Sustainability Forum: How Science & Tech Will Influence Our Health, Our Lives, and Our Work
You may be on your way to digitally transforming your company, looking for help to collaborate, or maybe just dipping your toe in the digital waters. And you may be wondering what the future holds…this report will shed some light on key real-world issues for you to consider in your transformation.
The Sustainability Revolution
This report is a synopsis of a two-day forum in Boston called Science in The Age of Experience, hosted by Dassault Systèmes who is using software to help companies design a more sustainable future. There were over 300 scientists, business executives, engineers, professors, and leaders in various industries using science and technology to imagine a new digital world that directly influences how we live, our health, and how we work.
Bernard Charlès, VP and CEO at Dassault, opened the forum. In a nutshell, the Digital World isn’t just about creating better designs, optimizing manufacturing, and getting to market faster. It gives companies the chance to examine their business models and the impact their products have on society.
Digitalization can help companies transform into a more sustainable organization and develop products that are more beneficial to people and the environment. Charlès advised to “look at the world with fresh eyes”…and use the power of imagination guided by science to innovate and solve the world’s biggest problems together.
More than 15 speakers, from scientists and engineers to industry leaders, took the stage. They discussed how the virtual world is disrupting innovation while developing real-world sustainable solutions that have never been done before.
How Do You Study, Test, and Implement Sustainable Innovation?
There is a “hunger for tools to solve world problems.” Throughout the forum, these leaders discussed three key ways to study, test, and implement sustainable innovation to move ahead.
#1 Simulation-Driven Design
Being able to use a virtual 3D model to explore the behavior, performance, and interactions of a product or a system from the beginning and track it to the end-of-life is powerful.
“Science is at the core of what we do. Simulations give you the visual cues, the feedback you need, to know what to focus on.”- Raja Sengupta, Global Technology Specialist, Aerodynamics at Volvo Trucks
- Simulation-driven design allows you to make mistakes and capture risk early, before products are physically produced.
- It saves resources and materials to eliminate waste.
- Scientists and engineers can virtually investigate the relationships between a concept and its environment to understand how all components work together.
- Virtual models using tools like VR and AR can be used as interactive teaching and learning tools.
- You can explore infinite possibilities virtually at a rate that can drastically speed up solving big challenges.
Dr. Lisa Randall, Physics Professor at Harvard University, explained:
By doing simulations and having data, we can really do things at a level where we can probe the fundamental interactions of things we can’t see, like Dark Matter.
The ability to use data and tools like analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) helps to collect, analyze, and use the insights uncovered for process improvements, new sustainable techniques, and increasing yield and profitability.
Dassault’s Dr. Anne Goupil says, “We need to devise creative ways to sift through mountains of data that is produced during treatment.” She described a case study where researchers used the collaborative and analytics portions of the 3DEXPERIENCE to develop treatments for health issues.
You can’t solve challenges like sustainability, alone. High-end innovation adds another layer of risk.
These leaders talked about putting competition aside and collaborate with the entire ecosystem in your industry and beyond. Companies who have a common goal of safety and sustainability can combine experiences and resources. Proven technologies and transformations in one industry can be applied to another.
The Living Heart Project, originated by Dassault on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, was live at the forum. This project has brought together over 125 organizations since 2014, from leading cardiovascular researchers, medical device developers, regulatory agencies, educators, practicing clinicians, to the FDA.
They are on a shared mission to create virtual designs and testing of devices, digital therapies, and drug treatments for heart disease, pacemaker leads, stents, valves, and more. This will enable patients to access safe, effective, and new treatments much faster.
How is Science Driving Sustainability?
The forum was focused on sustainability using science to reinvent three major areas that affect our lives: better living, a sustainable planet, and product innovation. These are a few of the takeaways from the forum.
#1: Science in Life for Better Living
Health was a key topic. Peter Bergethon, VP of Digital and Quantitative Medicine at Biogen, shared, “People like the idea of living longer and so personalization matters.”
Better Drug Treatments
Dr. Ameet Nathwani, CDO & CMO of Sanofi, explains, “Drugs for many diseases are only part of the solution. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a 50-70% response. But we do know that technologies can amplify the value of drugs and the outcome.”
Using Dassault technology, especially simulation, they can determine when to expose the drug at the right time, in the right place, for that particular patient.
New Digital Services Speed Up the Process
Services like smart remote diagnostics and Telehealth can assist healthcare professionals & patients with better solutions.
Pierre-Yves Frouin, CEO Bioserenity, explains, “We focus on electro-physiology, and we see that it speeds up processes significantly. We can help the right patient, receive the right treatment, much faster.”
Glen de Vries, President and Co-founder of Medidata Solutions and a leader in digital transformation for clinical development, commercial, and real-world data, talked about advancements in clinical trials. Clinical trials not only take years, but also cost billions of dollars. Simulations can assist in finding the right treatment protocol for the outcome and a patient can receive the treatments in weeks instead of years.
