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IEEE White Papers

Digital Transformation WP CoverDigital Transformation
IEEE Digital Reality - November 2020

By IEEE Digital Reality Initiative Working Group

The FDC Initiative on Digital Reality felt there is a need to look at the Digital Transformation from the point of view of a profound change that is pervading the entire society—a change made possible by technology and that keeps changing due to technology evolution opening new possibilities but is also a change happening because it has strong economic reasons. The direction of this change is not easy to predict because it is steered by a cultural evolution of society, an evolution that is happening in niches and that may expand rapidly to larger constituencies and as rapidly may fade away. This creation, selection by experimentation, adoption, and sudden disappearance, is what makes the whole scenario so unpredictable and continuously changing.

IEEE has made the progress of “technology to benefit humanity” its banner. It is just appropriate to use the tremendous capital of knowledge and skills of its volunteers to look at Digital Transformation from this point of view.

Access the white paper (PDF, 8.79 MB)


evolution interface social mediaThe Evolution of Human to Whatever Interface
IEEE Digital Reality - May 2020

By Roberto Saracco, Co-chair, IEEE Digital Reality Initiative

A journalist working on a piece on the future of human-computer interfaces (HCI) recently posed the following four questions:

  • What HCI technology is being developed and by what companies?
  • What form will it take and will the future of the human-computer interface be intrusive or subtle?
  • How will the interface between human and computer be protected, and how will privacy be assured?

Human machine interfaces originated to direct a machine to perform a given task, like using a key to operate an engine or flip a switch to start the air conditioning. As machines became more complex they required more variety of commands but at the same time they could also accept more powerful commands, mostly in textual form. The point is that human machine interaction was designed, out of necessity, with the machine in mind. It did not mirror the way humans interact with one another. This situation has not really changed in the last fifty years, but it is starting to change now thanks to software and artificial intelligence.

Access the white paper (PDF, 0.14 MB)


digital handshakeWhat If Reality + Digital Reality Becomes Reality

IEEE Digital Reality - May 2020

By Roberto Saracco, Co-chair, IEEE Digital Reality Initiative

The area of “Digital Reality” is a mélange of technology that is influenced by psychology, economics, society and even a bit of philosophy. It is an interesting field due to its broad-reaching nature, and the IEEE Digital Reality Initiative solicits involvement of people of varied backgrounds.

The evolution of modern computers allowed for a progressive capability to process numbers on the one hand and to convert a growing variety of manifestation of the physical world in numbers. As an example sounds, music, voice can be converted into digits, transported via telecommunications networks, and then translated back into sounds, music, voice. As technology improved the fidelity of the transformation, that is, the conversion from the physical reality to the digital one and back to the physical one, has become so good that we no longer appreciate the conversion going on.

Access the white paper (PDF, 1.6 MB)


Coronavirus ImagePersonal Digital Twins and their Role in Epidemics Control
IEEE Digital Reality - April 2020

By Roberto Saracco with Juuso Autiosalo, Derrick de Kerckhove, Francesco Flammini, and Louis Nisiotis

Since the shift from nomadic life, to aggregation in clusters or cities, humanity has faced epidemics. It is the cluster of people that provides the fertile environment for viruses to jump from one host to the next, generating an epidemic. The geographical distance among clusters is a barrier to the spread of the epidemics; traveling from one locale to another was the only way to continue the spread. In the past, the epidemics spread along the commerce, maritime, and land pathways. Travel was slow and sporadic so an epidemic took years to become a pandemic.

Today we have both bigger clusters (megacities and cities that on average are much bigger than the ones of the past) and much faster and denser traffic among clusters. This fuels both epidemics and pandemics.

Access the white paper (PDF, 2.7 MB)


Digital Transformation in HealthcareDigital Transformation in Healthcare
IEEE Digital Reality - February 2020

By Roberto Saracco, Co-chair, IEEE Digital Reality Initiative

Healthcare costs are on the rise, and this is causing an increased interest in automation. However, it should be noted that in a few health care areas automation is sought to deliver better quality, like in pharmaceuticals or assistive automation in surgery which enables procedures that go beyond human abilities (micro surgeries among others). In surgery, there is a growing digital transformation, with diagnostic procedures generating data that are analyzed automatically, creating a model that is used for simulating procedures and eventually used by autonomous or semi-autonomous systems in surgery.

