Special Issue "Virtual Reality, Digital Twins and Metaverse"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Computing and Artificial Intelligence".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2023 | Viewed by 6386

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Zhigeng Pan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Digital Media & Interaction Research Center, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 310012, China
Interests: learning (artificial intelligence); albedo; computer vision; convolutional neural nets; expectation-maximisation algorithm; feature extraction; haptic interfaces; human computer interaction; image classification; image colour analysis; image matching; image reconstruction; image sequences; image watermarking; lighting; motion estimation; multi-agent systems; object detection; object tracking; pattern classification; rendering (computer graphics); sensor fusion; stereo image processing; ubiquitous computing; video signal processing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Zhihan Lv
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Game Design, Uppsala University, SE-751 05 Uppsala, Sweden
Interests: virtual / augmented reality; multimedia; human-computer interaction; networks; geographic information; digital twins; Internet of things; blockchain
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Kai Xu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Computer Science Cellphone, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410128, China
Interests: computer graphics; 3D vision; data-driven geometry modeling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the rapid development of modern society, the demand for practicability and intelligence increases daily, and more application technologies are focusing on the development of digital intelligence. The development of smart manufacturing, smart industry, smart medical, and other fields is the only way to build a smart city in the future. Eventually, it will expand beyond the level of cities and countries to realize intelligent research on the entire universe, exploring its origin and development from a more intelligent perspective.

Virtual reality (VR) contains a variety of information technologies, among which simulation technology has developed in a more extensive direction in recent years. The demand for virtual reality technology in various industries and fields is increasing, and pursuit of a more extreme sense of immersion and interactivity is the mainstream of current research.

Digital twin (DT) provides a broader application space for virtual reality whilst simultaneously providing higher requirements for technological progression. In the future, various objects in the virtual world will have more abundant intelligence, allowing them to evolve independently and to map each other with objects in the real world. For existing applications and their future developments, the integration of real-world data into the virtual world is critical to the evolution of digital twin technology.

The exhibition of a variety of virtual achievements indicates that the development of the metaverse is no longer limited to the conceptual level, and digital twin provides a fundamentally effective method of improvement. The expansion of VR, DT, and the Metaverse promote each other, forming a closed-loop mutual push development method.

This Special Issue involves a wide range of multidisciplinary themes and realizes more systematic intelligent and digital development in multiple fields, such as industry, manufacturing, education, aerospace, medical and health, and urban development.

Prof. Dr. Zhigeng Pan
Dr. Zhihan Lv
Prof. Dr. Kai Xu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • virtual reality
  • augmented reality
  • digital twins
  • Metaverse
  • dynamic modeling
  • 3D technology
  • system integration technology
  • geographic information system
  • medical healthcare
  • Industry 4.0
  • industrial manufacturing
  • intelligent manufacturing
  • smart manufacturing
  • BIM
  • building information modeling

