This paper illustrates the concept of an algorithm to register specified markers on the neuroArm surgical manipulators, an image-guided MR-compatible tele-operated robot for microsurgery and stereotaxy. Two range-finding algorithms, namely time-of-flight and phase-shift, are evaluated for registration and supervisory control. The time-of-flight approach is implemented in a semi-field experiment to determine the precise position of a tiny retro-reflective moving object. The moving object simulates a surgical tool tip. The tool is a target that would be connected to the neuroArm end-effector during surgery inside the magnet bore of the MR imaging system. In order to apply flight approach, a 905-nm pulsed laser diode and an avalanche photodiode are utilized as the transmitter and receiver, respectively. For the experiment, a high frequency time to digital converter was designed using a field-programmable gate arrays. In the phase-shift approach, a continuous green laser beam with a wavelength of 530 nm was used as the transmitter. Results showed that a positioning error of 0.1 mm occurred when the scanner-target point distance was set in the range of 2.5 to 3 meters. The effectiveness of this non-contact approach exhibited that the method could be employed as an alternative for conventional mechanical registration arm. Furthermore, the approach is not limited by physical contact and extension of joint angles.
Fight against migrant smuggling has been put as a priority issues at the European Union policy agenda for more than a decade. The trafficked person, who has been targeted as the object of criminal exploitation, is specifically unique for human trafficking. Generally, the beginning of human trafficking activities is related to profit from the victim’s exploitation. The objective of this paper is to present measures that could result in the limitation of corruption mainly through analyzing the existing legislation framework against corruption in Europe. The analysis is focused on exploring the multiple origins of factors influencing migration processes in Europe, as corruption could be characterized as one of the most significant reasons for refugees to flee their countries. The main results show that law enforcement must turn the focus on the financing of the organized crime groups that are involved in migrant smuggling activities. Corruption has a significant role in managing smuggling operations and in particular when criminal organizations and networks are involved. Illegal migrants and refugees usually represent significant sources of additional income for officials involved in the process of boarding protection and immigration control within the European Union borders.
This study employs a method based on image analyses and structure information to detect accumulated ice on known structures. The icing of marine vessels and offshore structures causes significant reductions in their efficiency and creates unsafe working conditions. Image processing methods are used to measure ice loads automatically. Most image processing methods are developed based on captured image analyses. In this method, ice loads on structures are calculated by defining structure coordinates and processing captured images. A pyramidal structure is designed with nine cylindrical bars as the known structure of experimental setup. Unsymmetrical ice accumulated on the structure in a cold room represents the actual case of experiments. Camera intrinsic and extrinsic parameters are used to define structure coordinates in the image coordinate system according to the camera location and angle. The thresholding method is applied to capture images and detect iced structures in a binary image. The ice thickness of each element is calculated by combining the information from the binary image and the structure coordinate. Averaging ice diameters from different camera views obtains ice thicknesses of structure elements. Comparison between ice load measurements using this method and the actual ice loads shows positive correlations with an acceptable range of error. The method can be applied to complex structures defining structure and camera coordinates.
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) coated polypropylene (PP) films containing Zataria multiflora (ZEO) essential oils (4%) as an antimicrobial packaging for chicken breast stored at 4 °C. To increase PP film hydrophilicity, it was treated by atmospheric cold plasma prior to coating by CMC. Then, different films including PP, PP/CMC, PP/CMC containing 4% of ZEO were used for the chicken meat packaging in vapor phase. Total viable count and pseudomonads population and oxidative (TBA) changes of the chicken breast were analyzed during shelf life. Results showed that the shelf life of chicken meat kept in films containing ZEO improved from three to nine days compared to the control sample without any direct contact with the film. Study of oxygen barrier properties of bilayer film without essential oils (0.096 cm3 μm/m2 d kPa) in comparison with PP film (416 cm3 μm/m2 d kPa) shows that coating of PP with CMC significantly reduces oxygen permeation of the obtained packaging (P<0.05), which reduced aerobic bacteria growth. Chemical composition of ZEO was also evaluated by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), and this shows that thymol was the main antimicrobial and antioxidant component of the essential oil. The results revealed that PP/CMC containing ZEO has good potential for application as active food packaging in indirect contact which would also improve sensory properties of product.