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Infrastructures for a new ecomomyPlatforms: Infrastructures for a New Economy
IEEE Digital Reality - January 2020

By Roberto Saracco, Co-chair, IEEE Digital Reality Initiative

The Digital Transformation is made possible by technology advances and is steered by economic and societal factors. It is a whole system transformation that requires the availability of a tremendously complex infrastructure, similar to how the atoms economy has evolved over centuries by creating in parallel tremendously complex and intertwined infrastructures. Logistics value chains have become extremely effective and extremely complex. Computers have boosted their efficiencies and made possible the creation and management of even more complex infrastructures. These computers supporting infrastructures are slowly morphing into infrastructures of their own. The large data centers that are supporting shipping of parcels and containers are now managing the shipping of bits in a structured way (e.g. by adopting blockchain).

These infrastructures, or platforms, have been around for quite some time and exist independently of the Digital Transformation. However, this latter has created an economic environment where platforms become a fundamental component. This whitepaper presents a synthesis of discussions with key industry players regarding platforms in this age of Digital Transformation.

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SAS White Paper PromotionIEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems White Paper III
IEEE Digital Reality - November 2019

By Stefan Boschert, Tom Coughlin, Maurizio Ferraris, Francesco Flammini, Jose Gonzalez Florido, Alejandro Cadenas Gonzalez, Patrick Henz, Derrick de Kerckhove, Roland Rosen, Roberto Saracco, Aman Singh, Antony Vitillo, Mazin Yousif
Edited by Theresa Cavrak

This document represents the third white paper produced by the IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems (SAS) Initiative that in 2019 merged with the IEEE Digital Reality Initiative to further foster the Digital Transformation and continue the work of the first two years of the SAS Initiative. This third white paper focuses on today’s application of (Symbiotic) Autonomous Systems, the industrial application research, and the feedback coming from leading edge products, since these are the stepping stones to foster the evolution. Notice that at this time, and considering the observation time frame of this white paper, the focus is on Autonomous Systems. Symbioses will not materialize in the coming two years, at least in a significant way from the point of view of implants and more generally of symbiotic technologies. However, symbioses at a societal level is already here (for example, we are in a symbiotic relation with our smartphones) and is addressed. The target audience of this third White Paper includes professionals, industry leaders, public institutions, and government decision makers on whom lies the responsibility of investing resources and delivering to the market, affecting the society and wellbeing of citizens as well as creating business wealth.

Access the white paper (PDF, 7 MB)

Applying Cognitive Digital Twins to Professional EducationApplying Cognitive Digital Twins to Professional Education
IEEE Digital Reality - September 2019

By Roberto Saracco, Co-chair, IEEE Digital Reality Initiative

It is clearly impossible to keep up with the advance of knowledge. A novel Leonardo da Vinci is no longer possible given the breadth and depth of knowledge built in these last centuries and particularly in these last decades. Connectivity and digital processing (that used to comprise storage and access but now is evolving into analysis, correlation, and creation) have created, paradoxically, a sort of black hole of knowledge. We know that there is a huge wealth of knowledge potentially available, but in practice it remains beyond reach to the single person and more to the individual company.

And it is getting worse. In several (technical and scientific) areas, the knowledge gap is widening, and in spite of the abundance of good and accessible courses, staying up to date has become impossible. Even obtaining a general awareness of what knowledge is available is challenging.

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Augmented Machines and Augmented Humans Converging on TranshumanismAugmented Machines and Augmented Humans Converging on Transhumanism
IEEE Digital Reality - June 2019

By Roberto Saracco, Co-chair, IEEE Digital Reality Initiative

We have experienced a significant evolution in the capabilities of machines over the last 250 years with an incredible acceleration in the last 50 years, thanks to electronics and software. This evolution is going to continue and accelerate in the coming two decades leading to machines as "smart" as humans.

At the same time the human species has augmented its capability in various areas more than doubling life expectation over the last 100 years, and individuals have learned to leverage machines as never before to improve their life, their performances and extend their knowledge. This is also expected to progress in the coming two decades to the point that the boundary between humans and machines will become, in many instances, fuzzier and fuzzier, partly due to the growing use of digital twins. The progress seen in the last decades and the one expected is reshaping the idea of transhumanism, making it much more concrete.

