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Infographic: Digital Twins Aid Earth Stewardship

Infographic: Digital Twins Aid Earth Stewardship

Digital twin technology is the latest tool helping environmental scientists to understand and attend to ocean floors and forests.
Digital twins use core technologies to create virtual replicas of some of the most complicated systems on Earth. Found in manufacturing, healthcare, and the energy sector, digital twins combine the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing with the analysis of historical data and real-time feedback from sensors and cameras. These interactive models present a digital representation that allows researchers to understand a complex issue and predict what may happen when a situation changes.

One area that currently represents about 8 percent of the digital twin market are the projects that examine how infrastructure will cause environmental changes, how industry can implement changes for better climate outcomes, and more. Such projects also have the ability to inform government agencies that have the ability to enforce regulations and make suggested changes to lawmakers. 

Beyond large environmental projects, there are small ventures that employ digital twins to monitor the health of everything from ocean reefs to stretches of agroforests. One example is the work being done by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), which was awarded $5 million from the National Science Foundation. Its task is to build the world’s first 4-dimensional virtual replica of a living coral reef that allows users to access information about water flow, temperatures, and reef inhabitants.


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