Mixing in the hyperspectral imaging occurs due to the low spatial resolutions of the used cameras. The existing pure materials “endmembers” in the scene share the spectra pixels with different amounts called “abundances”. Unmixing of the data cube is an important task to know the present endmembers in the cube for the analysis of these images. Unsupervised unmixing is done with no information about the given data cube. Sparsity is one of the recent approaches used in the source recovery or unmixing techniques. The l1-norm optimization problem “basis pursuit” could be used as a sparsity-based approach to solve this unmixing problem where the endmembers is assumed to be sparse in an appropriate domain known as dictionary. This optimization problem is solved using proximal method “iterative thresholding”. The l1-norm basis pursuit optimization problem as a sparsity-based unmixing technique was used to unmix real and synthetic hyperspectral data cubes.
Photoacoustic Tomography (PAT) is a promising medical imaging modality that combines optical imaging contrast with the spatial resolution of ultrasound imaging. It can also distinguish the changes in biological features. But, real-time PAT system should be confirmed due to photoacoustic effect for tissue. Thus, we have developed a real-time PAT system using a custom-developed data acquisition board and ultrasound linear probe. To evaluate performance of our system, phantom test was performed. As a result of those experiments, the system showed satisfactory performance and its usefulness has been confirmed. We monitored the degradation of inflammation which induced on the rat’s kidney using real-time PAT.
A continuous copper precipitation treatment (CCPT) system was conceived at Intel Chandler Site to serve as a first-of-kind (FOK) facility-scale waste copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), and manganese (Mn) co-precipitation facility. The process was designed to treat highly variable wastewater discharged from a substrate packaging research factory. The paper discusses metals co-precipitation induced by internal changes for manufacturing facilities that lack the capacity for hardware expansion due to real estate restrictions, aggressive schedules, or budgetary constraints. Herein, operating parameters such as pH and oxidation reduction potential (ORP) were examined to analyze the ability of the CCPT System to immobilize various waste metals. Additionally, influential factors such as influent concentrations and retention times were investigated to quantify the environmental variability against system performance. A total of 2,027 samples were analyzed and statistically evaluated to measure the performance of CCPT that was internally retrofitted for Mn abatement to meet environmental regulations. In order to enhance the consistency of the influent, a separate holding tank was cannibalized from another system to collect and slow-feed the segregated Mn wastewater from the factory into CCPT. As a result, the baseline influent Mn decreased from 17.2+18.7 mg1L-1 at pre-pilot to 5.15+8.11 mg1L-1 post-pilot (70.1% reduction). Likewise, the pre-trial and post-trial average influent Cu values to CCPT were 52.0+54.6 mg1L-1 and 33.9+12.7 mg1L-1, respectively (34.8% reduction). However, the raw Ni content of 0.97+0.39 mg1L-1 at pre-pilot increased to 1.06+0.17 mg1L-1 at post-pilot. The average Mn output declined from 10.9+11.7 mg1L-1 at pre-pilot to 0.44+1.33 mg1L-1 at post-pilot (96.0% reduction) as a result of the pH and ORP operating setpoint changes. In similar fashion, the output Cu quality improved from 1.60+5.38 mg1L-1 to 0.55+1.02 mg1L-1 (65.6% reduction) while the Ni output sustained a 50% enhancement during the pilot study (0.22+0.19 mg1L-1 reduced to 0.11+0.06 mg1L-1). pH and ORP were shown to be significantly instrumental to the precipitative versatility of the CCPT System.
The purpose of this study is providing an improved mode choice model considering parameters including age grouping of prime-aged and old age. In this study, 2010 Household Travel Survey data were used and improper samples were removed through the analysis. Chosen alternative, date of birth, mode, origin code, destination code, departure time, and arrival time are considered from Household Travel Survey. By preprocessing data, travel time, travel cost, mode, and ratio of people aged 45 to 55 years, 55 to 65 years and over 65 years were calculated. After the manipulation, the mode choice model was constructed using LIMDEP by maximum likelihood estimation. A significance test was conducted for nine parameters, three age groups for three modes. Then the test was conducted again for the mode choice model with significant parameters, travel cost variable and travel time variable. As a result of the model estimation, as the age increases, the preference for the car decreases and the preference for the bus increases. This study is meaningful in that the individual and households characteristics are applied to the aggregate model.
