How industrial companies can launch consumer goods in the metaverse using blockchain technologies. More stories on grocery robotics rivals, spin welding, and moving large machine tools.
Nike and Boeing try out the metaverse. Autonomous factories launch in space. Stellantis goes all in on software. NVIDIA launches manufacturing partnerships.
The industrial metaverse is built on digital twin, extended reality, and blockchain technology. NVIDIA leads the way with their Omniverse, but many companies like Unity and Meta are following closely.
AVEVA E3D Design Overview
The Metaverse Goes Industrial: Siemens, NVIDIA Extend Partnership to Bring Digital Twins Within Easy Reach
Silicon Valley magic met Wednesday with 175 years of industrial technology leadership as Siemens CEO Roland Busch and NVIDIA Founder and CEO Jensen Huang shared their vision for an “industrial metaverse” at the launch of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform in Munich. Pairing physics-based digital models from Siemens with real-time AI from NVIDIA, the companies announced they will connect the Siemens Xcelerator and NVIDIA Omniverse platforms.
The partnership also promises to make factories more efficient and sustainable. Users will more easily be able to turn data streaming from the factory floor PLCs and sensors into AI models. These models can be used to continuously optimize performance, predict problems, reduce energy consumption, and streamline the flow of parts and materials across the factory floor.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Satya Nadella 2022 Build Keynote)
Should the metaverse matter to me?
Combining digital twins with IIoT applications in a factory or on a job site garners what may be referred to as the Industrial metaverse. Although providing value of themselves, digital twins are most powerful when combined and used across multiple industries to improve processes, monitor equipment, conduct predictive maintenance and train employees.
The metaverse in infrastructure: Connecting digital and physical worlds
The ITER project, based in France involves some 35 countries collaborating to build a large-scale electricity generation facility based upon the same principle that powers our Sun and stars – nuclear fusion. When completed, this facility seeks to prove the feasibility of fusion as a utility-scale, carbon-free source of energy.
ITER wanted to virtually teleport people into the digital twin and experience it. The resulting solutions use multiple platforms, including NVIDIA Omniverse, Unreal Engine for Oculus, Bentley iTwin, and Azure Remote Rendering for HoloLens2. This combination allows engineering-grade, millimeter-accurate digital content to be visualized with physically accurate lighting and environmental effects on multiple devices and form factors such as web browsers, workstations, tablets, and virtual reality and augmented reality headsets from anywhere in the world.
Amazon Robotics Builds Digital Twins of Warehouses with NVIDIA Omniverse and Isaac Sim
NVIDIA Omniverse Ecosystem Expands 10x, Amid New Features and Services for Developers, Enterprises and Creators
There are also new connections to industrial automation and digital twin software developers. Bentley Systems, the infrastructure engineering software company, announced the availability of LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse, powered by Bentley iTwin. It brings engineering-grade, industrial-scale real-time physically accurate visualization to nearly 39,000 Bentley System customers worldwide. Ipolog, a developer of factory, logistics and planning software, released three new connections to the platform. This, coupled with the growing Isaac Sim robotics ecosystem, allows customers such as BMW Group to better develop holistic digital twins.
At GTC, NVIDIA announced NVIDIA OVX, a computing system architecture designed to power large-scale digital twins. NVIDIA OVX is built to operate complex simulations that will run within Omniverse, enabling designers, engineers and planners to create physically accurate digital twins and massive, true-to-reality simulation environments.
"Manufacturing with metaverse components will become a critical consumer touchpoint—a point of differentiation for brands—in the future."— David Rogers (@doclrogers) March 26, 2022
The Full Potential of a Military Metaverse
A defense metaverse could build on this digital education ecosystem but it would be far more immersive, providing opportunities to draw on some of the mixed-reality advancements in education that are already taking place in the civilian and military worlds. Additionally, a defense metaverse offers the possibility of connecting virtual environments for acquisitions with those used for experimentation or training, allowing acquisitions professionals to quickly test or assess their designs in a virtual world that mimics the future operating environment — all while providing a modicum of operational security that the live environment may not afford. Lastly, a defense metaverse — much like many platforms — should also facilitate technology reusability, helping to drive down costs associated with acquisitions.
