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  • 1
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1051: The Drifting Phase of SARAL: Securing Stable Ocean Mesoscale Sampling with an Unmaintained Decaying Altitude Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10071051 Authors: Gérald Dibarboure Alain Lamy Marie-Isabelle Pujol Ghita Jettou The French/Indian altimeter project Satellite with ARGOS and AltiKa (SARAL) completed its nominal 3-year mission on the historical European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS) orbit in Spring 2016. In order to extend the lifetime of the satellite as much as possible, the agencies in charge of SARAL decided to initiate a so-called drifting phase where the satellite altitude is no longer maintained. In this paper we describe how the ocean mesoscale sampling capability of SARAL has been preserved during the drifting phase by initiating it at a specific altitude: the optimal starting point was approximately 1 km above the historical ERS/ENVIronment SATellite (ENVISAT) orbit. This strategy secured the ocean mesoscale sampling capability of SARAL drifting phase (DP) for 6 years or more. We also generalize these findings: any altimeter could follow SARAL’s drifting phase strategy if their maneuvering capability is limited. Lastly, we explain how an altimetry mission or an entire altimeter constellation could be operated without any form of altitude control: some specific altitude bands (e.g., near 1230 km) guarantee a high-quality mesoscale sampling for years or decades even if the altitude is not maintained.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 2
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1049: Effects of Dynamic Range and Sampling Rate of an Infrared Thermometer to the Accuracy of the Cloud Detection Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10071049 Authors: Hye Young Won Myoung Hwan Ahn Cloud detection using downwelling radiation measured by infrared thermometer (IRT) has been utilized for many applications. The current study investigates the effects of disparate IRT specifications, including the dynamic range and sampling rates on the performance of cloud detection, which utilizes the spectral and temporal characteristics of cloudy radiation. To analyze the effects, the detection algorithm that was prepared with and applied to the IRT data with different specifications is compared with reference data, a ceilometer, and micro-pulse lidar (MPL). The comparison results show that the low-altitude clouds are detected with a sufficient accuracy: better than 97% probability of detection (POD). This is due to the much warmer brightness temperature (Tb) of the low clouds compared with the clear sky in the atmospheric window region where the IRT measurement was made. Conversely, the high-altitude cold clouds are hard to detect with the spectral test due to the much-reduced Tb contrast between cloudy and clear sky. Thus, the algorithm performance is largely dependent on the performance of the temporal test. Since the lower measurement noise provides a better estimation of the temporal variability of clear sky Tb with less estimation uncertainty, the IRT data having a better noise performance shows a better POD value by as much as 52.2% compared with the MPL result. However, the improvement is realized only when the dynamic range of IRT covers sufficiently cold Tb, such as −100 °C.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 3
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2144: Smart Vest for Respiratory Rate Monitoring of COPD Patients Based on Non-Contact Capacitive Sensing Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072144 Authors: David Naranjo-Hernández Alejandro Talaminos-Barroso Javier Reina-Tosina Laura M. Roa Gerardo Barbarov-Rostan Pilar Cejudo-Ramos Eduardo Márquez-Martín Francisco Ortega-Ruiz In this paper, a first approach to the design of a portable device for non-contact monitoring of respiratory rate by capacitive sensing is presented. The sensing system is integrated into a smart vest for an untethered, low-cost and comfortable breathing monitoring of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients during the rest period between respiratory rehabilitation exercises at home. To provide an extensible solution to the remote monitoring using this sensor and other devices, the design and preliminary development of an e-Health platform based on the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) paradigm is also presented. In order to validate the proposed solution, two quasi-experimental studies have been developed, comparing the estimations with respect to the golden standard. In a first study with healthy subjects, the mean value of the respiratory rate error, the standard deviation of the error and the correlation coefficient were 0.01 breaths per minute (bpm), 0.97 bpm and 0.995 (p < 0.00001), respectively. In a second study with COPD patients, the values were −0.14 bpm, 0.28 bpm and 0.9988 (p < 0.0000001), respectively. The results for the rest period show the technical and functional feasibility of the prototype and serve as a preliminary validation of the device for respiratory rate monitoring of patients with COPD.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 4
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2141: Fluorinated Metal Phthalocyanines: Interplay between Fluorination Degree, Films Orientation, and Ammonia Sensing Properties Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072141 Authors: Darya Klyamer Aleksandr Sukhikh Sergey Gromilov Pavel Krasnov Tamara Basova In this work, the sensor response of MPcFx (M = Cu, Co, Zn; x = 0, 4, 16) films toward gaseous NH3 (10–50 ppm) was studied by a chemiresistive method and compared to that of unsubstituted MPc films to reveal the effects of central metals and F-substituents on the sensing properties. A combination of atomic force microscopy and X-ray diffraction techniques have been used to elucidate the structural features of thin MPcFx films deposited by organic molecular beam deposition. It has been shown that the sensor response of MPcF4 films to ammonia is noticeably higher than that of MPc films, which is in good correlation with the values of binding energy between the metal phthalocyanine and NH3 molecules, as calculated by the density functional theory (DFT) method. At the same time, in contrast to the DFT calculations, MPcF16 demonstrated the lesser sensor response compared with MPcF4, which appeared to be connected with the different structure and morphology of their films. The ZnPcF4 films were shown to exhibit a sensitivity to ammonia up to concentrations as low as 0.1 ppm, and can be used for the selective detection of ammonia in the presence of some reducing gases and volatile organic compounds. Moreover, the ZnPcF4 films can be used for the detection of NH3 in the gas mixture simulating exhaled air (N2 76%, O2 16%, H2O 5%, and CO2 3%).
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 5
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2139: Accurate Calibration of Multi-LiDAR-Multi-Camera Systems Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072139 Authors: Zoltán Pusztai Iván Eichhardt Levente Hajder As autonomous driving attracts more and more attention these days, the algorithms and sensors used for machine perception become popular in research, as well. This paper investigates the extrinsic calibration of two frequently-applied sensors: the camera and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). The calibration can be done with the help of ordinary boxes. It contains an iterative refinement step, which is proven to converge to the box in the LiDAR point cloud, and can be used for system calibration containing multiple LiDARs and cameras. For that purpose, a bundle adjustment-like minimization is also presented. The accuracy of the method is evaluated on both synthetic and real-world data, outperforming the state-of-the-art techniques. The method is general in the sense that it is both LiDAR and camera-type independent, and only the intrinsic camera parameters have to be known. Finally, a method for determining the 2D bounding box of the car chassis from LiDAR point clouds is also presented in order to determine the car body border with respect to the calibrated sensors.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 6
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2138: Forecasting of Cereal Yields in a Semi-arid Area Using the Simple Algorithm for Yield Estimation (SAFY) Agro-Meteorological Model Combined with Optical SPOT/HRV Images Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072138 Authors: Aicha Chahbi Bellakanji Mehrez Zribi Zohra Lili-Chabaane Bernard Mougenot In semi-arid areas characterized by frequent drought events, there is often a strong need for an operational grain yield forecasting system, to help decision-makers with the planning of annual imports. However, monitoring the crop canopy and production capacity of plants, especially for cereals, can be challenging. In this paper, a new approach to yield estimation by combining data from the Simple Algorithm for Yield estimation (SAFY) agro-meteorological model with optical SPOT/ High Visible Resolution (HRV) satellite data is proposed. Grain yields are then statistically estimated as a function of Leaf Area Index (LAI) during the maximum growth period between 25 March and 5 April. The LAI is retrieved from the SAFY model, and calibrated using SPOT/HRV data. This study is based on the analysis of a rich database, which was acquired over a period of two years (2010–2011, 2012–2013) at the Merguellil site in central Tunisia (North Africa) from more than 60 test fields and 20 optical satellite SPOT/HRV images. The validation and calibration of this methodology is presented, on the basis of two subsets of observations derived from the experimental database. Finally, an inversion technique is applied to estimate the overall yield of the entire studied site.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 7
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2132: Optimal Polygon Decomposition for UAV Survey Coverage Path Planning in Wind Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072132 Authors: Matthew Coombes Tom Fletcher Wen-Hua Chen Cunjia Liu In this paper, a new method for planning coverage paths for fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) aerial surveys is proposed. Instead of the more generic coverage path planning techniques presented in previous literature, this method specifically concentrates on decreasing flight time of fixed-wing aircraft surveys. This is achieved threefold: by the addition of wind to the survey flight time model, accounting for the fact fixed-wing aircraft are not constrained to flight within the polygon of the region of interest, and an intelligent method for decomposing the region into convex polygons conducive to quick flight times. It is shown that wind can make a huge difference to survey time, and that flying perpendicular can confer a flight time advantage. Small UAVs, which have very slow airspeeds, can very easily be flying in wind, which is 50% of their airspeed. This is why the technique is shown to be so effective, due to the fact that ignoring wind for small, slow, fixed-wing aircraft is a considerable oversight. Comparing this method to previous techniques using a Monte Carlo simulation on randomised polygons shows a significant reduction in flight time.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 8