In the end, he explained, “We are taking diseases that were chronic and curing them, and we’re taking life-threatening diseases and rendering them chronic.”
A New Era of Bionics
Dr. Hugh Herr, Professor at MIT and head of the Biomechatronics research group, Co-director of the MIT Center for Extreme Bionics, and known as the leader of the bionic age, gave an amazing talk.
Dr. Herr shared, “My legs were amputated in 1992 and my doctor told me I couldn’t climb or bicycle ever again. He was dead wrong… each of my legs has three computers the size of your thumbnail.”
He explained that the common goal is to eradicate disabilities and drastically reduce human pain and suffering.
At MIT, they are developing bionic prosthetics to help amputees and other patients run, walk, and hop; procedures where nerves activated by light could potentially restore mobility in paralysis patients; exoskeletons to improve the ability of people to walk, run, and lift; and in the future, extreme athletics where they develop bionic shoes to jump higher and run faster.
As Dr. Herr explains, “Tech is no longer lifeless tools but actually becomes part of the person”.
#2 Science in Nature for a Sustainable Planet
Climate change is causing widespread destruction around the world. How can we make changes?
Move to Sustainable Manufacturing
Marcel Wubbolts, Chief Technology Officer at Corbion says, “We are really heating up the planet in ways that are no longer sustainable. We have to move towards sustainable manufacturing.”
Excess carbon is a big contributor.
Jennifer Wilcox, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, explains, “We can’t just decrease CO2 from the air. We need to remove it.” Wilcox says that carbon dioxide removal technology is available using a chemically manufactured approach and compares it to a synthetic forest. But more investments in R&D are needed.
She continues, “It’s not just about removing the carbon dioxide… It’s about certain sectors, such as transportation and cement making, that chemically produce carbon dioxide, and that’s a very difficult thing to avoid.”
Reduce Food Waste & Plastic Consumption
Marcel Wubbolts, CTO, at Corbion discussed providing safe and healthy food for a growing population, preventing food waste, safe solutions on renewable materials, efficient resource processes, and new biotech business platforms.
He talked about 10 breakthrough technologies to help feed the world, such as plant-based meat, compounds for keeping nitrogen in the soil, and algae-based fish feeds.
#3 Science in Engineering for Product Innovation
Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist, Professor, and Author of Physics of The Future, The Future of the Mind, and The Future of Humanity discussed that data powers the Information Age.
He predicts, “Every industry will be digitalized, analyzed and visualized….”
He says that human and machine intelligence, AI and analytics, will need to make sense of this vast ocean of data via simulations.
Future of Simulation
Moving forward, all challenges that we are undergoing, like predicting hurricanes, developing a super battery, and even our memories will be simulated to identify risk, glean insights, and make better life decisions.
Can We Simulate Life?
Dr. Kaku describes, “We will have virtual reality in every aspect of life to visualize complex phenomenon.”
He goes on to say, “Today, the Da Vinci robot allows us to do surgery via robots. In the future, perhaps even the human surgeon will be replaced, performing surgery first on virtual bodies, then on real bodies.”
However, he explains that even though machines, via AI and pattern recognition, can spot cancer in X-rays and MRI scans faster than doctors, they will not replace them. They will be an aid to them.
Dr. Kaku predicts that business meetings, conferences, tours, education, training, etc. will be done using virtual reality in all sectors.
Dr. Geneviève Berger, Chief Research Officer at Firmenich and recognized as one of the most powerful women in business by Fortune Magazine, examined consumer products says, “All consumer products, one way or the other, if they want to be successful, need to have a positive impact on the quality of life.”
She discusses the overwhelming appetite for “natural” products. This leads to science and biotech innovations for products that are safe and even create habits and memories.
If we want to drive sustainability, we must change the way we build. What happens with the materials we choose to implement? Is there a negative effect on the environment and on society?
Dr. Michael Doyle, Sr. Director Corporate Development for BIOVIA at Dassault Systèmes, discussed hybrid energy storage (batteries + hydrogen) and their challenges with things like state of charge, safety, aging, storage, sustainability, and recycling.
He states that we need to create materials for purpose, intentionally manufactured, and virtually optimized.
Neil Gershenfield, Director of Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT exclaims, “Evolution isn’t random. The heart of evolution is that it works over a carefully curated space. And that is the very insight of deep learning.”
Digital Transformation is a state of business.
Dr. Kaku predicts that, “Every industry will be digitalized, analyzed and visualized…and without exception, we will be generating enormous amounts of data… Data will pretty soon replace crude oil and become more precious – just like crude oil, data will have to be filtered & refined.”
On your road to digitally transforming your company, remember to work on sustainability from product innovation, to the environment, to health and better living.
To help you move forward in your product development and manufacturing efforts, be sure to incorporate the big three tools: Simulation-driven Design and tools like AR and VR; Data using analytics, ML, and AI; and Collaboration.
You can view replays of some of the sessions here.
If you have questions or want to learn how the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can help your organization embrace simulation and other digitalization tools in your organization, please contact Adaptive Corporation.