Semi-virtual site visits deliver enhanced customer value
AR technology offers opportunities to schedule visits that have been difficult to arrange in the past due to sites being in remote locations, offshore environments or other restricted areas. Headset technology allows field engineers to reach someone where they are and streamline the visit process. As a result, someone can receive insights in real time because remote engineers can see what is happening onsite versus trying to identify issues through messages or images (see Figure 4). Problems can be solved more quickly, which saves time and money in the process.
Revolution on the factory floor: benefits of the industrial metaverse
Recently, the first virtual factory set in a metaverse environment opened in South Korea where, using VR glasses, visitors can witness the manufacturing process of plastic screws and operate machines. The virtual factory can change settings such as the pressure of the injection moulding machine or the speed of the production process, without the need to shut the factory off. In the future, the factory floor might witness a revolutionary transformation from implementing the metaverse’s features.
Walmart is quietly preparing to enter the metaverse
Walmart appears to be venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The big-box retailer filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, Walmart said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.
Deloitte Launches Unlimited Reality: An Experience and Impact Offering for Virtual Worlds
Deloitte’s Unlimited Reality offering is designed to help clients understand and capitalize on the next massive wave disrupting business and society, and to equip executives with the strategies, tools and technologies they need to fully exploit virtual worlds and virtual economies. It provides guidance for businesses on how to transform industrial operations through physically-accurate digital twins, to monetize digital assets and engage customers using Web3 architectures, and to imagine and optimize new workplace models that combine humans and machines. The studio’s name is a reference to the tenth dimension. In theoretical physics, the tenth and final dimension captures the unlimited possibility of the universe in a single point, much like the promise of virtual worlds does for clients.
Hyundai Motor to set up metaverse factory with Unity
Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s top automaker, is set to establish a digital virtual factory in a metaverse space with Unity, a US-based real-time 3D content platform, in order to become a smart mobility solutions provider through upgrades of plant operations and production innovations. The partnership is expected to realize Hyundai’s vision of becoming the first mobility innovator to build a Meta-Factory concept, a digital twin of an actual plant, supported by a metaverse platform.
The automaker plans to first apply the concept to Hyundai Mobility Global Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS), supporting Hyundai Motor Group’s initiative to create an open innovation hub for research and development. The group earlier planned to adopt digital twin technology to HMGICS’ design sector.
Boeing wants to build its next airplane in the metaverse
In Boeing Co’s factory of the future, immersive 3-D engineering designs will be twinned with robots that speak to each other, while mechanics around the world will be linked by $3,500 HoloLens headsets made by Microsoft.
Boeing’s holy grail for its next new aircraft is to build and link virtual three-dimensional “digital twin” replicas of the jet and the production system able to run simulations. The digital mockups are backed by a “digital thread” that stitches together every piece of information about the aircraft from its infancy - from airline requirements, to millions of parts, to thousands of pages of certification documents - extending deep into the supply chain. Overhauling antiquated paper-based practices could bring powerful change. More than 70% of quality issues at Boeing trace back to some kind of design issue, Hyslop said. Boeing believes such tools will be central to bringing a new aircraft from inception to market in as little as four or five years.
Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and sneakers for the metaverse
Nike just announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios, which it calls ‘a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.’
RTFKT claims that in February 2021, a collaboration with teenage artist FEWOCiOUS to sell real sneakers paired with virtual ones managed to sell some 600 pairs/NFTs in just six minutes, netting over $3.1 million at the time. This was around the same early spring period when most of us were hearing about NFTs for the first time, as Grimes sold some $6 million worth of digital artwork on March 1st. It’s not clear if any of these digital items are worth as much now; looking at OpenSea and Nifty Gateway right now, I see a number of them are either listed for or have recently sold for less than their original prices.
Emulate sensors and mechatronics systems with Unity SystemGraph
Unity SystemGraph is a new graph-based authoring tool that represents systems through its components, such as lidar sensors and cameras, in Unity. Now robotics and engineering teams can more easily prototype systems, test and analyze their behavior, and make optimal design decisions without access to the actual hardware.