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2135: Design and Implementation of a Central-Controllable and Secure Multicast System Based on Universal Identifier Network Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072135 Authors: Jianfeng Guan Xuan Liu Su Yao Zhongbai Jiang With the rapid increase of network users and services, the breadth and depth of Internet have greatly changed. The mismatch between current network requirements and original network architecture design has spurred the evolution or revolution of Internet to remedy this gap. Lots of research projects on future network architecture have been launched, in which Universal Identifier Network (UIN) architecture that is based on the identifier/location separation, access/core separation and control/forwarding separation can provide better mobility, security and reliability. On the other hand, the demand of group communication has increased due to the fine-grained network services and successive booming of new applications such as IoT (Internet of Things). Most of current multicast schemes are based on the open group model with open group membership (multicast only care the multicast group state, not the group member) and open access to send/receive multicast data, which are beneficial to multicast routing for its simplification. However, the open group membership makes the group member management difficult to be realized, and open access may result in lots of security vulnerabilities such as Denial of service (DoS), eavesdropping and masquerading, which make deployment more difficult. Therefore, in this paper we propose a Central-Controllable and Secure Multicast (CCSM) system based on the UIN architecture, and redesign the multicast service procedures including registration, join/leave, multicast routing construction and update with objective to achieve better mobility support, security, scalability and controllable. More specifically, we design a new group management scheme to perform the multicast members join/leave with authentication and a central-controllable multicast routing scheme to provide a secure way to set up multicast entries on routers. The CCSM inherits the characteristics of UIN in terms of mobility and security, and it can provide the centralized multicast routing computation and distributes the multicast routing into forwarders. We compare CCSM with Protocol Independent Multicast-Sparse Mode (PIM-SM), and the results show that CCSM reduces the multicast join delay, and performs better than PIM-SM in term of reconstruction cost under low multicast density.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 9
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2130: Wireless Passive Ultra High Frequency RFID Antenna Sensor for Surface Crack Monitoring and Quantitative Analysis Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072130 Authors: Jun Zhang Bei Huang Gary Zhang Gui Yun Tian An exponential increase in large-scale infrastructure facilitates the development of wireless passive sensors for permanent installation and in-service health monitoring. Due to their wireless, passive and cost-effective characteristics, ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification (RFID) tag antenna based sensors are receiving increasing attention for structural health monitoring (SHM). This paper uses a circular patch antenna sensor with an open rectangular window for crack monitoring. The sensing mechanism is quantitatively studied in conjunction with a mode analysis, which can uncover the intrinsic principle for turning an antenna into a crack sensor. The robustness of the feature is examined when the variation of crack position associated with an aluminum sample and the antenna sensor is considered. The experimental results demonstrate a reasonable sensitivity and resolution for crack characterization.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 10
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2018: Technological Solutions for Recycling Ash Slag from the Cao Ngan Coal Power Plant in Vietnam Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082018 Authors: Thriveni Thenepalli Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc Lai Quang Tuan Trinh Hai Son Ho Huu Hieu Dang Tran Nhu Thuy Nguyen Thi Thanh Thao Duong Thi Thanh Tam Doan Thi Ngoc Huyen Tran Tan Van Ramakrishna Chilakala Ji Whan Ahn Annually, coal-fired power plants in Vietnam discharge hundreds of thousand tons of coal ash. Most of this ash goes into the environment without treatment or any plan for the efficient reuse of this precious resource. There are many reasons for this, such as poor quality of the ash, no suitable and feasible ash treatment technology, a lack of awareness about environmental pollution and resource saving, and inappropriate sanctions and policies. This study analyzed and summarized information and data pertaining to the current status of the production, discharge, and utilization of coal ash from the Cao Ngan Power Plant (CNPP) in Thai Nguyen Province, Vietnam. In addition, the potential for applying advanced emission reduction technologies in order to recycle coal ash for cement production, as well as geographical, socio-economic, and market factors were assessed. This paper reveals the results of a preliminary assessment of carbon-mineralization technologies which seek to achieve the following three goals: (1) effectively disposing of coal ash to protect the environment and local community, (2) contributing to the nationally determined effort to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change, and (3) making value-added products and bringing economic benefits to a sustainable society.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 11
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2015: Energy-Efficient Clusters for Object Tracking Networks Energies doi: 10.3390/en11082015 Authors: Yang-Hsin Fan Smart cities have hundreds of thousands of devices for tracking data on crime, the environment, and traffic (such as data collected at crossroads and on streets). This results in higher energy usage, as they are recording information persistently and simultaneously. Moreover, a single object tracking device, on a corner at an intersection for example has a limited scope of view, so more object tracking devices are added to broaden the view. As an increasing number of object tracking devices are constructed on streets, their efficient energy consumption becomes a significant issue. This work is concerned with decreasing the energy required to power these systems, and proposes energy-efficient clusters (EECs) of object tracking systems to achieve energy savings. First, we analyze a current object tracking system to establish an equivalent model. Second, we arrange the object tracking system in a cluster structure, which facilitates the evaluation of energy costs. Third, the energy consumption is assessed as either dynamic or static, which is a more accurate system for determining energy consumption. Fourth, we analyze all possible scenarios of the object’s location and the resulting energy consumption, and derive a number of formulas for the fast computation of energy consumption. Finally, the simulation results are reported. These results show the proposed EEC is an effective way to save energy, compared with the energy consumption benchmarks of current technology.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 12
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2302: The Effect of Public Participation on Environmental Governance in China–Based on the Analysis of Pollutants Emissions Employing a Provincial Quantification Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072302 Authors: Tong Zhang Chaofan Chen For a long time, governments and enterprises have been the two main subjects for environmental governance in China. With the growing complexities of environmental issues and the improvement of public environmental awareness, public participation is gradually playing an important role in the process of China’s environmental governance. This paper aims to explore the necessity, the rationale, and the specific effect of public participation on environmental governance in China. A theoretical model is first proposed to illustrate the significance of public participation. Then, an empirical model is built to investigate the impact of public participation on pollutant emissions of the four main pollutants SO2, NOx, COD, and NH4, based on the panel data of 30 provinces from 2011 to 2015 in China. The results and main findings are: (1) public environmental complaints exert a noticeable and positive impact on the reductions of pollutants; (2) this impact varies according to different pollutants, among which reducing SO2 emissions shows the most efficiency; and (3) the impact of public participation on the reduction of pollutants shows the characteristics of hysteresis and regional difference. We find that when the rate of public participation of lagging one period increases by 1%, the reduction of SO2 is 5.03 tons per capita, 1.54 tons per capita, and 0.94 tons per capita in the region of middle, east, and west China, respectively. Therefore, the status of public participation should be strengthened and effective public participation is urgently needed in environmental governance. A systematic cooperative governance among the public, governments, and enterprises needs to be established in the long run.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 13
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2298: Effects on Willingness to Pay for Marine Conservation: Evidence from Zhejiang Province, China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072298 Authors: Bing Yu Yuying Cai Laiqun Jin Bisheng Du The willingness to pay (WTP) for marine conservation is an important basis for the design of market-based marine protection strategies and sustainable marine environment development. Whether the individual was willing to pay and how much they would prefer to pay may be affected separately by different factors. Thus, we investigated the probability of paying for marine conservation and the payment amount to obtain evidence regarding the factors that influence the preferences of stakeholders. We considered two marine protected areas in Zhejiang Province, China, where we combined contingent valuation with logit and tobit models to measure the differences in the WTP for marine conservation between tourists and residents. The results showed that most respondents were willing to pay for marine conservation, but they were affected by different factors. The average amounts that the respondents were willing to pay were 216.20 CNY ($34.3) and 172.43 CNY ($27.4) in the Nanji Islands MPA and Putuo Islands MPA, respectively. The probability of respondents’ WTP was closely related to their individual environmental awareness, whereas the payment amount was influenced mainly by personal income. Thus, our results suggest that increasing human environmental cognition and developing differential payment schemes for the marine environment among stakeholders may promote sustainable marine protection development and management.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 14
