Digital Twin technology remains a key area for innovation as highlighted in our 2023 Technology Trends Report. As technologies are gearing up to include more immersive experiences i.e. the metaverse, digital twin tech becomes even more essential, and as shown in the latest patent applications features in this article, foundational to enterprise metaverse.
A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object. A digital twin includes all the information about how an object looks, feels, behaves, and even operates. Creating a digital twin can be used for various purposes such as analyzing the performance of a machine or designing a product. In addition to metaverse, digital twin systems can be utilized in building management systems, manufacturing and ego-machines.
Johnson Controls / Tyco
US20220390913: Building Management System With Intelligent Visualization
U.S. 2022/0390913 was filed on June 7, 2022 by Johnson Controls Tyco IP Holdings LLP, a merger of Johnson Controls and Tyco. In a 2016 press release, Johnson Controls asserts that “Tyco aligns with and enhances the Johnson Controls buildings platform”.
A byproduct of this merger is the ‘913 patent application which relates to a building management system that uses digital twin technology to provide a digital representation of entities of a building such as equipment, spaces, or assets. With a digital twin of a building, this invention can provide a better visualization of data. As disclosed in the ‘913 patent application, digital twin technology can help “technicians find the root cause of issues and solve problems faster”. The invention aims to solve the issues that come with the deployment of control algorithms such as the time it takes for development, and the lack of flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances in the building. In some embodiments of the invention, the systems and methods are “configured to allow for various cross-correlated information received from or ingested from the one or more external sources or systems to be pushed to the corresponding digital twin associated with the virtual asset and used to update one or more pieces of stored information of the digital twin.”
Building management systems are not new to Johnson Controls. In the same month that the ‘913 patent application was filed, the company launched version 12 of their Metasys Building Automation System. If granted, this ‘913 patent invention can further protect future enhancements for Metasys.
US20220391565: Automatic Generation Of Bill Of Process From Digital Twin Using Exploratory Simulation
US 2022/0391565 was filed on May 25, 2022 by Siemens Aktiengesellschaft. Siemens’ technologies are present in various fields such as industrial automation, smart infrastructures and healthcare.
The ‘565 patent application relates to an automated generation of a Bill of Process (BOP) using digital twin technology. A BOP is a set of instructions for manufacturing a product. Prior to automation, a BOP is oftentimes used by a factory worker to assemble a product. These instructions are typically generated by humans which are interpreted by human workers if the manufacturing process is not automated. With automation, these human-made BOPs must be fed into and interpreted by machines.
The ’565 patent application takes automated BOP generation into a higher level by using a digital twin of the product and environment for manufacture. These digital twins are used to simulate the manufacturing process to determine an optimal manufacturing process steps which are then translated into a BOP.
The Easy Plan software is Siemens’ current platform for generating BOPs. If granted, the ‘565 patent application will most likely be implemented as a feature of this software.
US20220391766: Training Perception Models Using Synthetic Data For Autonomous Systems And Applications
US 2022/0391766 was filed on May 27, 2022 by NVIDIA Corporation. NVIDIA is a full-stack computing company known for their graphic processing units (GPUs) which are highly recommended for gaming enthusiasts. In addition to their GPUs, NVIDIA has also joined the digital twin trend through the launch of an accelerated digital twin platform last March 2022.
Typically, a digital twin of a system requires different types of sensors to measure the parameters that can describe the system. These data are then labeled and used to generate artificial intelligence (AI) models for the digital twin. The process of labeling as well as the collection of a large number of data can both be time-consuming and expensive. The ‘766 patent invention seeks to overcome these disadvantages by combining real-world data with synthetic data generated from simulators. This invention is to be used for ego-machines.
The NVIDIA Modulus is the physics computing framework supporting digital twin technology. If granted, the ‘766 patent invention can strengthen the capability of this computing framework.
More insights on digital twin technology in our Digital Twin Patent Landscape Report .