Digital Twin

A Digital Twin is a digital representation of a physical object or service. A digital twin is, in essence, computer software that analyzes real-world data to build simulations that can anticipate how a product or process will perform.

A digital twin is a virtual representation equivalent to a physical object or activity. Though the notion originated earlier (attributed to Michael Grieves, then of the University of Michigan, in 2002), the first practical definition of digital twin originated from NASA to improve the physical model simulation of spacecraft in 2010. Digital twins are the consequence of ongoing development in product design and engineering activities. Product drawings and engineering specifications went from handwritten drafting to computer-aided drafting/computer-aided design to model-based systems engineering.

It is a virtual representation of a real object dependent on the digital thread—the lowest-level design and specification for a digital twin—and the “twin” is dependent on the digital thread to maintain accuracy. Changes to product design are implemented through engineering change orders (ECO) (ECO). An ECO mode to a component item will result in a new version of the item’s digital thread, and similarly to the digital twin.