Toying With Minecraft Inspired Digital Twin

Student Competition: Bentley Education Digital Twin Design Challenge

Student Competition: Bentley Education Digital Twin Design Challenge

There are no rules to the type of structures students can create as part of the Digital Twin Design Challenge. Images courtesy of Jim Romeo.


Bentley Systems hosts the Digital Twin Design Challenge, a student contest that provides an opportunity for participants to reimagine a real-world location with a structure designed with the popular video game Minecraft. Digital twin technology is set to be the next powerful tool for future engineers, and this contest is a unique opportunity for students to explore it in a creative fashion.

We spoke to Vinayak Trivedi, vice president and global head, Bentley Education, at Bentley Systems to learn more about the Digital Twin Design Challenge. Here’s how our conversation went.

Digital Engineering: Can you provide us an overview of the competition, how it came to be and the intent of the program? Who will be participating or who has participated? How many participants have you had or are you expecting? Any demographics of participants?

Vinayak Trivedi: We are providing a unique opportunity for Minecraft gamers or students to build a Minecraft structure for the real world with digital twin technology. As digital twin technology is set to be the next powerful tool for future engineers, this contest is an opportunity to use it in a fun and creative way. 

All students must do is design a structure using Minecraft, export it as a 3D model and then place it within any of the preloaded real-world locations using their imagination in the Bentley iTwin technology. 

We are keeping it open for students—aged 12 to 25 years old—from eligible secondary schools, high schools, community colleges/schools, polytechnics, technical institutes and universities. 

Students design a structure using Minecraft, export it as a 3D model and then place it within any of the preloaded real-world locations using their imagination.

DE: Can you tell us about some of the designs that are part of the event and how they came to be?

Trivedi: Even though it’s a fun challenge, we want students to use their creativity to tackle a challenge facing the world’s infrastructure and show how they would make a real-world location better. They can use their design to address issues like environmental sustainability, architectural aesthetics, population growth or to solve a specific engineering challenge. 

DE: Can you provide some examples of what the event has produced or what you expect it to produce?

Trivedi: We want students to have fun and let their imagination run wild! They can design any superstructure, such as a building, bridge, monument, park, train station or airport. 

For example, how about a giant penguin at Alcatraz Island? Or a giant bridge behind the Sydney Opera House? It’s up to them! There are no rules for the type of structure they create. 

DE: Does Bentley have a particular stance on adopting an innovation that is linked to the program? What drove Bentley to sponsor the event and coordinate it?

Trivedi: The world and its infrastructure are facing many growing challenges, and digital twin technology will help future engineers manage these challenges. Digital twins are virtual representations of the real world and combine and can visualize data in ways that optimize decision-making and enable effective planning and action.

Through the Digital Twin Design Challenge, we want to give students the platform to combine their imagination and creativity by exploring the digital twin technology. 

DE: Anything else you’d like to tell us about the competition?

Trivedi: We have exciting prizes up for grabs! All top 20 finalists will win a badge and $500 (USD) each. The winner chosen by expert judges will receive a prize of $5,000 (USD), whereas the winner with the maximum number of votes will receive a prize of $2,000.

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About the Author

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Jim Romeo

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, VA. Send e-mail about this article to [email protected].

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