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-07-04
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2295: A Combined Value Focused Thinking-Soft Systems Methodology Approach to Structure Decision Support for Energy Performance Assessment of School Buildings Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072295 Authors: Hermano Bernardo Adélio Gaspar Carlos Henggeler Antunes Several technological, social and organizational factors influence energy management in school buildings, resulting in a complex situation away from the usual engineering approach. The selection of evaluation criteria to assess the energy performance of school buildings remains one of the most challenging aspects since these should accommodate the perspectives of the potential key stakeholders. This paper presents a comprehensive problem structuring approach combining Soft Systems Methodology and Value Focused Thinking to elicit and organize the multiple aspects that influence energy efficiency of school buildings. The main aim of this work is structuring the fundamental objectives to develop a criteria tree to be considered in a multi-criteria classification model to be used by management entities for rating overall energy performance of school buildings. This methodological framework helped grasping the main issues at stake for a thorough energy performance assessment of school buildings and the need to define adequate policies for improvement.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 15
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-02
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2483: A Hydrogen Gas Sensor Based on TiO2 Nanoparticles on Alumina Substrate Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082483 Authors: Siti Amaniah Mohd Chachuli Mohd Nizar Hamidon Md. Shuhazlly Mamat Mehmet Ertugrul Nor Hapishah Abdullah High demand of semiconductor gas sensor works at low operating temperature to as low as 100 °C has led to the fabrication of gas sensor based on TiO2 nanoparticles. A sensing film of gas sensor was prepared by mixing the sensing material, TiO2 (P25) and glass powder, and B2O3 with organic binder. The sensing film was annealed at temperature of 500 °C in 30 min. The morphological and structural properties of the sensing film were characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The gas sensor was exposed to hydrogen with concentration of 100–1000 ppm and was tested at different operating temperatures which are 100 °C, 200 °C, and 300 °C to find the optimum operating temperature for producing the highest sensitivity. The gas sensor exhibited p-type conductivity based on decreased current when exposed to hydrogen. The gas sensor showed capability in sensing low concentration of hydrogen to as low as 100 ppm at 100 °C.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 16
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-02
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2461: Prospective Use of High-Refractive Index Materials for Single Molecule Detection in Flow Cytometry Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082461 Authors: Joshua A. Welsh Julia Kepley Ariel Rosner Peter Horak Jay A. Berzofsky Jennifer C. Jones Phenotyping extracellular vesicles (EVs), where surface receptor expression is often as low as one molecule per EV, remains problematic due to the inability of commercial flow cytometers to provide single-fluorescent molecule sensitivity. While EVs are widely considered to be of great potential as diagnostic, prognostic and theranostic biomarkers, their use is currently hindered by the lack of tools available to accurately and reproducibly enumerate and phenotype them. Herein, we propose a new class of labels that leverage the biophysical properties of materials with unique complex refractive indices and demonstrate that this class of labels has the possibility of allowing single-epitope detection using conventional flow cytometry.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 17
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-02
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2708: Research on the Disequilibrium Development of Output of Regional Innovation Based on R&D Personnel Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082708 Authors: Xinbao Tian Jiguang Wang Regional innovation is of great significance to the sustainable development of a regional economy. However, there exists a disequilibrium development of output of regional innovation in China, which affects the imbalance of regional economic development to a certain extent. In order to explore the process and mechanism of the disequilibrium development in regional innovation, a new perspective is adopted in this paper to analyze the index of R&D (research and development) personnel, which is an important input element of regional innovation output. The regional samples, including 31 provinces in China, are divided into three parts: eastern region, central region, and western region. First, developing the tendency and speed of the disequilibrium of regional innovation output are analyzed by using σ convergent model and β convergent model, respectively, during the period of analyzing the process of the disequilibrium development. Then, the LMDI (logarithmic mean Divisia index) method is used to analyze the character of regional innovation output by using R&D personnel as an important endogenous factor during the period of analyzing the mechanism of the disequilibrium development. At last, we draw the conclusion of the study. We find that: (i) there is a gap in the absolute amount between regions in a long term, but the gap between regions is shrinking and the speed of catching up between regions is different; (ii) the efficiency of R&D personnel is the most positive effect of promoting equilibrium.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 18
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1634: Changing the Approach to Anticoagulant Therapy in Older Patients with Multimorbidity Using a Precision Medicine Approach International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081634 Authors: Angela Koverech Valeriano Soldati Vittoria Polidori Leda Marina Pomes Luana Lionetto Matilde Capi Andrea Negro Maurizio Simmaco Paolo Martelletti The ageing of the world population has resulted in an increase in the number of older patients with multimorbid conditions receiving multiple therapies. This emerging clinical scenario poses new challenges, which are mostly related to the increased incidence of adverse effects. This translates into poor clinical care, reduced cost-effectiveness of drug therapies, and social isolation of multimorbid patients due to reduced autonomy. A strategy to address these emerging challenges could involve the personalization of therapies based on the clinical, molecular, and genetic characterization of multimorbid patients. Anticoagulation therapy is a feasible model to implement personalized medicine since it generally involves older multimorbid patients receiving multiple drugs. In this study, in patients with atrial fibrillation, the use of the new generation of anticoagulation therapy, i.e., direct oral anti-coagulants (DOACs), is based on a preliminary assessment of the molecular targets of DOACS and any possible drug–drug interactions. Then, the genetic polymorphism of enzymes metabolizing DOACs is studied. After DOAC prescription, its circulating levels are measured. Clinical data are being collected to assess whether this personalized approach improves the safety and efficacy profiles of anticoagulation therapy using DOACs, thereby reducing the costs of healthcare for ageing multimorbid patients.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 19
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1631: Home- and Car-Based Rules in Foster Care Settings to Reduce Exposure to Secondhand Smoke: Before and after Romanian National Clean Air Legislation International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081631 Authors: Kristie Foley Lorand Ferencz Cristian Meghea Zoltan Abram Melinda Pénzes Andrea Fogarasi-Grenczer Peter Balazs Lorand Schmidt Background: To evaluate changes in smoke free rules in the foster care system after the implementation of the Romanian national clean air law. Methods: A repeated cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaire among foster care employees (n = 599) was conducted in 52 foster care homes during 2014 (n = 295) and 50 homes during 2016 (n = 304). We estimated the absolute difference in the proportion of employees who stated that smoke free rules existed before and after national clean air legislation. Results: There was an absolute increase in 4 of 5 smoke free measures after the law: bans on non-cigarette tobacco products (n = 169 to 206, +10.6%), non-smoking on premises for adults (n = 142 to 202, +18.3%), and for children (n = 201 to 239, +10.3%), and no smoking in cars to transport children (n = 194 to 227, +9%). There was a significant increase in the perception of outdoor bans that prohibit employees from smoking on foster care home premises (AOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.14–4.38). The increase in the perception of indoor smoking bans did not change. Conclusion: The national law may have had a spillover influence by strengthening smoke free rules in unregulated spaces. Nonetheless, foster care home rules could be further enhanced, particularly in cars that transport children.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 20
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1341: Semi-Continuous Reverse Membrane Bioreactor in Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion of Citrus Waste Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11081341 Authors: Tonny Kurniawan Lukitawesa Ilma Hanifah Rachma Wikandari Ria Millati Mohammad J. Taherzadeh Claes Niklasson The presence of an antimicrobial compound called D-Limonene in citrus waste inhibits methane production from such waste in anaerobic digestion. In this work, a two-stage anaerobic digestion method is developed using reverse membrane bioreactors (rMBRs) containing cells encased in hydrophilic membranes. The purpose of encasement is to retain a high cell concentration inside the bioreactor. The effectiveness of rMBRs in reducing cell washout is evaluated. Three different system configurations, comprising rMBRs, freely suspended cells (FCs), and a combination of both (abbreviated to rMBR–FCs), are incubated at three different organic loading rates (OLRs) each, namely 0.6, 1.2, and 3.6 g COD/(L cycle). Incubation lasts for eight feeding cycles at 55 °C. Methane yield and biogas composition results show that rMBRs perform better than rMBR–FCs and FCs at all three OLRs. Volatile fatty acid profiles and H2 production show that the reactors are working properly and no upset occurs. Additionally, a short digestion time of 4 days can be achieved using the rMBR configuration in this study.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 21
