The latest generation ‘digital twins’ are created at the University of Malaga. Three engineers from the ‘ERTIS’ research group have developed an open source platform, more accessible and versatile, that allows the design of these technological tools, which simulate real environments from virtual replicas.
Is about ‘Open Twins’, the first open ecosystem of ‘digital twins’ in an integrated manner, capable of combining the latest technologies: Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), monitoring, simulation models and 3D visualization. This innovative UMA platform has been published in the scientific journal ‘Computers in Industry’ and its source code is completely available on ‘GitHub’.
Understood as “dynamic and digital representations of a real object, process or system that has the ability to imitate and analyze their behavior”the UMA researchers, authors of this work, explain that, although the term ‘digital twin’ emerged in 2010, it was not until about five years ago that it reached its greatest use.
More complex structures
“Until now, most of the existing platforms in this sense were paid and could not be modified”says the professor at the UMA School of Informatics and director of the ‘Ada Byron’ Research Institute, Manuel Díaz, who states that ‘Open Twins’ overcomes these limitations and, in addition, adds ‘compositionality’, that is, it makes it possible that the ‘twins’ can be connected to each other in a simpler way, achieving more complex structures.
Likewise, the doctoral student Julia Robles, main author of this work that is part of her thesis project, highlights that, precisely, the fact of being able to integrate all the components in a single platform, creating an ‘open ecosystem’, allows predicting future behavior and, therefore, detecting anomalies in advance.
“Today, system simulation and modeling are essential tools in many industries, such as manufacturing and automotive, since they allow us to predict how real systems would work in different situations, avoiding risks,” adds the professor from the Department of Languages and Computer Sciences Cristian Martín.
More efficient companies
The result is more efficient companies, which change their behavior patterns based on the information offered by ‘digital twins’. “Thanks to them it is possible to access a kind of digital ‘clone’ of a real object and know its state in the past, present and future without having to interact directly with it. This facilitates making smarter decisions, reduces costs and increases quality,” the authors agree.
Applications for industry and the agricultural sector
An agronomist project to measure the pressure of an irrigation plan, developed together with the University of Córdoba; a robot that communicates with 5G technology to control movement in the ‘La Mayora’ experimental farm, with the aim of predicting the ripening and optimal point of the fruits; or a predictive model developed for the petrochemical industry 4.0 are some real applications of ‘digital twins’ carried out by the engineers of the UMA’s ‘ERTIS’ group.
‘ERTIS’, belonging to the Institute of Software Technologies and Engineering (ITIS), is located in the Ada Byron building on the Teatinos campus and focuses on the development of intelligent systems and the Internet of Things for industry and the agricultural sector. . The project ‘OpenTwins: An open-source framework for the development of next-gen compositional digital twins’ has been coordinated by researchers Julia Robles, Cristian Martín and Manuel Díaz.