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Digital TransformationDigital Transformation
IEEE Digital Reality - March 2019

By Roberto Saracco, Co-chair, IEEE Digital Reality Initiative

The Digital Transformation everyone is talking about today is fueled by advances in technology, mostly transducers, i.e., sensors and actuators, and semantics extraction tools, i.e., artificial intelligence supporting data analytics. The reason why industries and institutions alike are interested in the Digital Transformation, however, is based on economics. The Digital Transformation is shifting the economy of atoms to the economy of bits. The economy of atoms is an economy of scarcity: atoms are limited; if you give an atom away you no longer have it. On the contrary, the economy of bits is an economy of abundance; if you give bits away you still have them (a copy actually, but in the world of bits copies are indistinguishable from the original). This whitepaper addresses the changes expected due to the Digital Transformation on society, technology, and the economy, and studies its impact on multiple verticals, including Smart Cities, car sharing, and the camera/photography industry.

Access the white paper (PDF, 2 MB)


IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems White Paper IIIEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems White Paper II
IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems - October 2018

By S. Mason Dambrot, Derrick de Kerchove, Francesco Flammini, Witold Kinsner, Linda MacDonald Glenn, Roberto Saracco
Edited by Theresa Cavrak

This White Paper follows the first one produced in 2017 by the IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems Initiative (SAS), extending it to address updated technologies and cover additional topics due to the evolution of science and technology. Additional white papers will follow because this is an area in continuous development.

The first examples of symbioses are already available in a number of areas and even now, these are impacting our economic system and way of life. The IEEE SAS Initiative takes a 360° view based on technology and standardization—the foundation of IEEE—and invites all interested constituencies to contribute complementary points of view, including economic, regulatory, and sociocultural perspectives. The transformation fostered by technology evolution in all paths of life requires planning and education by current and future players. Another goal of the initiative is to consider the future of education, given that these symbioses transform its meaning, making it both shared and distributed.

In this respect, the aims of this White Paper are to further develop the ideas presented in the first white paper: (1) to highlight impacts that are clearly identifiable today, and (2) to indicate emerging issues, thus providing a starting point to those involved in making public policy to understand the technical fundamentals, their evolution and their potential implications.

Note that this White Paper is intended to be self-contained, without requiring the reader to read the previous white paper.

Access the white paper (PDF, 6 MB)


Symbiotic Autonomous Systems White Paper I
IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems - November 2017

By Roberto Saracco, Raj Madhavan, S. Mason Dambrot, Derrick de Kerchove, and Tom Coughlin

This White Paper is the result of a joint effort by several people and represents a consensus reached among the members of the IEEE Symbiotic Autonomous Systems (SAS) Initiative at the end of October 2017. Since the SAS field is in continuous evolution, this White Paper should be considered a “work in progress.”

SAS leverages many technologies and has applications in many vertical markets. The field will therefore have an increasing impact on our society—and on the way, each one of us perceives and relates to his or her environment. Hence, the issues related to Symbiotic Autonomous Systems go far beyond just technology evolution and utilization.

In this respect, the aims of this White Paper are to (1) highlight those issues that are clearly identifiable today, and (2) to indicate emerging issues, thus providing a starting point to those involved in making public policy to understand the technical fundamentals, their evolution and their potential implications.

Access the white paper (PDF, 3 MB)

IEEE Talks Digital Reality

IEEE Talks Digital RealityIEEE Talks Digital Reality: Q&A with Raj Tiwari

In our first IEEE Talks Digital Reality Q&A session, we spoke with Raj Tiwari, lead co-chair of the IEEE Digital Reality Initiative. Raj provided his insights on Extended Reality (XR) and its potential for changing how we live, work, learn and share, providing information on use cases for the technology and highlighting its importance for both enterprises and individuals as we move into a new transformational era.

Read more




IEEE Publications on Digital Reality

IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, March/April 2018 - Virtual and Augmented Reality
IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, March/April 2018, Virtual and Augmented Reality
Proceedings of the IEEE, May 2017 - Emerging 3-D Imaging and Display Technologies
Proceedings of the IEEE, May 2017, Emerging 3-D Imaging
and Display Technologies
The Institute, December 2016 - Diving Into Digital Senses
The Institute, December 2016,
Diving Into Digital Senses
(PDF, 4 MB)
Proceedings of the IEEE, February 2014 - Applications of Augmented Reality
Proceedings of the IEEE, February 2014, Applications
of Augmented Reality
Computer, July 2012 - What's Real About Augmented Reality?
Computer, July 2012,
What's Real About
Augmented Reality?