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1338: Three-Dimensional Copper Foil-Powder Sintering Current Collector for a Silicon-Based Anode Lithium-Ion Battery Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11081338 Authors: Jin Long Huilong Liu Yingxi Xie Weijin Tang Ting Fu Yong Tang Longsheng Lu Xinrui Ding Xingxian Tang In this work, we propose a facile method for manufacturing a three-dimensional copper foil-powder sintering current collector (CFSCC) for a silicon-based anode lithium-ion battery. We found that the CFSCC is suitable as a silicon-based paste electrode, and the paste-like electrodes are commonly used in industrial production. Compared with flat current collectors, the CFSCC better constrained the silicon volume change during the charging-discharging process. The capacitance of electrodes with CFSCC remained as high as 92.2% of its second cycle after 40 cycles, whereas that of electrodes with a flat current collector only remained at 50%.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 22
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-02
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 309: Interval Fuzzy Segments Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10080309 Authors: Lambert Jorba Romà Adillon In this paper, we bring together two concepts related to uncertainty and vagueness: fuzzy numbers and intervals. With them, we build a new structure whose elements we call interval fuzzy segments. We have undertaken this based on the conviction that the fuzzy numbers are a correct representation of the real numbers under situations of indeterminacy. We also believe that if it makes sense to consider the set of real numbers between two real bounds, then it also makes sense to consider the set of all the fuzzy numbers between two fuzzy number bounds. In this way, we extend the concept of real interval to the concept of interval fuzzy segment defined by two fuzzy bounds and a transition mapping that leads from the lower fuzzy bound to the upper fuzzy bound and this transition mapping generates the set of all the fuzzy numbers comprised between those fuzzy bounds. At the same time, this transition mapping brings the concept of interval fuzzy segment closer to the concept of line segment.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 23
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-02
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 305: Evaluation of a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider Using a Rough SWARA–WASPAS Model Based on a New Rough Dombi Agregator Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10080305 Authors: Siniša Sremac Željko Stević Dragan Pamučar Miloš Arsić Bojan Matić For companies active in various sectors, the implementation of transport services and other logistics activities has become one of the key factors of efficiency in the total supply chain. Logistics outsourcing is becoming more and more important, and there is an increasing number of third party logistics providers. In this paper, logistics providers were evaluated using the Rough SWARA (Step-Wise Weight Assessment Ratio Analysis) and Rough WASPAS (Weighted Aggregated Sum Product Assessment) models. The significance of the eight criteria on the basis of which evaluation was carried out was determined using the Rough SWARA method. In order to allow for a more precise consensus in group decision-making, the Rough Dombi aggregator was developed in order to determine the initial rough matrix of multi-criteria decision-making. A total of 10 logistics providers dealing with the transport of dangerous goods for chemical industry companies were evaluated using the Rough WASPAS approach. The obtained results demonstrate that the first logistics provider is also the best one, a conclusion confirmed by a sensitivity analysis comprised of three parts. In the first part, parameter ρ was altered through 10 scenarios in which only alternatives four and five change their ranks. In the second part of the sensitivity analysis, a calculation was performed using the following approaches: Rough SAW (Simple Additive Weighting), Rough EDAS (Evaluation Based on Distance from Average Solution), Rough MABAC (MultiAttributive Border Approximation Area Comparison), and Rough TOPSIS (Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution). They showed a high correlation of ranks determined by applying Spearman’s correlation coefficient in the third part of the sensitivity analysis.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 24
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1222: Systematic Comparison of Power Line Classification Methods from ALS and MLS Point Cloud Data Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081222 Authors: Yanjun Wang Qi Chen Lin Liu Xiong Li Arun Kumar Sangaiah Kai Li Power lines classification is important for electric power management and geographical objects extraction using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) point cloud data. Many supervised classification approaches have been introduced for the extraction of features such as ground, trees, and buildings, and several studies have been conducted to evaluate the framework and performance of such supervised classification methods in power lines applications. However, these studies did not systematically investigate all of the relevant factors affecting the classification results, including the segmentation scale, feature selection, classifier variety, and scene complexity. In this study, we examined these factors systematically using airborne laser scanning and mobile laser scanning point cloud data. Our results indicated that random forest and neural network were highly suitable for power lines classification in forest, suburban, and urban areas in terms of the precision, recall, and quality rates of the classification results. In contrast to some previous studies, random forest yielded the best results, while Naïve Bayes was the worst classifier in most cases. Random forest was the more robust classifier with or without feature selection for various LiDAR point cloud data. Furthermore, the classification accuracies were directly related to the selection of the local neighborhood, classifier, and feature set. Finally, it was suggested that random forest should be considered in most cases for power line classification.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 25
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1220: Correction: Shao, Z.; et al. A Benchmark Dataset for Performance Evaluation of Multi-Label Remote Sensing Image Retrieval. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 964 Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081220 Authors: Zhenfeng Shao Ke Yang Weixun Zhou In our paper [1], we presented a dense labeling dataset that can be used for not only single-label and multi-label remote sensing image retrieval but also pixel-based problems such as semantic segmentation.[...]
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 26
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1216: UAV Multispectral Imagery Can Complement Satellite Data for Monitoring Forest Health Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081216 Authors: Jonathan P. Dash Grant D. Pearse Michael S. Watt The development of methods that can accurately detect physiological stress in forest trees caused by biotic or abiotic factors is vital for ensuring productive forest systems that can meet the demands of the Earth’s population. The emergence of new sensors and platforms presents opportunities to augment traditional practices by combining remotely-sensed data products to provide enhanced information on forest condition. We tested the sensitivity of multispectral imagery collected from time-series unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and satellite imagery to detect herbicide-induced stress in a carefully controlled experiment carried out in a mature Pinus radiata D. Don plantation. The results revealed that both data sources were sensitive to physiological stress in the study trees. The UAV data were more sensitive to changes at a finer spatial resolution and could detect stress down to the level of individual trees. The satellite data tested could only detect physiological stress in clusters of four or more trees. Resampling the UAV imagery to the same spatial resolution as the satellite imagery revealed that the differences in sensitivity were not solely the result of spatial resolution. Instead, vegetation indices suited to the sensor characteristics of each platform were required to optimise the detection of physiological stress from each data source. Our results define both the spatial detection threshold and the optimum vegetation indices required to implement monitoring of this forest type. A comparison between time-series datasets of different spectral indices showed that the two sensors are compatible and can be used to deliver an enhanced method for monitoring physiological stress in forest trees at various scales. We found that the higher resolution UAV imagery was more sensitive to fine-scale instances of herbicide induced physiological stress than the RapidEye imagery. Although less sensitive to smaller phenomena the satellite imagery was found to be very useful for observing trends in physiological stress over larger areas.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 27
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2550: Remote Cell Growth Sensing Using Self-Sustained Bio-Oscillations Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082550 Authors: Pablo Pérez Gloria Huertas Alberto Olmo Andrés Maldonado-Jacobi Juan A. Serrano María E. Martín Paula Daza Alberto Yúfera A smart sensor system for cell culture real-time supervision is proposed, allowing for a significant reduction in human effort applied to this type of assay. The approach converts the cell culture under test into a suitable “biological” oscillator. The system enables the remote acquisition and management of the “biological” oscillation signals through a secure web interface. The indirectly observed biological properties are cell growth and cell number, which are straightforwardly related to the measured bio-oscillation signal parameters, i.e., frequency and amplitude. The sensor extracts the information without complex circuitry for acquisition and measurement, taking advantage of the microcontroller features. A discrete prototype for sensing and remote monitoring is presented along with the experimental results obtained from the performed measurements, achieving the expected performance and outcomes.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 28
