected to the internet) to constantly learn and imitate your behaviour.

Success

Although avatars themselves are currently in the early stages of development, we have already started the journey towards twinning and other industries are using them to great success. Helping to:

Improve efficiency

Businesses are using digital twins to improve efficiency, by creating a digital map of their warehouses and supply chains.

Refine design

On a larger scale, whole cities are being replicated. Shanghai and Singapore now have digital twins.

These digital twins are being used to improve the design of buildings and transport systems, as well as finding new ways for people to avoid areas of pollution.

Reduce waste

Hair care manufacturers have been cutting down on waste, by digitally designing sustainable shampoo bottles instead of creating (and disposing of) real-life prototypes.

Similarly, companies working on futuristic projects like jet packs, motorbikes with floating wheels and flying cars are also choosing to refine initial real-life prototypes digitally.

Save lives

Virtual models of the human heart have been produced to advance medical knowledge, whilst reducing animal testing.

This allows surgeons to test medical procedures which may be used to treat rare and complex heart conditions.

There are plans to create more organ twins, including the eye and brain.

Prevent global disasters

Now thinking on a world-wide scale, there’s a race to replicate the whole planet, producing high resolution imagery of the earth’s surface, to help provide solutions to climate change.

By the end of 2024 there is expected to be sufficient data on floods, droughts, heatwaves and natural disasters, like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, to create plans that will save lives.

The Soumac View

Although digital twins have been used extensively and have had great success in product design, distribution and construction, there are ethical concerns which must be considered when talking about digitally cloning people.

Questions arise about ownership of personal data, as well as employment rights – will businesses start using digital twins with learnt behaviours instead of paying the real-life version?

It is still early stages for creating human digital twins, current avatars are still fairly clunky and unable to move or think. Experts have highlighted AI is still a way off being able to predict and model complex behaviours, taking into account nature vs. nurture, different socio-economic backgrounds, as well as personal choices.

However, we are very excited to see digital twins continue to develop our understanding of medical and environmental issues, which will ultimately save lives.

About Soumac

At Soumac, we love to see the technological developments being made across all sectors and are always on hand to support businesses with their printed circuit board assembly needs, to help bring their ideas to life.

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