CES 2019

IEEE Live from CES 2019

IEEE: Live from CES 2019

What's new at CES this year? Check out IEEE's exclusive coverage of the event in our live blog, featuring the latest innovations being showcased on the trade show floor. This year, a special track on Immersive Entertainment includes exciting new developments in augmented and virtual reality.

Read more at IEEE Transmitter



2020AI 5Gvid 5GWFAI in 5G Networks: Why, When, and How?

In a keynote address presented to the 2020 IEEE 5G World Forum plenary session, Thyaga Nandagopal from the National Science Foundation discusses why artificial intelligence is important for 5G, the challenges of implementing AI for 5G, and the strategies for implementation.

For more information on the conference, visit the 5G World Forum website or the IEEE Future Networks Initiative website.

Watch the video


water electricityThe IEEE and Digital Transformation: A Presentation to DEWA

On 7 October 2020 the IEEE Digital Reality initiative co-chair, Dr. Roberto Saracco, served as a panelist on a virtual event, pertaining to the Digital Transformation, presented to DEWA (Dubai Electricity & Water Authority) staff members and subject-matter experts.

During the event, Dr. Saracco presented on Digital Transformation and explained how the IEEE Future Directions Committee is fusing a variety of technological areas across various societies. In addition, Dr. Saracco provided a preview of a course that will be released soon. This course focuses on Digital Transformation and is being developed in collaboration with IEEE Digital Reality, the EIT Digital Professional School, and the IEEE Educational Activities committee.

View the recording.  


digital twins
Pt. 1: Digital Reality - Roberto Saracco - Industry Panel 2, IEEE Globecom, 2019

Roberto Saracco, IEEE Future Directions, considers the ability to create a digital version of yourself in cyberspace and what the technological evolution will bring within the next ten years. Saracco envisions a unified and singular reality composed of both our cyber and physical realities. 

Watch the video at


touchIROS TV 2019- Pohang University of Science and Technology- Haptics and Virtual Reality Laboratory

Haptics and Virtual Reality Laboratory at POSTECH in Korea, directed by Prof. Seungmoon Choi, researchers study fundamental science, technologies, and applications related to haptics. Today, the group is focusing on developing good technologies that help people make haptic content more easily and quickly.

Watch the video at


mixed reality videoMixed Reality - The Future of Our World

IEEE Future Directions

Haptics and Virtual Reality Laboratory at POSTECH in Korea, directed by Prof. Seungmoon Choi, researchers study fundamental science, technologies, and applications related to haptics. Today, the group is focusing on developing good technologies that help people make haptic content more easily and quickly.

Watch the video at   


IEEE TTM 2018: Mixed Reality Panel - Part 1IEEE TTM 2018: Mixed Reality Panel

IEEE Technology Time Machine (TTM) 2018 hosted a special panel on Mixed Reality, featuring top thought leaders and specialists in the fields of MR/AR/VR and related technologies. Access videos of the panel below:


Virtual and Mixed Reality at the Nexus of SciFi, Engineering, and TrainingVirtual and Mixed Reality at the Nexus of SciFi, Engineering, and Training
IEEE Transmitter

Video interview with the leaders of the MxR lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and the Tech and Narrative lab at Pardee RAND Graduate School

Watch the video at IEEE Transmitter


IEEE Future RealmsIEEE Future Realms - VR Historical Archiving
IEEE Transmitter

Several technologies are emerging that can help capture and map details of important historical sites and monuments. The 3D archival data can then be used in VR renderings to study these sites as they were in the years before their destruction, allowing learning and research to continue long after the structures are gone.

Watch the video at IEEE Transmitter


Preparing Surgeons with Virtual RealityPreparing Surgeons with Virtual Reality
IEEE Transmitter

IEEE member Anderson Maciel at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) is working on computer-simulated surgery in virtual reality.

Watch the video at IEEE Transmitter


Advanced Broadcast Technology - Augmented World Expo (AWE 2018)Advanced Broadcast Technology: AR, VR, & XR Technologies and Development
Advanced Broadcast Technology

Advanced Broadcast Technology shows highlights of new technology in AR, VR, and MR at the 2018 Augmented World Expo. The episode features a short overview of the IEEE Digital Reality Initiative. The show also includes technology demonstrations from Animaker, Byond, Epson, Holosuit, Microsoft, NuHeara, Third Eye Gen, and Varjo. The 2018 AWE event was held in Santa Clara, CA.

