After completing an undergraduate degree in Internet of Things Engineering, Zhen Sun was working with Siemens and looking for an area to give his focus to. He seized the opportunity to upgrade his skillset at Cranfield, choosing to embark on a Master’s course, Cybersecurity in Manufacturing and is now pursuing a PhD, researching resilience with digital twins.
“I especially liked the group project setting, where I could better interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. It was my favourite part of the programme in the first place.”
Zhen discovered the research area of digital twins during discussions with a group project supervisor and chose a related topic for his individual project. His decision to stay at Cranfield to take on a PhD was founded in this moment – finding Cranfield research that fitted his interest, coupled with a multitude of industry links. A typical day involves going into the office and getting up to date on new articles for ideas. Then, lunch and time to collaborate and communicate with colleagues in the lab in the afternoon. The day ends with a quick workout and a game of badminton in the evening.
Zhen especially likes technology, believing that it changes lives. He has an artificial eye, arising from a badminton accident when a shuttlecock hitting his eye caused a traumatic cataract. Zhen still chooses to play badminton and is proud President of the Cranfield Badminton Association which boasts 210 members. Zhen likes the fact that Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university, enjoying interactions with peers.
“They are on the same channel as you and there are no barriers for communication, yet at the same time you’re able to share interesting research with each other.”
What advice would Zhen share with anyone applying to study at Cranfield University?
“Find a direction of interest, read through a lot of literature, identify problems, and solve them. It’s really fun to do experiments like playing games while digitising. Think about the digital twin, although it seems costly now, it can help whole industries and the world become resilient. For example, environment, finance, engineering, and a series of other projects, come and discover what the digital twin can do for your industry.”
What does Zhen hope will come from his research into digital twins?
The biggest difference between digital twins and simulation is the ability to provide feedback. It combines a range of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to provide feedback to the physical world. A digital twin system’s physical and digital ends are not always the same, and it is necessary to keep the system working properly within a safe range. In this regard, guaranteeing the proper functioning of digital twin systems requires further exploration.
It is believed that the resilience of digital twins can benefit different areas. Zhen’s hopes for the future would be to package the resilience of the digital twin into a product that connects to the digital twin as a module using a setup interface protocol, to help digitise the manufacturing industry.
The world of technology is forever changing. Find out more about our updated course: