Imagine the future of smart factories, where the digitalisation of the full value chain (design, production, and distribution) would enable real-time situational awareness and lead to better decision making and planning. This advanced method of production is at the core of CSIRO’s Data61 Mixed Reality Lab.
A ‘technology game-changer’ for manufacturing and multiple other industries, the newly launched Melbourne lab will enable organisations to create ‘digital twins’, or computer-generated copies, of real-world objects.
The recently launched lab will house a set-up of industrial and consumer optical cameras and sensing equipment to capture detailed information about a physical object and the space surrounding it. The equipment is underpinned by sophisticated algorithms which merge the enormous amounts of data collected to create a digital twin in a matter of minutes.
What it is
A virtual replica of a physical object or system, digital twins could improve product innovation and productivity by 25 per-cent by 2020, according to the International Data Corporation.
The Mixed Reality component merges the real-time interactive physical and digital worlds, allowing the user to view the digital twin via a computer or augmented reality set.
“By comparing a digital twin of a manufactured object against the original design, we can quickly, accurately and cost-effectively identify defects and map entire manufacturing processes across a global supply chain,” explained Matt Bolger, senior software engineer at CSIRO’s Data61.
“Defective components can be identified in real-time and corrected, while downstream processes can be adjusted to minimise the impact of delays.”
What it can create
With the ability to be scaled to the size of the object being scanned, the Mixed Reality Lab can be tailored to create products for a variety of businesses, including health, agriculture and mining.
“Our technology can also be applied to humans to analyse their movement, using deep learning and biomechanical modelling,” said Mr Bolger.
“This could help elite athletes improve their performance and reduce workplace injuries.”
Dr Simon Barry, Analytics and Decision Sciences research director at CSIRO’s Data61 said the Mixed Reality Lab is an example of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in action, the blurring of the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.
“This is the future of smart factories, where the digitalisation of the full value chain will enable real-time situational awareness and lead to better decision making and planning,” Dr Barry said.
“Digital twins of manufacturing processes, human movement and even our cities and infrastructure will significantly improve productivity, reduce costs and transform all manner of industries,” he said.
How does it work?
An example of how the technology could be applied in a manufacturing scenario:
- Manufacture an object.
- Scan the physical object using the Mixed Reality Lab’s state-of-the-art set up of industrial and optical cameras and sensing equipment, to capture detailed information about the object and the space surrounding it.
- The equipment is underpinned by Data61’s Workspace software, which uses sophisticated algorithms to merge the enormous amounts of data collected to create a digital twin.
- The digital twin can be compared to the manufactured object to identify defects or variations
- Using augmented reality, the digital twin can be displayed over the manufactured object to identify defects.