Building digital twins, mixed reality and metaverse apps for businesses
BMW uses Nvidia’s Omniverse to build state-of-the-art factories
BMW has standardized on a new technology unveiled by Nvidia, the Omniverse, to simulate every aspect of its manufacturing operations, in an effort to push the envelope on smart manufacturing. BMW has done this down to work order instructions for factory workers from 31 factories in its production network, reducing production planning time by 30%, the company said.
Product customizations dominate BMW’s product sales and production. They’re currently producing 2.5 million vehicles per year, and 99% of them are custom. BMW says that each production line can be quickly configured to produce any one of ten different cars, each with up to 100 options or more across ten models, giving customers up to 2,100 ways to configure a BMW. In addition, Nvidia Omniverse gives BMW the flexibility to reconfigure its factories quickly to accommodate new big model launches.
BMW succeeds with its product customization strategy because each system essential to production is synchronized on the Nvidia Omniverse platform. As a result, every step in customizing a given model reflects customer requirements and also be shared in real-time with each production team. In addition, BMW says real-time production monitoring data is used for benchmarking digital twin performance. With the digital twins of an entire factory, BMW engineers can quickly identify where and how each specific models’ production sequence can be improved. An example is how BMW uses digital humans and simulation to test new workflows for worker ergonomics and efficiency, training digital humans with data from real associates. They’re also doing the same with the robotics they have in place across plant floors today. Combining real-time production and process monitoring data with simulated results helps BMW’s engineers quickly identify areas for improvement, so quality, cost, and production efficiency goals keep getting achieved.
Unity moves robotics design and training to the metaverse
“The Unity Simulation Pro is the only product built from the ground up to deliver distributed rendering, enabling multiple graphics processing units (GPUs) to render the same Unity project or simulation environment simultaneously, either locally or in the private cloud,” the company said. This means multiple robots with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of sensors can be simulated faster than real time on Unity today.
According to Lange, users in markets like robotics, autonomous driving, drones, agriculture technology, and more are building simulations containing environments, sensors, and models with million-square-foot warehouses, dozens of robots, and hundreds of sensors. With these simulations, they can test software against realistic virtual worlds, teach and train robot operators, or try physical integrations before real-world implementation. This is all faster, more cost-effective, and safer, taking place in the metaverse.
“A more specific use case would be using Unity Simulation Pro to investigate collaborative mapping and mission planning for robotic systems in indoor and outdoor environments,” Lange said. He added that some users have built a simulated 4,000 square-foot building sitting within a larger forested area and are attempting to identify ways to map the environment using a combination of drones, off-road mobile robots, and walking robots. The company reports it has been working to enable creators to build and model the sensors and systems of mechatronic systems to run in simulations.
12 factors heating up the popularity of digital twins and simulations
Observers see significant demand for multi-physics simulations that present a holistic view across different physical domains like electronics, structures, and heat. This is critical for areas like noise and vibration. Top simulation techniques include computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multi-body systems (MBS), or finite element analysis (FEA) technologies.
Others expect to see simulation advances used to improve various aspects of operations, particularly with the rise of the so-called “omniverse” for rendering models — referring to the use of things like VR and AR, automated data labeling, AI-powered physics, and improved supply chains.
On May 9, 2019, at the Fluidity Summit in New York City, Uniswap announced Unisocks, a limited edition pair of socks utilizing a bonding curve as its pricing mechanism. To facilitate ease of trading, Uniswap created SOCKS, an ERC-20 token representing a pair of Unisocks. Users can freely trade SOCKS on Uniswap or redeem them to receive the physical pair of socks.
People Are Selling Digital Socks for $92,000 on Ethereum's Uniswap
In 2019, Uniswap created 500 SOCKS tokens. The original idea was that they are “backed” by the same amount of physical, limited-edition pairs of socks. But they also came with a unique price scale. The very first SOCKS token was listed for $12, but the price of each subsequent sale has been increasing according to a dynamic curve since then. This has led to the current, absurd price high.