Emerging Area: Physical Digital Integration



  • “Organizing the world’s information and creating interfaces with Physical Objects so that Objects can use information with the goal of making life better for humans.”
  • “Make the physical world come alive!”

Academic Disciplines

  • Computer Science 
  • Engineering & Applied Physics 

Driving forces

  • Cheap computing power and storage.
  • Ubiquitous Network.
  • Cheap sensors.
  • Flexible Electronics.
  • Advanced Artificial Intelligence. Machine Learning. Big Data.
  • DIY tools. Open source software. Open hardware platforms.


What is it like

  • All devices would contain microprocessors with network connection. 
  • Adaptable. flexible systems.
  • Putting intelligence into everything.
  • Automation.
  • Objects aware of their Physical World utilizing information from the Digital World.
  • Objects communicating with each other through Network for getting things done. 

Application Areas

  • Manufacturing
  • 3D Printing
    • Tissue Printing
  • Fab Lab
  • Automation
  • Smart Homes (e.g., Nest devices)
  • Smart Cities. Smart efficient infrastructures.
  • Sensor Networks
  • Diagnostic systems


Some other early movers with focus on Physical Digital Integration

  • New Communication Protocols.
  • Knowledge Representations that Objects can process and understand.
  • Security.
  • More intuitive interfaces.

Notable People



At its limit


Research Problems I Want To Work On

  1. How do you create Advanced Artificial Intelligence that is better than human experts and understands and can reason about everything on the Web and in the real world?
  2. How do you Codify Biology (DNA, Proteins, Metabolic and Signalling Pathways, Cells, Tissues, Organs, Body) so that you can predict and control? (Codification of Biology, Engineering Biology, Systems Biology, Computational Biology, Curing Diseases & Disabilities, Increasing Lifespans.) 
  3. How do you invent better tools, technologies (Imaging, Optogenetics) and Models for Understanding and Engineering the BrainHow do you Cure Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders?
  4. How do you Understand Complex Systems consisting of lots of interacting agents? (Application of Big Data; Inventing better Models, Mathematics, Algorithms to understand complex systems better; finding answers to age old questions in Sociology, Behavioral Science, Political Science, Economics & Business)
  5. How do you Design Materials and Nanostructures with required properties using Computers?
  6. How do you make Software Developers say 100 times more productive?
  7. How do you design an Effective Education and Learning and Research Platform?
  8. How do you create Platforms that empower people – so that the enormous potential in each and everyone of us is materialized?
  9. How do you take Human – Computer (networked) collaboration, intelligence to the next level?
  10. How do you integrate the Information World and the Physical World? (A world where the Physical world is completely aware of everything utilizing information from the Information World; the world of information is embedded in the Physical World.)
  11. How do you design Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies? (Fab-lab, 3D Printing, Automation)
  12. Exploration of new computing architectures – continuation of Moore’s law: exponential increase in processing power; computational power for data processing, intelligence; (Parallel computing architectures (e.g., GPUs); Molecular computing; Quantum computing; Cognitive computing / Neuromorphic computing)
  13. How do you solve Local, Social and Global problems (clean water, cheap energy etc.) utilizing massive collaboration and exponential technologies?
  14. How do you predict and prevent Natural Disasters?
  15. Joining the pieces of puzzle together to get a complete picture of the Ultimate Reality