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Adaptive Feature Fusion for Small Object Detection
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(22), 11854; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122211854 - 21 Nov 2022
Viewed by 437
Abstract
In order to alleviate the situation that small objects are prone to missed detection and false detection in natural scenes, this paper proposed a small object detection algorithm for adaptive feature fusion, referred to as MMF-YOLO. First, aiming at the problem that small [...] Read more.
In order to alleviate the situation that small objects are prone to missed detection and false detection in natural scenes, this paper proposed a small object detection algorithm for adaptive feature fusion, referred to as MMF-YOLO. First, aiming at the problem that small object pixels are easy to lose, a multi-branch cross-scale feature fusion module with fusion factor was proposed, where each fusion path has an adaptive fusion factor, which can allow the network to independently adjust the importance of features according to the learned weights. Then, aiming at the problem that small objects are similar to background information and small objects overlap in complex scenes, the M-CBAM attention mechanism was proposed, which was added to the feature reinforcement extraction module to reduce feature redundancy. Finally, in light of the problem of small object size and large size span, the size of the object detection head was modified to adapt to the small object size. Experiments on the VisDrone2019 dataset showed that the mAP of the proposed algorithm could reach 42.23%, and the parameter quantity was only 29.33 MB, which is 9.13% ± 0.07% higher than the benchmark network mAP, and the network model was reduced by 5.22 MB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Reality, Digital Twins and Metaverse)
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Article
Protocols for the Graphic and Constructive Diffusion of Digital Twins of the Architectural Heritage That Guarantee Universal Accessibility through AR and VR
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(17), 8785; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12178785 - 31 Aug 2022
Viewed by 951
Abstract
The objective of this article is to generate and validate a workflow that allows us to use virtual twins obtained from unique buildings of our architectural heritage. These twins will guarantee the preservation and dissemination of cultural assets and will promote universal accessibility [...] Read more.
The objective of this article is to generate and validate a workflow that allows us to use virtual twins obtained from unique buildings of our architectural heritage. These twins will guarantee the preservation and dissemination of cultural assets and will promote universal accessibility through new technologies, such as databases, metaverses, virtual reality, augmented reality or gamification. This universal accessibility is based on new metaverses to offer experiences that allow us to overcome physical barriers and reach any user regardless of their economic or physical condition or their location. To obtain this workflow, we worked with digital twins obtained by photogrammetry. Different databases and metaverses were studied, understanding them as new systems for the representation and dissemination of architecture. These metaverses were critically assessed and screened, looking for the most suitable one to be integrated into an effective workflow that satisfies a series of imposed premises, such as being suitable for use in virtual reality and augmented reality environments. The ultimate goal is the aforementioned universal accessibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Reality, Digital Twins and Metaverse)
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Article
Building Better Digital Twins for Production Systems by Incorporating Environmental Related Functions—Literature Analysis and Determining Alternatives
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(17), 8657; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12178657 - 29 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 562
Abstract
The digital twin solution is an industry 4.0 specific tool that has grown in the past decade, stemming from the modelling and simulation approaches that existed before, complemented by new sensor capabilities, cloud processing, big data analytics, and implementation mechanisms. As it is [...] Read more.
The digital twin solution is an industry 4.0 specific tool that has grown in the past decade, stemming from the modelling and simulation approaches that existed before, complemented by new sensor capabilities, cloud processing, big data analytics, and implementation mechanisms. As it is being used mostly in the present by manufacturing companies, the primary focus of the solution is to enhance productivity and reduce costs by optimizing processes and enabling real-time problem-solving, sometimes based on decision-making systems and artificial intelligence. However, as companies are being faced with an increasingly steep list of environmental requirements and regulations, ranging from the classical pollution control and waste recycling to full-scale economic models based on circular economy and transformative carbon dioxide elimination programs, the features of the manufacturing digital twins must also evolve to provide an appropriate answer to these challenges. In this paper, the authors propose a framework for building better digital twins for production systems by incorporating environmental-related functions. The demarches start from analysing existing solutions presented in literature from the point of view of environmental suitability, based on the use of the MoSCoW method for differentiating attributes (into Must have, Should have, Could have, Will not have elements) and determining development alternatives based on the employment of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) for feature selection, and the TRIZ method (Theory of Inventive Problem-Solving) for application guidelines. The MCDA was performed within a focus group of nine production specialists from regionally successful sectors. We arrive at the conclusion that environmental-related functions are poorly implemented in the digital twins of the present (although more so in integrated solutions and custom-built applications) and that the development of the proper tools, databases, and interpretation keys should proceed immediately in the fields of production engineering, industrial ecology, and software development to support them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Reality, Digital Twins and Metaverse)
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Article
Options for and Challenges of Employing Digital Twins in Construction Management
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(6), 2928; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12062928 - 13 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2483
Abstract
The notions of smart construction and smart or digital cities include many modern concepts that are advocated today, especially in countries with advanced economies, and depend on using information technology and the Internet of Things as a basis to automate processes and activate [...] Read more.
The notions of smart construction and smart or digital cities include many modern concepts that are advocated today, especially in countries with advanced economies, and depend on using information technology and the Internet of Things as a basis to automate processes and activate digital systems to manage activities and services related to the operation of buildings and urban structures. In light of the spread of digital technology and modern managerial approaches, the concept of a digital twin is being used on a large scale with the current trend and direction to digitalize activities providing many economic, social and technical advantages. A digital twin is a system in which a virtual representation of a real entity or physical system is used continuously by being fed with data and deriving outputs in the form of decisions and actions that are generated through the processes of machine learning, simulation, development and lifecycle management. This study aims to review the literature on construction project management through the lens of digital twins and ways to use them in the field to improve operational results. The authors propose a framework for analyzing and supervising the development of digital twins that uses three main stages: the commonly encountered Building Information Modeling (BIM); the existing monitoring and actuation digital twins; and an envisioned third stage that makes use of artificial intelligence, complex visualization instruments and advanced controls with the capability to exact change within a construction project on the building site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Reality, Digital Twins and Metaverse)
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Review

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Review
Deep Learning for Intelligent Human–Computer Interaction
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(22), 11457; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122211457 - 11 Nov 2022
Viewed by 791
Abstract
In recent years, gesture recognition and speech recognition, as important input methods in Human–Computer Interaction (HCI), have been widely used in the field of virtual reality. In particular, with the rapid development of deep learning, artificial intelligence, and other computer technologies, gesture recognition [...] Read more.
In recent years, gesture recognition and speech recognition, as important input methods in Human–Computer Interaction (HCI), have been widely used in the field of virtual reality. In particular, with the rapid development of deep learning, artificial intelligence, and other computer technologies, gesture recognition and speech recognition have achieved breakthrough research progress. The search platform used in this work is mainly the Google Academic and literature database Web of Science. According to the keywords related to HCI and deep learning, such as “intelligent HCI”, “speech recognition”, “gesture recognition”, and “natural language processing”, nearly 1000 studies were selected. Then, nearly 500 studies of research methods were selected and 100 studies were finally selected as the research content of this work after five years (2019–2022) of year screening. First, the current situation of the HCI intelligent system is analyzed, the realization of gesture interaction and voice interaction in HCI is summarized, and the advantages brought by deep learning are selected for research. Then, the core concepts of gesture interaction are introduced and the progress of gesture recognition and speech recognition interaction is analyzed. Furthermore, the representative applications of gesture recognition and speech recognition interaction are described. Finally, the current HCI in the direction of natural language processing is investigated. The results show that the combination of intelligent HCI and deep learning is deeply applied in gesture recognition, speech recognition, emotion recognition, and intelligent robot direction. A wide variety of recognition methods were proposed in related research fields and verified by experiments. Compared with interactive methods without deep learning, high recognition accuracy was achieved. In Human–Machine Interfaces (HMIs) with voice support, context plays an important role in improving user interfaces. Whether it is voice search, mobile communication, or children’s speech recognition, HCI combined with deep learning can maintain better robustness. The combination of convolutional neural networks and long short-term memory networks can greatly improve the accuracy and precision of action recognition. Therefore, in the future, the application field of HCI will involve more industries and greater prospects are expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virtual Reality, Digital Twins and Metaverse)
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