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2547: Event-Based Communication and Finite-Time Consensus Control of Mobile Sensor Networks for Environmental Monitoring Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082547 Authors: Yu Hu Qiang Lu Yanzhu Hu This paper deals with the problem of environmental monitoring by designing a cooperative control scheme for mobile sensor networks. The proposed cooperative control scheme includes three main modules: a wireless communication module, a direction decision module, and a motion control module. In the wireless communication module, an event-based communication rule is proposed, which means that mobile sensor nodes do not send their positions, velocities, and the data of environmental attributes to the other sensor nodes in real-time for the coordination and control of mobile sensor networks. Due to using the event-based communication rule, the communication bandwidth can be saved. In the direction decision module, a radial basis function network is used to model the monitored environment and is updated in terms of the sampled environmental data and the environmental data from the other sensor nodes by the wireless communication module. The updated environment model is used to guide the mobile sensor network to move towards the region of interest in order to efficiently model the distribution map of environmental attributes, such as temperature, salinity, and pH values for the monitored environment. In the motion control module, a finite-time consensus control approach is proposed to enable the sensor nodes to quickly change their movement directions in light of the gradient information from the environment model. As a result of using the event-based communication rule in the wireless communication module, the proposed control approach can also lower the updating times of the control signal. In particular, the proposed cooperative control scheme is still efficient under the directed wireless communication situation. Finally, the effectiveness of the proposed cooperative control scheme is illustrated for the problem of environmental monitoring.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 29
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2544: Hierarchical Lateral Control Scheme for Autonomous Vehicle with Uneven Time Delays Induced by Vision Sensors Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082544 Authors: Qi Liu Yahui Liu Congzhi Liu Baiming Chen Wenhao Zhang Liang Li Xuewu Ji Vision-based sensors are widely used in lateral control of autonomous vehicles, but the large computational cost of the visual algorithms often induces uneven time delays. In this paper, a hierarchical vision-based lateral control scheme is proposed, where the upper controller is designed by robust H∞-based linear quadratic regulator (LQR) algorithm to compensate sensor-induced delays, and the lower controller is based on logic threshold method, in order to achieve strong convergence of the steering angle. Firstly, the vehicle lateral model is built, and the nonlinear uncertainties induced by time delays are linearized with Taylor expansion. Secondly, the state space of the system is augmented to describe such uncertainties with polytopic inclusions, which is controlled by an H∞-based LQR controller with a low cost of online computation. Then, a lower controller is designed for the control of the steering motor. According to the results of the vehicle experiment as well as the hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) experiment, the proposed control scheme shows good performance in vehicle’s lateral control task, and exhibits better robustness compared with a conventional LQR controller. The proposed control scheme provides a feasible solution for the lateral control of autonomous driving.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 30
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2541: Recording Heart Rate Variability of Dairy Cows to the Cloud—Why Smartphones Provide Smart Solutions Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082541 Authors: Maren Wierig Leonard P. Mandtler Peter Rottmann Viktor Stroh Ute Müller Wolfgang Büscher Lutz Plümer In the last decades, there has been an increasing interest in animal protection and welfare issues. Heart rate variability (HRV) measurement with portable heart rate monitors on cows has established itself as a suitable method for assessing physiological states. However, more forward-looking technologies, already successfully applied to evaluate HRV data, are pushing the market. This study examines the validity and usability of collecting HRV data by exchanging the Polar watch V800 as a receiving unit of the data compared to a custom smartphone application on cows. Therefore, both receivers tap one signal sent by the Polar H7 transmitter simultaneously. Furthermore, there is a lack of suitable methods for the preparation and calculation of HRV parameters, especially for livestock. A method is presented for calculating more robust time domain HRV parameters via median formation. The comparisons of the respective simultaneous recordings were conducted after artifact correction for time domain HRV parameters. High correlations (r = 0.82–0.98) for cows as well as for control data set in human being (r = 0.98–0.99) were found. The utilization of smart devices and the robust method to determine time domain HRV parameters may be suitable to generate valid HRV data on cows in field-based settings.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 31
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2538: A New Variational Bayesian Adaptive Extended Kalman Filter for Cooperative Navigation Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082538 Authors: Sun Zhang Wang Gao To solve the problem of unknown state noises and uncertain measurement noises inherent in underwater cooperative navigation, a new Variational Bayesian (VB)-based Adaptive Extended Kalman Filter (VBAEKF) for master–slave Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) is proposed in this paper. The Inverse Wishart (IW) distribution is used to model the predicted error covariance and measurement noise covariance matrix. The state, together with the predicted error covariance and measurement noise covariance matrix, can be adaptively estimated based on VB approximation. The performance of the proposed algorithm is demonstrated through a lake trial, which shows the advantage of the proposed algorithm.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 32
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    In: Entropy
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 565: Collective Motion of Repulsive Brownian Particles in Single-File Diffusion with and without Overtaking Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20080565 Authors: Takeshi Ooshida Susumu Goto Michio Otsuki Subdiffusion is commonly observed in liquids with high density or in restricted geometries, as the particles are constantly pushed back by their neighbors. Since this “cage effect” emerges from many-body dynamics involving spatiotemporally correlated motions, the slow diffusion should be understood not simply as a one-body problem but as a part of collective dynamics, described in terms of space–time correlations. Such collective dynamics are illustrated here by calculations of the two-particle displacement correlation in a system of repulsive Brownian particles confined in a (quasi-)one-dimensional channel, whose subdiffusive behavior is known as the single-file diffusion (SFD). The analytical calculation is formulated in terms of the Lagrangian correlation of density fluctuations. In addition, numerical solutions to the Langevin equation with large but finite interaction potential are studied to clarify the effect of overtaking. In the limiting case of the ideal SFD without overtaking, correlated motion with a diffusively growing length scale is observed. By allowing the particles to overtake each other, the short-range correlation is destroyed, but the long-range weak correlation remains almost intact. These results describe nested space–time structure of cages, whereby smaller cages are enclosed in larger cages with longer lifetimes.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 33
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    In: Forests
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 471: Incorporating Insect and Wind Disturbances in a Natural Disturbance-Based Management Framework for the Boreal Forest Forests doi: 10.3390/f9080471 Authors: Louis De Grandpré Kaysandra Waldron Mathieu Bouchard Sylvie Gauthier Marilou Beaudet Jean-Claude Ruel Christian Hébert Daniel D. Kneeshaw Natural disturbances are fundamental to forest ecosystem dynamics and have been used for two decades to improve forest management, notably in the boreal forest. Initially based on fire regimes, there is now a need to extend the concept to include other types of disturbances as they can greatly contribute to forest dynamics in some regions of the boreal zone. Here we review the main descriptors—that is, the severity, specificity, spatial and temporal descriptors and legacies, of windthrow and spruce bud worm outbreak disturbance regimes in boreal forests—in order to facilitate incorporating them into a natural disturbance-based forest management framework. We also describe the biological legacies that are generated by these disturbances. Temporal and spatial descriptors characterising both disturbance types are generally variable in time and space. This makes them difficult to reproduce in an ecosystem management framework. However, severity and specificity descriptors may provide a template upon which policies for maintaining post harvesting and salvage logging biological legacies can be based. In a context in which management mainly targets mature and old-growth stages, integrating insect and wind disturbances in a management framework is an important goal, as these disturbances contribute to creating heterogeneity in mature and old-growth forest characteristics.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 34
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1639: Sexual Function of Postmenopausal Women Addicted to Alcohol International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081639 Authors: Anna Jenczura Mariola Czajkowska Agnieszka Skrzypulec-Frankel Violetta Skrzypulec-Plinta Agnieszka Drosdzol-Cop Introduction: Alcoholism impairs female sexual functions (decreased sex drive, reduced vaginal fluid, difficulty to experience orgasm). Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the course of perimenopausal period and sexual life of female alcoholics. Methods: 97 women at the age of 40–60 years were qualified with a diagnosed history of alcoholism (studied group). For the control group, 92 women at the age of 40–60 without a history of alcoholism were qualified. Questionnaires assessing female sexual function (Female Sexual Function Index—FSFI), the severity of perimenopausal symptoms (Menopause Rating Scale—MRS) and the degree of alcohol addiction (Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test—MAST) were obtained from each participant. Main outcome measures: To assess the sexual function of perimenopausal women addicted to alcohol. Results: The studied and control groups were significantly different (p = 0.00) in terms of severity of menopausal symptoms (MRS). The research showed lower quality of sexual life (FSFI) of women from the studied group. Conclusions: Population of women with diagnosed alcohol dependence enter the menopausal stage at the similar age as the population of female non-drinkers. The time of alcohol abuse is an important factor having an impact on both the course of menopause and the dynamics of the perimenopause period, leading to symptom escalation. The population of female alcoholics shows a decrease in sexual activity and the prevalence of sexual disorders.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 35