As one of the most significant phenomena of industrialized societies, tourism plays a key role in encouraging regional developments and enhancing higher standards of living for local communities in particular. Traveling is a formative experience endowed with lessons on various aspects of life. It allows us learning how to enhance the social position as well as the social relationships. However, people forget the need to travel and gain first-hand experiences as they have to cope with the ever-increasing rate of stress created by the disorders and routines of the urban dwelling style. In this paper, various spaces of such experiences were explored through a virtual tour with two underlying aims: 1) encouraging, informing, and educating the community in terms of tourism development, and 2) introducing a temporary release from the routines. This study enjoyed a practical-qualitative research methodology, and the required data were collected through observation and using a multiple-response questionnaire. The participants (19-48 years old) included 41 citizens of both genders (63.4% male and 36.6% female) from two regions in Tehran, selected by cluster-probability sampling. The results led to development of a spatial design for a virtual tour experience in Tehran where different areas are explored to both raise people’s awareness and educate them on their cultural heritage.
Hard seeds will not grow and can cause mold in sprouting process. Thus, the hard seeds need to be separated from the normal seeds. Near infrared hyperspectral imaging in a range of 900 to 1700 nm was implemented to develop a model by partial least squares discriminant analysis to discriminate the hard seeds from the normal seeds. The orientation of the seeds was also studied to compare the performance of the models. The model based on hilum-up orientation achieved the best result giving the coefficient of determination of 0.98, and root mean square error of prediction of 0.07 with classification accuracy was equal to 100%.
Confocal spectral interferometry (CSI) is an innovative optical method for determining microtopography of surfaces and thickness of transparent layers, based on the combination of two optical principles: confocal imaging, and spectral interferometry. Confocal optical system images at each instant a single point of the sample. The whole surface is reconstructed by plan scanning. The interference signal generated by mixing two white-light beams is analyzed using a spectrometer. In this work, five ‘rugotests’ of known standard roughnesses are investigated. The topography is then measured and illustrated, and the equivalent roughness is determined and compared with the standard values.
This study was aimed at analyzing the effects of packaging (MAP) and preservation conditions on the packaged fresh walnut kernel quality. The central composite plan was used for evaluating the effect of oxygen (0–10%), carbon dioxide (0-10%), and temperature (4-26 °C) on qualitative characteristics of walnut kernels. Also, the response level technique was used to find the optimal conditions for interactive effects of factors, as well as estimating the best conditions of process using least amount of testing. Measured qualitative parameters were: peroxide index, color, decreased weight, mould and yeast counting test, and sensory evaluation. The results showed that the defined model for peroxide index, color, weight loss, and sensory evaluation is significant (p < 0.001), so that increase of temperature causes the peroxide value, color variation, and weight loss to increase and it reduces the overall acceptability of walnut kernels. An increase in oxygen percentage caused the color variation level and peroxide value to increase and resulted in lower overall acceptability of the walnuts. An increase in CO2 percentage caused the peroxide value to decrease, but did not significantly affect other indices (p ≥ 0.05). Mould and yeast were not found in any samples. Optimal packaging conditions to achieve maximum quality of walnuts include: 1.46% oxygen, 10% carbon dioxide, and temperature of 4 °C.
Drug delivery to target human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) using a nanoparticulate chemotherapeutic formulation that can deliver drugs selectively to AML cancer is hugely needed. In this work, we report the development of a nanoformulation made of polymeric-stabilized multifunctional magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (PMNP) loaded with the anticancer drug Doxorubicin (Dox) as a promising drug carrier to treat AML. Dox@PMNP conjugates simultaneously exhibited high drug content, maximized fluorescence, and excellent release properties. Nanoparticulate uptake and cell death following addition of Dox@PMNPs were then evaluated in different types of human AML target cells, as well as on normal human cells. While the unloaded MNPs were not toxic to any of the cells, Dox@PMNPs were found to be highly toxic to the different AML cell lines, albeit at different inhibitory concentrations (IC50 values), but showed very little toxicity towards the normal cells. In comparison, free Dox showed significant potency concurrently to all the cell lines, suggesting huge potentials for the use of Dox@PMNPs as selective AML anticancer cargos. Live confocal imaging, fluorescence and electron microscopy confirmed that Dox is indeed delivered to the nucleus in relatively short periods of time, causing apoptotic cell death. Importantly, this targeted payload may potentially enhance the effectiveness of the drug in AML patients and may further allow physicians to image leukemic cells exposed to Dox@PMNPs using MRI.
Labisia pumila (LP) plant extract has the potential to be applied in cosmeceutical products due to its anti-photoaging properties. The main purpose of this study was to improve transdermal delivery of LP by encapsulating LP in niosomes. Niosomes loaded LPs were prepared by coacervation phase separation method using non-ionic surfactant (Span 60), labrasol, and cholesterol. The optimum formula obtained were Span 60, labrasol and cholesterol at the mole ratio of 6:1:4. At the optimum formulation, the niosome obtained significantly improved the quality of transdermal penetration of LP compared to free LP.
