Friday, August 20, 2021
University of Iowa Technology Institute

The University of Iowa Technology Institute (ITI) is convening experts from the U.S. Army, Epic Games, academia, and other sectors to explore the progress and potential of mature virtual human (or digital twin) technology for improving physical and non-physical components of human performance.

The topic will be examined through a variety of lenses as part of ITI’s second annual Iowa Virtual Human Summit scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m. (CDT), Sept. 2, 2021. The event is free and virtual, but registration is required.

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Digital twins offer realism, accuracy, and cost effectiveness in designing new tools and equipment, developing new processes, and assisting in training for the benefit of optimizing human performance.

“The science and engineering behind virtual humans have advanced so rapidly we can now make a significant impact,” said Karim Malek, ITI director, professor of biomedical engineering, and summit host. “By using virtual humans, we can save cost and time. We are honored to host this event at UI, showcasing the amazing work at Iowa, from our partners and peers, and specifically the Army, whose leadership in this field has led to numerous collaborations and advances.”

Added Travis Klopfenstein, ITI executive director for programs, “Iowa has developed arguably the world’s most advanced technology for leveraging digital twins to optimize human performance while reducing lost time from injury and under-preparation. As leaders in the field, we are proud to convene this important conversation about the capabilities as well as gaps of this technology.”

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa will provide remarks. Ernst serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, and is the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate. 

Maj. Gen. Lonnie G. Hibbard, the commanding general for the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training (CIMT), is expected to deliver the Department of Defense keynote. ITI has provided rigorous independent review for CIMT using Iowa's digital twins – Santos and Sophia – to validate the methodology behind the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and examine ACFT scoring benchmarks for correlation with warfighting tasks that our soldiers must be ready to face in the field.

Sébastien Lozé, industry manager of simulations at Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite and other popular video games, is expected to deliver the industry keynote address.

They are among a series of speakers providing quick, 15- to 20-minute presentations of their work or perspective on the state of the field. 

What: Iowa Virtual Human Summit 2021: Virtual Humans (as Digital Twins) Improving Human Performance

Who: University of Iowa Technology Institute

When: September 2, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (CDT)

Where: Virtual. Registration is free but required to access the event. Register to attend here. Register to present here.


The Iowa Technology Institute, or ITI, is a world-class research hub founded in 1981 at the University of Iowa. Grounded in engineering and science, ITI cultivates collaboration across disciplines and sectors, invents advanced technologies, and conducts trailblazing basic and applied research in design, simulation, and experimentation that enables a safer and more productive future.