Data61 launches Mixed Reality Lab for digital twin tech

Data61, the data and digital specialist arm of Australia's national science agency CSIRO, has launched its Mixed Reality Lab in Melbourne, Australia
Data61 launches Mixed Reality Lab for digital twin tech Data61 launches Mixed Reality Lab for digital twin tech Data61 launches Mixed Reality Lab for digital twin tech Data61 launches Mixed Reality Lab for digital twin tech Data61 launches Mixed Reality Lab for digital twin tech

An object being scanned using CSIRO,s patented Stereo Depth Fusion technology for depth estimation

Staff reporter

The lab will enable manufacturing and other industries to create 'digital twins', or virtual replicas of physical objects and systems.

By 2020, the International Data Corp (IDC) estimates that 30% of the top 2000 global companies will be using data from digital twins of Internet of Things (IoT)-connected assets to improve product innovation success rates and organisational productivity, achieving gains of up to 25%.

The Mixed Reality Lab houses 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.

Matt Bolger, senior software engineer at CSIRO's Data61, said the lab is a unique combination of Data61's research expertise across machine learning, computer vision, computational modelling, IoT, and CSIRO's Stereo Depth Fusion technology for depth estimation.

"This technology is game-changing for manufacturing and other industries," he explained. "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.

"Defective components can be identified in real-time and corrected, while downstream processes can be adjusted to minimise the impact of delays."

Dr Simon Barry, analytics and decision sciences research director at CSIRO's Data61, added that 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," he 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."

Karen Andrews, Australia's minister for industry, science and technology, said that the Mixed Reality Lab is a prime example of how technology can create new value in a vital sector of the economy.

"Taking up technologies, like digital twins and augmented reality, can improve productivity and strengthen our competitive advantage in a global value chain," she said. "A thriving manufacturing sector is part of our government's plan to grow the economy and create 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years."

The Mixed Reality Lab can be scaled depending on the size of the object being scanned.

It can be tailored to applications across various industries, including mining, to automatically validate a component or process.

"Our technology can also be applied to humans to analyse their movement, using deep learning and biomechanical modelling," explained Bolger. "This could help elite athletes improve their performance and reduce workplace injuries."

The Mixed Reality Lab is underpinned by Workspace, a powerful scientific application development platform, created by CSIRO's Data61.