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1636: Effects of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers on Child Cognitive, Behavioral, and Motor Development International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081636 Authors: Elizabeth A. Gibson Eva Laura Siegel Folake Eniola Julie Beth Herbstman Pam Factor-Litvak Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) flame retardants are environmental chemicals that cross the placenta during pregnancy and have shown evidence of neurotoxicity. As the in utero period is a sensitive developmental window, such exposure may result in adverse childhood outcomes. Associations between in utero PBDE exposure and neurodevelopment are found in animal models and increasingly in human population studies. Here, we review the epidemiological evidence of the association between prenatal exposure to PBDEs and motor, cognitive, and behavioral development in infants and children. Published work suggests a negative association between PBDE concentrations and neurodevelopment despite varying PBDE congeners measured, bio-specimen matrix used, timing of the biological sampling, geographic location of study population, specific developmental tests used, age of children at time of testing, and statistical methodologies. This review includes 16 published studies that measured PBDE exposure in maternal blood during pregnancy or in cord blood at delivery and performed validated motor, cognitive, and/or behavioral testing at one or more time during childhood. We evaluate possible mediation through PBDE-induced perturbations in thyroid function and effect measure modification by child sex. While the majority of studies support an adverse association between PBDEs and neurodevelopment, additional research is required to understand the mechanism of action, possibly through the perturbations in thyroid function either in the pregnant woman or in the child, and the role of biologically relevant effect modifiers such as sex.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 36
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1633: From Office Environmental Stressors to Work Performance: The Role of Work Patterns International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081633 Authors: Aida Soriano Malgorzata W. Kozusznik Jose M. Peiró Background: Different studies have shown a relationship between office environmental stressors and performance. However, studying environmental stress in the workplace requires analyzing more specific patterns to generate knowledge about the type of employees who are more or less vulnerable to environmental stressors. The present study analyzes the mediating role of health symptoms and negative emotions in the relationship between stressors and performance in different work patterns (task complexity and interactivity). Methods: There were 83 office workers (n = 603 time points) that took part in a diary study with multilevel design. Results: The appraisal of the environmental stressors is positively related to health-related symptoms, which in turn increase negative emotions, and then decrease the performance of workers who perform complex tasks and interact frequently with other people at work. This mediation is not significant when office workers do not interact frequently with other people at work and/or perform simple, rather than complex tasks. Conclusions: Work patterns play an important role when studying the mediating role of health-related symptoms and negative emotions in the relationship between the appraisal of environmental stressors and performance in office workers. In other words, employees in the ‘interactive and complex’ pattern are more vulnerable to the negative effects of office stressors on performance.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 37
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: IJGI, Vol. 7, Pages 312: CS Projects Involving Geoinformatics: A Survey of Implementation Approaches ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information doi: 10.3390/ijgi7080312 Authors: Laura Criscuolo Gloria Bordogna Paola Carrara Monica Pepe In the last decade, citizen science (CS) has seen a renewed interest from both traditional science and the lay public as testified by a wide number of initiatives, projects, and dedicated technological applications. One of the main reasons for this renewed interest lies in the fact that the ways in which citizen science projects are designed and managed have been significantly improved by the recent advancements in information and communications technologies (ICT), especially in the field of geoinformatics. In this research work, we investigate currently active citizen science projects that involve geoinformation to understand how geoinformatics is actually employed. To achieve this, we define eight activities typically carried out during the implementation of a CS initiative as well as a series of approaches for each activity, in order to pinpoint distinct strategies within the different projects. To this end, a representative set of ongoing CS initiatives is selected and surveyed. The results show how CS projects address the various activities, and report which strategies and technologies from geoinformatics are massively or marginally used. The quantitative results are presented, supported by examples and descriptions. Finally, cues and critical issues coming from the research are discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 38
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1343: Thermodynamic Analysis of Ti3O5Nanoparticles Formed in Melt and Their Effects on Ferritic Steel Microstructure Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11081343 Authors: Yanlin Wang Meng Zhou Xiaolu Pang Xiaohua Chen Zidong Wang Alex A. Volinsky Hao Tang Based on the Wagner’s formalism combined with mass conservation, a thermodynamic analysis method has been developed previously. This method enables the calculation of the equilibrium matrix composition, precipitate composition and precipitate total molar fraction for TixOy(s) in molten metal, which can be determined at any appropriate temperature. In this present study, the Ti3O5 phase precipitation and the quantitative relationship between the addition of Ti, O and Ti3O5 in the molten steel were studied using the thermodynamic model. Using the combined multipoint dispersion supply method, electromagnetic stirring and well-dispersed 5-nm Ti3O5 nanoparticles were fabricated in the ferrite matrix of the as-cast high-strength steel with 0.05 wt % Ti—0.002 wt % O. The as-cast microstructure was improved by the homogeneously dispersed Ti3O5 nanoparticles through heterogeneous nucleation and grain refinement.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 39
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2522: A High-Level Control Algorithm Based on sEMG Signalling for an Elbow Joint SMA Exoskeleton Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082522 Authors: Dorin Copaci David Serrano Luis Moreno Dolores Blanco A high-level control algorithm capable of generating position and torque references from surface electromyography signals (sEMG) was designed. It was applied to a shape memory alloy (SMA)-actuated exoskeleton used in active rehabilitation therapies for elbow joints. The sEMG signals are filtered and normalized according to data collected online during the first seconds of a therapy session. The control algorithm uses the sEMG signals to promote active participation of patients during the therapy session. In order to generate the reference position pattern with good precision, the sEMG normalized signal is compared with a pressure sensor signal to detect the intention of each movement. The algorithm was tested in simulations and with healthy people for control of an elbow exoskeleton in flexion–extension movements. The results indicate that sEMG signals from elbow muscles, in combination with pressure sensors that measure arm–exoskeleton interaction, can be used as inputs for the control algorithm, which adapts the reference for exoskeleton movements according to a patient’s intention.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 40
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2520: High-Efficiency Output Pressure Performance Using Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers with Substrate-Embedded Springs Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082520 Authors: Byung Chul Lee Amin Nikoozadeh Kwan Kyu Park Butrus T. Khuri-Yakub Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) with substrate-embedded springs offer highly efficient output pressure performance over conventional CMUTs, owing to their nonflexural parallel plate movement. The embedded silicon springs support thick Si piston plates, creating a large nonflexural average volume displacement efficiency in the operating frequency range from 1–3 MHz. Static and dynamic volume displacements of the nonflexural parallel plates were examined using white light interferometry and laser Doppler vibrometry. In addition, an output pressure measurement in immersion was performed using a hydrophone. The device showed a maximum transmission efficiency of 21 kPa/V, and an average volume displacement efficiency of 1.1 nm/V at 1.85 MHz with a low DC bias voltage of 55 V. The device element outperformed the lead zirconate titanate (PZT) ceramic HD3203, in the maximum transmission efficiency or the average volume displacement efficiency by 1.35 times. Furthermore, its average volume displacement efficiency reached almost 80% of the ideal state-of-the-art single-crystal relaxor ferroelectric materials PMN-0.33PT. Additionally, we confirmed that high-efficiency output pressure could be generated from the CMUT device, by quantitatively comparing the hydrophone measurement of a commercial PZT transducer.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 41
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2732: Sustainable Mineral Resource Management—Insights into the Case of Phosphorus Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082732 Authors: Gerald Steiner Bernhard Geissler Although it is among the most abundant elements in Earth’s crust (11th [1]) and water (13th [2]), phosphorus (P) is commonly referred to as “life’s bottleneck”, as “life can multiply until all thephosphorus is gone, and then there is an inexorable halt which nothing can prevent . . . ” [3]. [...]
