The digital transformation and availability of more diverse and cost-effective methods for 3D capture have led to the creation of digitised representations of parts of our public spaces, machinery and processes, commonly referred to as digital twins. In order to realise advanced virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications for cityscapes and industrial environments, continuously updated digital twins are a crucial requirement.
14 organisations from across the EU (and beyond) have united to deliver a three-year Horizon Europe research and innovation project. The DIDYMOS-XR project was officially launched in January 2023, bringing together a diverse consortium of partners, working in the fields of digitisation, localisation, and ethics-by-design. DIDYMOS-XR’s vision is to create large-scale digital twins, synchronised in real-time with the real world.
DIDYMOS-XR will research and develop robust and scalable methods for 3D scene reconstruction from heterogeneous cameras and sensor data (e.g., lidar), integrating data captured at different times and under different environmental conditions and creating accurate maps of the scene.
The capture of scenes at scale, as well as using cameras and other sensor data for synchronising the digital representation, bears the risk of capturing personal and sensitive data. Because of this, the technologies resulting from DIDYMOS-XR will be ethics and privacy-aware by design.
DIDYMOS-XR will test and develop these tools by implementing XR applications for two thematic use case areas, namely industry and cityscapes.
Within the cityscapes use case, we will focus on three areas:
- City planning
DIDYMOS-XR will create digital twins of cities and their infrastructure, based on existing digital information, captured using dedicated equipment and low-quality sensors available at scale. The primary aim of this is to enable XR applications for urban planning and smart mobility. This will include, for example, checking the impact of roundabouts in comparison to traffic lights on traffic flow, or assessing how the increased volume of autonomous vehicles affects parking availability.
2. City Inventory
DIDYMOS-XR will also create digital twins of cities and their infrastructure for the purposes of city management. This will include plant management, such as detecting invasive species, and the maintenance of roads, side-walks, and other public spaces, plus the detection of free parking spots.
3. Virtual Tourism
DIDYMOS-XR will create digital twins of cities to be used for VR and AR applications, enabling tourists to immerse themselves in the history of a city they are visiting or planning to visit. VR will be used remotely to immerse the user in the life of the city and enable an assessment of different factors relating to an in-person visit. This includes showing when places are most crowded, organizing groups and planning tours in specific areas of the city or at specific times/days of the week to avoid traffic and other challenges associated with urban mobility.
The industry use case will focus on one area:
- Collaboration with autonomous mobile robots at an industrial production facility
DIDYMOS-XR will create cost-effective digital twins of existing production facilities and keep them synchronized with data from autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and low-cost sensors. Collaborative mapping with a human-in-the-loop will ensure high-fidelity digital twins by giving the worker the ability to correct any errors in the digital twin, and add missing parts or points of interest for the robots in the digital twin.
For more information on the DIDYMOS-XR project, please visit our website: https://didymos-xr.eu/