The emergence of phygital systems and human digital twins promises to usher in a new era of deeply integrated human-technology experiences spanning the physical and digital realms. Though still in early phases, research and innovation at the intersection of these two trends point to rich possibilities.
In sectors like retail and fashion, we already see early blending through augmented reality mirrors, virtual try-ons and digital garment twins. As digital human modeling and computer vision advance, the virtual replication of human appearance, movement and interactions is likely to become increasingly photorealistic. Connecting such vivid human digital twins with smart garments via IoT and blockchain introduces potential for securely porting identity across worlds. A shopper could seamlessly browse physical stores, getting personalized outfit recommendations from their high-fidelity digital twin based on preference data. They could visualize the latest seasonal designs on their lifelike avatar before making purchases with crypto wallets.
In healthcare, patients are beginning to use wearable devices and smartphone apps to continuously gather biodata for issues like chronic conditions or fitness improvement. Research indicates high interest in creating integrated human digital twins using this information. Beyond just disease management, healthcare providers could then tap detailed physiological and lifestyle simulations to provide personalized treatment plans. Patients may also opt to share select health twin data with insurers for customized policy pricing. As human digital twins gain decision-making capabilities through AI, they might act as lifelong health concierges, guiding us through prevention in early years and precision care in later decades.
The world of entertainment offers intriguing case studies on symbiotic avatar relationships, from pop concerts in metaverses with virtual singers to actors seemingly reprising roles decades later via human digital twins. As immersive technologies advance, productions could move fluidly across real and simulated stages and sets, anchored by actors’ smart digital doubles. This nexus may realize the aspirations of transmedia – creative storyscapes that transcend any single medium.
While risks around data privacy, misinformation and system resilience exist, the tempered and ethical buildout of integrated human digital and phygital frameworks can usher in this next phase of our sociotechnical evolution. The possibilities stretch far, freeing human imagination and industry to focus on care, creativity and positive progress serving people and planet.