Prototyping a Digital Twin for Real Time Remote Control Over Mobile Networks : Application of Remote Surgery

Heikki Laaki*, Yoan Miche, Kari Tammi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
615 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of digital twin (DT) has emerged to enable the benefits of future paradigms such as the industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. The idea is to bring every data source and control interface description related to a product or process available through a single interface, for auto-discovery and automated communication establishment. However, designing the architecture of a DT to serve every future application is an ambitious task. Therefore, the prototyping systems for specific applications are required to design the DT incrementally. We developed a novel DT prototype to analyze the requirements of communication in a mission-critical application such as mobile networks supported remote surgery. Such operations require low latency and high levels of security and reliability and therefore are a perfect subject for analyzing DT communication and cybersecurity. The system comprised of a robotic arm and HTC vive virtual reality (VR) system connected over a 4G mobile network. More than 70 test users were employed to assess the system. To address the cybersecurity of the system, we incorporated a network manipulation module to test the effect of network outages and attacks; we studied state of the art practices and their utilization within DTs. The capability of the system for actual remote surgery is limited by capabilities of the VR system and insufficient feedback from the robot. However, simulations and research of remote surgeries could be conducted with the system. As a result, we propose ideas for communication establishment and necessary cybersecurity technologies that will help in developing the DT architecture. Furthermore, we concluded that developing the DT requires cross-disciplinary development in several different engineering fields. Each field makes use of its own tools and methods, which do not always fit together perfectly. This is a potentially major obstacle in the realization of Industry 4.0 and similar concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8632888
Pages (from-to)20325-20336
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Digital twin
  • virtual reality
  • robot control
  • mobile networks
  • network security

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