Watch the video


Immersive Experiences, Applications, and Non-Technical ImpactsImmersive Experiences, Applications, and Non-Technical Impacts
Augmented World Expo 2018

In this panel session at the 9th Augmented World Expo (AWE USA 2018), 30 May - 1 June 2018 in Santa Clara, CA, USA, subject matter experts from a diverse range of areas commented on current and past "reality" implementations, experiences, implications to humans, and shared an outlook on the future. Topics were not limited to the technical aspects, but also the social, ethical, legal, and policy impacts as well.

Watch the video



IEEE Entrepreneurship at CollisionConf - NeuroTrainerIEEE Entrepreneurship @ #CollisionConf: NeuroTrainer
IEEE Entrepreneurship

At Collision 2017, IEEE Entrepreneurship speaks to Jeff Nyquist, the CEO and Founder of NeuroTrainer. He explains his VR technology and how it can contribute to the strengthening of neuroplasticity. Rooted in proven neuroscience, Neurotrainer designs, develops and implements technology solutions that help individuals and organizations understand and unlock the limitless potential of the human brain.

Watch the video at



Dr. Yu Yuan discusses the rapidly growing virtual reality and wearable markets. More and more brands are integrating these technologies and the results are truly impressive

Watch the video


Georgia Tech Augmented Reality LabGeorgia Tech Augmented Reality Lab
The Institute

Research teams at the Augmented Environments Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology, are not only creating the browser and architecture for augmented reality but also exploring the many potential users for the new medium. Headed by Professor Blair MacIntyre, this technology provides applications for marketing, 3D interactive games, and virtual information that can all be access through a smart phone.

Watch the video at



Seeking Delphi™

Social Robotics and Symbiotic Autonomous Systems with Roberto Saracco - A Seeking Delphi™ Episode
Seeking Delphi™ - April 2018

How we use robots, how we communicate and interact–and ultimately control them–is critical. IEEE, ever in the forefront of maintaining standard practices and ethical approaches to technology, is directly in the fray on this one, with its Initiative on Symbiotic Autonomous Systems. Roberto Saracco, a noted computer scientist and educator from Turin, Italy, leads this episode.

Listen to the podcast at Seeking Delphi™

Click here for more podcasts.


IEEE Digital Reality Announces Collaboration with IEEE ICICLE XR SIG


IEEE Digital Reality is proud to collaborate with IEEE IC Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering (ICICLE). Learn more about the ICICLE XR for Learning and Performance Augmentation SIG, which aims to identify and build upon opportunities for supporting learning engineers to leverage current and future virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and other XR technologies for supporting and enhancing learning and human performance in evidence-based and research-grounded ways.

Read more at the IEEE ICICLE website


News Articles

Software Versus Hardware: The Future of VR Audio Hangs in the Balance
IEEE Spectrum - May 2019

Dirac creates immersive audio for VR with algorithms while Harman patents flying robotic speakers

Dirac has measured head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) for thirty people, forming a model that virtual reality content products can use to make the sounds of a virtual environment respond to a user’s movements. Meanwhile, Harman International has patented a flying robotic speaker system for virtual reality environments.

Read more at IEEE Spectrum


How Do We Build an Augmented and Virtual Reality Business Plan?
TechTarget - February 2019

Augmented and virtual reality is cutting edge, but that shouldn't be your sole reason to deploy it. IEEE member Todd Richmond outlines three principles for design in AR/VR planning.

Read more at TechTarget - IoT Agenda


Virtually Reality: Future Factories Run by Digital Twins - February 2019

"A*STAR has built a testbed for digital twins, the virtual counterparts of real manufacturing equipment. These factory innovations could help companies save huge amounts of time and money by predicting and adjusting for their partner machine's condition on the go."



VR for Your Ears: Dynamic 3D Audio Is Coming Soon
IEEE Spectrum - January 2019

"Today the technology to create the visual component of these virtual-reality (VR) experiences is well on its way to becoming widely accessible and affordable. But to work powerfully, virtual reality needs to be about more than visuals. Unless what you are hearing convincingly matches the visuals, the virtual experience breaks apart."

Read more at IEEE Spectrum


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