More Comprehensive Visual Computing Tools Expanding Well Beyond Product Creation
Herrera on Hardware: Developing, maintaining, and refining products, buildings, and operations with digital twins.
Is it possible that after all these years of evolution in computer-aided design and simulation, we’ve still only scratched the surface of visual computing’s potential? Stepping back and thinking about the typical projects which rely on CAD — buildings, physical infrastructure, and personal and industrial products of all kinds — our focus has been primarily or exclusively focused on those projects’ infancy. We sketch, draw, simulate, visualize, and iteratively refine until we’ve got a virtual model ready for physical implementation. And hopefully, but sadly not always, the virtual can be converted to the physical in an automated flow, with minimal manual rework. And, then, we’re basically done. Sure, models will often be leveraged for subsequent product refinements or even debugging, but essentially the project is archived and we move on to the next design.
But while the job of the designer and creator is done, the actual life of the product is just starting. Chances are that its lifetime will last far longer than the design and development did. So why not leverage all that design insight to optimize the product’s physical life as much as its virtual creation? That’s the premise behind one of the emerging uses of the digital twin and the metaverse. It’s a concept introduced in previous columns, and one now being adopted by some of the biggest names in automotive, architecture, and construction industries.
NVIDIA promoting Omniverse as a key enabler for digital twin applications. Image source: NVIDIA.
From Creation to the End of its Physical Life:
The Digital Twin as an End-to-End Computing Environment
At first blush, we could look at the metaverse and a digital twin as simply a more physically accurate and comprehensive environment for more traditional CAD objectives, one that imparts as much detail in a virtual product’s world as it does in the product itself. And, yes, the fuller scope of that environment can yield feedback and cues in physical simulation, operations, and lighting that might otherwise be missed with a model focused only on the part with minimal reality in its surrounding world.
Thinking about a more conventional lighting simulation (although conventional shouldn’t be interpreted as trivial) as for example rendering complex outdoor scenes like the tree-lined street below. Factor in many iterations in a daybreak-to-sunset simulation, and the compute burden becomes enormous, but one well-suited to the cloud-hosted metaverse.
Physically based outdoor lighting with complex scenery using simulation. Image source: NVIDIA.
On an even grander scale, consider Siemens’ use of Omniverse in the design and layout of an off-shore wind farm. Within Omniverse, Siemens ran thousands of CFD simulations to ascertain the best possible guide the placement and orientation of each turbine to maximize generation throughput.
The wind farm project highlights the unique power of a cloud-hosted, GPU-powered metaverse versus traditional client-side workstation computation. Where one iteration at full simulation precision would bog down the fastest multi-cored CPU for not just hours but days, simulations in Omniverse instead not only delivers the accuracy of the complete natural environment of wind and weather, it can harness Omniverse-integrated components in machine learning, GPU compute-acceleration, and massive scalable performance available in the cloud.
How else can this technology assist you? Find out how using digital twins, the Omniverse, and similar technology can bring all of this intelligence together and help you deliver lifecycle data for buildings, infrastructure, products, and more. Read more >>
From Our Sponsors
Here Comes ZWCAD 2023: Efficient, User-Friendly, Connected
ZWSOFT, a provider of all-in-one CAx solutions, released its latest version of flagship 2D CAD product — ZWCAD 2023. Read more >>
The metropolitan area of Charlotte, N.C., has experienced firsthand how GIS technology can modernize transportation planning. Find out how they work with stakeholders to map strategies. By Andrew G Roe Read more >>
CAD Manager's Column: You’ve Got to Have a Plan
There are so many facets to your job as a CAD manager, you must have a plan that you reference throughout the year. Find out what you need to keep track of to help yourself, your team, and your company be successful. By Robert Green Read more >>
Viewpoint: Businesses Are Getting Back to Work with Printers
How technical professionals are leveraging printers at home, the office, and on the job site. By Jacob Hardin Read more >>
CAD Manager Chronicles: Episode 1: Communication
Introducing Cadalyst's new CAD Manager Chronicles video series from CAD Management Expert Robert Green. In this kickoff episode, Robert discusses how best to use elevator pitches to make sure your CAD team gets the hardware, software, and support they need to be successful. By Robert Green
It comes down to physics — a deskside can always outperform a mobile workstation. Cadalyst hardware expert, Alex Herrera, looks under the hood of both to break down the pros and cons of each form factor.
Cadalyst Pro Tip:
Training Checklist for CAD Managers
Training is an essential task on every CAD manager's to-do list. But with all those little details to remember, preparing a clear, informative training session can be overwhelming. Use this handy checklist from CAD management expert Robert Green to help you be successful.