Due to the aging of bridges, increasing of maintenance costs and decreasing of structural safety is occurred. The steel corrosion of reinforced concrete bridge is the most common problem and this phenomenon is accelerating due to abnormal weather and increasing CO2 concentration due to climate change. To solve these problems, composite members using textile have been studied. A textile reinforced concrete can reduce carbon emissions by reduced concrete and without steel bars, so a lot of structural behavior studies are needed. Therefore, in this study, textile reinforced concrete beam was made and flexural test was performed. Also, the change of flexural strength according to the prestressing was conducted. As a result, flexural strength of TRC with prestressing was increased compared and flexural behavior was shown as reinforced concrete.
We present in this paper a web-based system called “HelpMeBreathe” for managing asthma. The proposed system provides analytical tools, which allow better understanding of environmental triggers of asthma, hence better support of data-driven decision making. The developed system provides warning messages to a specific asthma patient if the weather in his/her area might cause any difficulty in breathing or could trigger an asthma attack. HelpMeBreathe collects, stores, and analyzes individuals’ moving trajectories and health conditions as well as environmental data. It then processes and displays the patients’ data through an analytical tool that leads to an effective decision making by physicians and other decision makers.
Separate collection system for recyclable wastes in the Helsinki region was ranked second best of European capitals. The collection system includes paper, cardboard, glass, metals and biowaste. Residual waste is collected and used in energy production. The collection system excluding paper is managed by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services HSY, a public organization owned by four municipalities (Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa). Paper collection is handled by the producer responsibility scheme. The efficiency of the collection system in the Helsinki region relies on a good coverage of door-to-door-collection. All properties with 10 or more dwelling units are required to source separate biowaste and cardboard. This covers about 75% of the population of the area. The obligation is extended to glass and metal in properties with 20 or more dwelling units. Other success factors include public awareness campaigns and a fee system that encourages recycling. As a result of waste management regulations for source separation of recyclables and biowaste, nearly 50 percent of recycling rate of household waste has been reached. For households and small and medium size enterprises, there is a sorting station fleet of five stations available. More than 50 percent of wastes received at sorting stations is utilized as material. The separate collection of plastic packaging in Finland will begin in 2016 within the producer responsibility scheme. HSY started supplementing the national bring point system with door-to-door-collection and pilot operations will begin in spring 2016. The result of plastic packages pilot project has been encouraging. Until the end of 2016, over 3500 apartment buildings have been joined the piloting, and more than 1800 tons of plastic packages have been collected separately. In the summer 2015 a novel partial flow digestion process combining digestion and tunnel composting was adopted for source separated household and commercial biowaste management. The product gas form digestion process is converted in to heat and electricity in piston engine and organic Rankine cycle process with very high overall efficiency. This paper describes the efficient collection system and discusses key success factors as well as main obstacles and lessons learned as well as the partial flow process for biowaste management.
This paper is a qualitative case study analysis of the development of a fully online learning community of graduate students through arts-based community building activities. With increasing numbers and types of online learning spaces, it is incumbent upon educators to continue to push the edge of what best practices look like in digital learning environments. In digital learning spaces, instructors can no longer be seen as purveyors of content knowledge to be examined at the end of a set course by a final test or exam. The rapid and fluid dissemination of information via Web 3.0 demands that we reshape our approach to teaching and learning, from one that is content-focused to one that is process-driven. Rather than having instructors as formal leaders, today’s digital learning environments require us to share expertise, as it is the collective experiences and knowledge of all students together with the instructors that help to create a very different kind of learning community. This paper focuses on innovations pursued in a 36 hour 12 week graduate course in higher education entitled “Critical and Reflective Practice”. The authors chronicle their journey to developing a fully online learning community (FOLC) by emphasizing the elements of social, cognitive, emotional and digital spaces that form a moving interplay through the community. In this way, students embrace anywhere anytime learning and often take the learning, as well as the relationships they build and skills they acquire, beyond the digital class into real world situations. We argue that in order to increase student online engagement, pedagogical approaches need to stem from two primary elements, both creativity and critical reflection, that are essential pillars upon which instructors can co-design learning environments with students. The theoretical framework for the paper is based on the interaction and interdependence of Creativity, Intuition, Critical Reflection, Social Constructivism and FOLCs. By leveraging students’ embedded familiarity with a wide variety of technologies, this case study of a graduate level course on critical reflection in education, examines how relationships, quality of work produced, and student engagement can improve by using creative and imaginative pedagogical strategies. The authors examine their professional pedagogical strategies through the lens that the teacher acts as facilitator, guide and co-designer. In a world where students can easily search for and organize information as self-directed processes, creativity and connection can at times be lost in the digitized course environment. The paper concludes by posing further questions as to how institutions of higher education may be challenged to restructure their credit granting courses into more flexible modules, and how students need to be considered an important part of assessment and evaluation strategies. By introducing creativity and critical reflection as central features of the digital learning spaces, notions of best practices in digital teaching and learning emerge.
