"Digital Mockups" is a joint UC Riverside/Irvine research project developing real-time observable/controllable executable models of physical systems. Such real-time models can be used during development/test of the cyber device in cyber-physical systems, such as a medical ventilator, as well as for device-user training. As depicted below, a cyber device can be connected to a mathematical model of the physical environment implemented on a computing platform. That model's implementation represents a "digital mockup" of the physical environment. For example, a medical ventilator can connect to a human respiratory system model, a cardiac pacemaker to a model of human heart electrocardiography, or a satellite might think that it is in orbit when really it is being fed sensor data by an environmental model of space. Digital mockups enable easier testing of dangerous or expensive scenarios, more thorough testing of border cases, fully automated testing, faster testing, reproducible testing, and even a view of what's happening inside the physical system. They are useful for test/development of new devices, for training/education (e.g., training of respiratory therapists on ventilator use), and for reproducing field errors.
Digital mockups can be used directly (typically requiring bypassing a device's transducers and instead interfacing directly to internal device processors) or can be incorporated into hybrid physical/digital mockups.
Our project goals include
- Synthesis of the complex models into circuits for real-time implementation on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs)
- Observe/debug the internal behavior of a physical system