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 42
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2728: Developmental Trajectories in Electrical Steel Technology Using Patent Information Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082728 Authors: Donghyun You Hyunseok Park Recently there has been growing demand for low-electricity consuming transformers and electric vehicles due to global trend of reducing use of fossil fuels and the role of electrical steel became important. Tracing and analyzing research trend and development of electrical steel will give insight for development of R&D direction and strategies. We used patent citation network and GBFP (Genetic Backward-Forward Path analysis) to identify technological trajectories of electrical steel domain and patent contents with other papers to qualitatively analyze research trend of the domain. As a result, we found that some sub-domains of electrical steel domain had close technological relationship to each other in their developmental paths and suggested further R&D direction in the electrical steel technology.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 43
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2729: Assessment of Postural Load during Melon Cultivation in Mediterranean Greenhouses Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082729 Authors: Marta Gómez-Galán José Pérez-Alonso Ángel-Jesús Callejón-Ferre Julián Sánchez-Hermosilla-López Health and safety at work directly influence the development of sustainable agriculture. In the agricultural sector, many farm workers suffer musculoskeletal disorders caused by forced posture. The objective of this research is to assess working postures during melon cultivation in Almería-type greenhouses. The Ovako Working Posture Assessment System (OWAS) has been used with pictures of the tasks. The variables studied by multiple correspondence analysis were as follows: Subtask, Posture code, Back, Arms, Legs, Load, Risk, and Risk combination. The OWAS analysis showed that 47.57% of the postures were assessed as risk category 2, 14.32% as risk category 3, 0.47% as risk category 4, and the rest as risk category 1. Corrective measures should be implemented immediately, as soon as possible, or in the near future, depending on the risks detected.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 44
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2727: It’s Not a Fad: Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research in European and Global Contexts Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082727 Authors: Anna Visvizi Miltiadis D. Lytras Research on smart cities matures, and new interdisciplinary approaches to the study of smart cities, is increasing. At the same time, problems pertinent to communities inhabiting rural areas are also addressed, as a part of discussions in neighboring fields of research, such as environmental studies, sociology, and agriculture. Arguably, the concept of ‘the village’ has been largely absent in the academic debate, even if rural areas and countryside communities have been a subject of concern for robust policy frameworks, such as the European Union’s Cohesion Policy and Common Agricultural Policy. As a result, when advances in sophisticated information and communication technology (ICT) led to the emergence of a rich body of research on smart cities, the application and usability of ICT in the context of a village remained underdiscussed in the literature. Through this Special Issue, and the Editors’ earlier research on this topic, the Editors hope that the idea of the ‘smart village’ will be introduced into the debate. Against this backdrop, the objective of this opening review is three-fold: (i) to outline the conceptual boundaries of the term smart village, (ii) to highlight the thrust of the challenge inherent in smart villages research, and (iii) to shed light on the smart village research agenda as it unfolds. The relevance and validity of these claims are supported by references to research submitted to the Special Issue titled “Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research”.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 45
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2726: How Do Community Planning Features Affect the Place Relationship of Residents? An Investigation of Place Attachment, Social Interaction, and Community Participation Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082726 Authors: Heng Zhang Rodney H. Matsuoka Yu-Jan Huang Outdoor environment can have significant connections with place relationships. This study tried to explore the connection in detail. First, the relationship was examined through an integrated view of environmental planning, followed by reviewing impacts of essential elements from the outdoor environment on place relationships. Residents of three public housing communities in Taiwan were surveyed. Each community had a different layout: alley, cluster, and large courtyard. Exploratory factor analysis revealed that outdoor community planning features can be grouped into four factors: outdoor space quality, circulation planning, outdoor recreational facilities, and community layout. Canonical correlation analyses indicate different combinations of these factors were connected to diverse combinations of place relationship dimensions. More importantly, higher levels of satisfaction toward outdoor space quality as well as community layout were associated with greater place attachment and less community participation. Higher levels of satisfaction with circulation planning were connected to greater place attachment and community participation, and less social interaction. Multiple regression analyses found the associations between the community planning features and place relationship dimensions differed among the alley, cluster, and large courtyard. These findings can help planners and architects design public housing and similar communities that better enhance the emotional and social experiences of the inhabitants.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 46
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2724: Agroecology in Mediterranean Europe: Genesis, State and Perspectives Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082724 Authors: Paola Migliorini Vasileios Gkisakis Victor Gonzalvez Ma Dolores Raigón Paolo Bàrberi The Mediterranean agro-food systems need to be properly managed. A promising pathway is the transition towards more sustainable food systems through agroecology, which represents the ecology of food systems. In this paper, the state-of-the-art of agroecology is described for three representative euro-Mediterranean countries: Italy, Greece, and Spain. The analysis has been partly based on results of a dedicated literature search and partly on grey literature and expert knowledge. After an overview of the history of agroecology, targeted research and education, collective action (political and social), and some agroecological practices in the three countries are presented. These countries share a rather similar use of the term “agroecology”, but they differ regarding (i) the existence/extent of strong civil and social movements; (ii) the type of study/educational programmes, and the relative importance of different scientific disciplines and their evolution; (iii) the development of political support and legal frameworks; and (iv) the elaboration of concepts to rediscover traditional practices and apply new ones, often taken from the organic agriculture sector. Agroecology is an emerging concept for the Mediterranean agricultural sector, with huge potential due to the peculiar socio-cultural, bio-physical, and political-economic features of the region. To boost agroecology in Mediterranean Europe, better networking and engagement of different actors within a coherent institutional framework supporting the transition is strongly needed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 47
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2725: Effect of Roads on Ecological Corridors Used for Wildlife Movement in a Natural Heritage Site Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082725 Authors: Hui Shi Tiange Shi Zhaoping Yang Zhi Wang Fang Han Cuirong Wang Roads are the link between geographic space and human socio-economic activities, promoting local economic development, and simultaneously causing various negative effects, such as segmentation, interference, destruction, degradation, and pollution. In China, the construction of roads is rapid, which might affect wildlife movement, landscape pattern, and land use change, thereby, affecting the conservation of heritage sites. In the present study, the minimum cumulative resistance model, along with geographic information system technology, was adopted to compute the ecological corridor for wildlife movement between the source patches and to analyze ecological corridor changes under two conditions (road presence/absence) at two time points in Kanas, nominated as a World Natural Heritage site. The relationships between the ecological corridor changes and various factors, including the cutting index of the ‘road-effect zones’, terrain, and road geometric characteristics, were examined using the geographical detector model to identify the influencing factors and mechanisms of the corridor changes, in order to rationally simulate the potential ecological corridors. In addition, the detached and fragmented ecological patches can be connected to effectively protect the biodiversity, biological habitats, and species, which are important means to achieve regional sustainable development and ecological construction.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 48
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2723: A Bus Service Evaluation Method from Passenger’s Perspective Based on Satisfaction Surveys: A Case Study of Beijing, China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082723 Authors: Jiancheng Weng Xiaojian Di Chang Wang Jingjing Wang Lizeng Mao As an important part of urban public transport, bus service quality is an important factor affecting the choice of passenger travel mode. This paper constructs a set of satisfaction evaluation indicator systems from the perspective of passenger perception, covering the whole travel process. It is composed of 6 first-level indexes (timeliness, safety, convenience, comfort, reliability and economy) and 21 second-level indexes. Considering the scale of bus service in Beijing, this research carried out a stratified sampling on 100 bus lines and collected 3012 field questionnaire surveys. The basic information of the bus routes investigated, demographic questions and their opinions of the satisfaction of the bus service were all recorded in the questionnaire. After testing the reliability and validity of the indicator system, the paper proposes a satisfaction evaluation model weighted by the related coefficient. The results show that overall satisfaction score is 78.2 and the proportion of bus passengers who are satisfied with the bus service nearly 70%. Multivariate analysis of variance methods were employed to evaluate the satisfaction influencing factors. Conclusions can be drawn that the satisfaction score of timeliness is lowest, which is mainly influenced by three factors: the passenger’s age, travel purpose and time. The research provides positive contributions toward normalizing performance evaluation for public transportation and enhancing the sustainable development of bus.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 49