Power distribution systems are essential and crucial infrastructures for the development and maintenance of a sustainable society. These systems are extremely vulnerable to various types of natural and man-made disasters. The assessment of resilience focuses on preparedness and mitigation actions under pre-disaster conditions. It also concentrates on response and recovery actions under post-disaster situations. The aim of this study is to present a methodology to assess the resilience of electric power distribution poles against wind-related events. The proposed methodology can improve the accuracy and rapidity of the evaluation of the conditions and the assessment of the resilience of poles. The methodology provides a metric for the evaluation of the resilience of poles under pre-disaster and post-disaster conditions. The metric was developed using mathematical expressions for physical forces that involve various variables, such as physical dimensions of the pole, the inclination of the pole, and wind speed. A three-dimensional imaging technology (photogrammetry) was used to determine the inclination of poles. Based on expert opinion, the proposed metric was used to define zones to visualize resilience. Visual representation of resilience is helpful for decision makers to prioritize their resources before and after experiencing a wind-related disaster. Multiple electric poles in the City of Beaumont, TX were used in a case study to evaluate the proposed methodology.
Connecting health services with technology has a huge demand as people health situations are becoming worse day by day. In fact, engaging new technologies such as Internet of Things (IOT) into the medical services can enhance the patient care services. Specifically, patients suffering from chronic diseases such as cardiac patients need a special care and monitoring. In reality, some efforts were previously taken to automate and improve the patient monitoring systems. However, the previous efforts have some limitations and lack the real-time feature needed for chronic kind of diseases. In this paper, an improved process model for patient monitoring system specialized for cardiac patients is presented. A survey was distributed and interviews were conducted to gather the needed requirements to improve the cardiac patient monitoring system. Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) language was used to model the proposed process. In fact, the proposed system uses the IOT Technology to assist doctors to remotely monitor and follow-up with their heart patients in real-time. In order to validate the effectiveness of the proposed solution, simulation analysis was performed using Bizagi Modeler tool. Analysis results show performance improvements in the heart monitoring process. For the future, authors suggest enhancing the proposed system to cover all the chronic diseases.
Bees play a vital role in pollination. This paper focuses on the weighing process of honey. Honey is usually stored at the comb in a hive. Bee farmers brush bees away from the comb and then collect honey, and the collected honey is weighed afterward. However, such a process brings strong negative influences on bees and even leads to the death of bees. This paper therefore presents an Internet of Things-based weight monitoring system which uses weight sensors to measure the weight of honey and simplifies the whole weighing procedure. To verify the system, the weight measured by the system is compared to the weight of standard weights used for calibration by employing a linear regression model. The R2 of the regression model is 0.9788, which suggests that the weighing system is highly reliable and is able to be applied to obtain actual weight of honey. In the future, the weight data of honey can be used to find the relationship between honey production and different ecological parameters, such as bees’ foraging behavior and weather conditions. It is expected that the findings can serve as critical information for honey production improvement.
Business process management (BPM) is a well-known holistic discipline focused on managing business processes with the intention of achieving higher level of BPM maturity and better organizational performance. In recent period, traditional BPM faced some of its limitations like model-reality divide and lost innovation. Following latest trends, as an attempt to overcome the issues of traditional BPM, there has been an introduction of applying the principles of social software in managing business processes which led to the development of social BPM. However, there are not many authors or studies dealing with this topic so this study aims to contribute to that literature gap and to examine the link between the level of BPM maturity and the usage of social BPM. To meet these objectives, a survey within the companies with more than 50 employees has been conducted. The results reveal that the usage of social BPM is higher within the companies which achieved higher level of BPM maturity. This paper provides an overview, analysis and discussion of collected data regarding BPM maturity and social BPM within the observed companies and identifies the main social BPM principles.