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 319: CRCM: A New Combined Data Gathering and Energy Charging Model for WRSN Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10080319 Authors: Yuhou Wang Ying Dong Shiyuan Li Hao Wu Mengyao Cui With the development of wireless sensor networks (WSNs), the problem about how to increase the lifecycle of the WSNs is always a hot discussion point, and some researchers have devoted to the ‘energy saving’ to decrease the energy consumption of the sensor nodes by different algorithms. However, the fundamental technique is ‘energy acquiring’ for the battery which can solve the limited capacity problem. In this paper, we study the data gathering and energy charging by a mobile charger (MC) at the same time that most energy consumption can be saved by short communication distance. We have named this as the recharging model-combined recharging and collecting data model on-demand (CRCM). Firstly, the hexagon-based (HB) algorithm is proposed to sort all sensor nodes in the region to make data collecting and energy charging work at the same time. Then we consider both residual energy and geographic position (REGP) of the sensor node to calculate the priority of each cluster. Thirdly, the dynamic mobile charger (DMC) algorithm is proposed to calculate the number of MCs to make sure no sensor node will die in each charging queue. Finally, the simulations show that our REGP algorithm is better than Earliest Deadline First (EDF) and Nearest-Job-Next with Preemption (NJNP), and the DMC plays well when the number of sensor nodes increase.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 50
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 318: Detectability Improved Tamper Detection Scheme for Absolute Moment Block Truncation Coding Compressed Images Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10080318 Authors: Wien Hong Xiaoyu Zhou Der-Chyuan Lou Xiaoqin Huang Cancan Peng Since digital media is gaining popularity nowadays, people are more concerned about its integrity protection and authentication since tampered media may result in unexpected problems. Considering a better media protection technique, this paper proposes an efficient tamper detection scheme for absolute moment block truncation coding (AMBTC) compressed images. In AMBTC, each image block is represented by two quantization levels (QLs) and a bitmap. Requiring insignificant computation cost, it attracts not only a wide range of application developers, but also a variety of studies to investigate the authentication of its codes. While the existing methods protect the AMBTC codes to a large extent, the leakage of some unprotected codes may be insensitive to intentional tampering. The proposed method fully protects the AMBTC codes by embedding authentication codes (ACs) into QLs. Meanwhile, the most significant bits of QLs are symmetrically perturbed to generate the candidates of ACs. The ACs that cause the minimum distortion are embedded into the least significant bits of QLs to minimize the distortion. When compared with prior works, the experimental results reveal that the proposed method offers a significant sensitivity-of-tamper property while providing a comparable image quality.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 51
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2715: Evaluating the Link between Low Carbon Reductions Strategies and Its Performance in the Context of Climate Change: A Carbon Footprint of a Wood-Frame Residential Building in Quebec, Canada Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082715 Authors: Alejandro Padilla-Rivera Ben Amor Pierre Blanchet The design and study of low carbon buildings is a major concern in a modern economy due to high carbon emissions produced by buildings and its effects on climate change. Studies have investigated (CFP) Carbon Footprint of buildings, but there remains a need for a strong analysis that measure and quantify the overall degree of GHG emissions reductions and its relationship with the effect on climate change mitigation. This study evaluates the potential of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the building sector by evaluating the (CFP) of four hotpots approaches defined in line with commonly carbon reduction strategies, also known as mitigation strategies. CFP framework is applied to compare the (CC) climate change impact of mitigation strategies. A multi-story timber residential construction in Quebec City (Canada) was chosen as a baseline scenario. This building has been designed with the idea of being a reference of sustainable development application in the building sector. In this scenario, the production of materials and construction (assembly, waste management and transportation) were evaluated. A CFP that covers eight actions divided in four low carbon strategies, including: low carbon materials, material minimization, reuse and recycle materials and adoption of local sources and use of biofuels were evaluated. The results of this study shows that the used of prefabricated technique in buildings is an alternative to reduce the CFP of buildings in the context of Quebec. The CC decreases per m2 floor area in baseline scenario is up to 25% than current buildings. If the benefits of low carbon strategies are included, the timber structures can generate 38% lower CC than the original baseline scenario. The investigation recommends that CO2eq emissions reduction in the design and implementation of residential constructions as climate change mitigation is perfectly feasible by following different working strategies. It is concluded that if the four strategies were implemented in current buildings they would have environmental benefits by reducing its CFP. The reuse wood wastes into production of particleboard has the greatest environmental benefit due to temporary carbon storage.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 52
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-03
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1021: Combination of Measurement Methods for a Wide-Range Description of Hydraulic Soil Properties Water doi: 10.3390/w10081021 Authors: Thomas Weninger Gernot Bodner Janis Kreiselmeier Parvathy Chandrasekhar Stefan Julich Karl-Heinz Feger Kai Schwärzel Andreas Schwen Established measurement methods for hydraulic soil properties cover a limited soil moisture range. Simulations of soil water dynamics based on such observations are therefore rarely representative for all conditions from saturation to drought. Recent technical developments facilitate efficient and cheap collecting of soil water characteristics data, but the quantitative benefit of extended measurement campaigns has not been adequately tested yet. In this study, a combination of four methods to measure water retention and hydraulic conductivity at different moisture ranges was applied. Evaporation method, dewpoint psychrometry, hood infiltrometer experiments, and falling head method for saturated conductivity were conducted at two experimental sites in eastern Austria. Effects of including the particular methods in the measurement strategy were examined by visual evaluation and a 1D-modelling sensitivity study including drainage, infiltration and drought conditions. The evaporation method was considered essential due to its broad measurement range both for water retention and hydraulic conductivity. In addition to that, the highest effect on simulated water balance components was induced by the inclusion of separate conductivity measurements near saturation. Water content after three days of drainage was 15 percent higher and the transpiration rate in a drought period was 22 percent higher without near-saturated conductivity measurements. Based on relative comparisons between different combinations, we suggested combining evaporation method and hood infiltrometer experiments as the basis for representative predictions of soil water dynamics.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 53
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1227: Towards Global-Scale Seagrass Mapping and Monitoring Using Sentinel-2 on Google Earth Engine: The Case Study of the Aegean and Ionian Seas Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10081227 Authors: Dimosthenis Traganos Bharat Aggarwal Dimitris Poursanidis Konstantinos Topouzelis Nektarios Chrysoulakis Peter Reinartz Seagrasses are traversing the epoch of intense anthropogenic impacts that significantly decrease their coverage and invaluable ecosystem services, necessitating accurate and adaptable, global-scale mapping and monitoring solutions. Here, we combine the cloud computing power of Google Earth Engine with the freely available Copernicus Sentinel-2 multispectral image archive, image composition, and machine learning approaches to develop a methodological workflow for large-scale, high spatiotemporal mapping and monitoring of seagrass habitats. The present workflow can be easily tuned to space, time and data input; here, we show its potential, mapping 2510.1 km2 of P. oceanica seagrasses in an area of 40,951 km2 between 0 and 40 m of depth in the Aegean and Ionian Seas (Greek territorial waters) after applying support vector machines to a composite of 1045 Sentinel-2 tiles at 10-m resolution. The overall accuracy of P. oceanica seagrass habitats features an overall accuracy of 72% following validation by an independent field data set to reduce bias. We envision that the introduced flexible, time- and cost-efficient cloud-based chain will provide the crucial seasonal to interannual baseline mapping and monitoring of seagrass ecosystems in global scale, resolving gain and loss trends and assisting coastal conservation, management planning, and ultimately climate change mitigation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 54
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2562: A Real-Time Imaging Algorithm Based on Sub-Aperture CS-Dechirp for GF3-SAR Data Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082562 Authors: Guang-Cai Sun Yanbin Liu Mengdao Xing Shiyu Wang Liang Guo Jun Yang Conventional synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging algorithms usually require a period of time to process data that is longer than the time it takes to record one synthetic aperture or that corresponding to an adequate azimuth resolution. That is to say, the real-time processing system is idle during the long data recording time and the utilization of computational resources is low. To deal with this problem, a real-time imaging algorithm based on sub-aperture chirp scaling dechirp (CS-dechirp) is proposed in this paper. With CS-dechirp, the sub-aperture data could be processed to form an image with relatively low resolution. Subsequently, a few low-resolution images are generated as longer azimuth data are recorded. At the stage of full-resolution image generation, a coherent combination method for the low-resolution complex-value images is developed. As the low-resolution complex-value images are coherently combined one by one, the resolution is gradually improved and the full-resolution image is finally obtained. The results of a simulation and real data from the GF3-SAR validate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 55
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2764: Terrestrial Vertebrate Biodiversity Loss under Future Global Land Use Change Scenarios Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10082764 Authors: Abhishek Chaudhary Arne O. Mooers Efficient forward-looking mitigation measures are needed to halt the global biodiversity decline. These require spatially explicit scenarios of expected changes in multiple indicators of biodiversity under future socio-economic and environmental conditions. Here, we link six future (2050 and 2100) global gridded maps (0.25° × 0.25° resolution) available from the land use harmonization (LUH) database, representing alternative concentration pathways (RCP) and shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs), with the countryside species–area relationship model to project the future land use change driven rates of species extinctions and phylogenetic diversity loss (in million years) for mammals, birds, and amphibians in each of the 804 terrestrial ecoregions and 176 countries and compare them with the current (1900–2015) and past (850–1900) rates of biodiversity loss. Future land-use changes are projected to commit an additional 209–818 endemic species and 1190–4402 million years of evolutionary history to extinction by 2100 depending upon the scenario. These estimates are driven by land use change only and would likely be higher once the direct effects of climate change on species are included. Among the three taxa, highest diversity loss is projected for amphibians. We found that the most aggressive climate mitigation scenario (RCP2.6 SSP-1), representing a world shifting towards a radically more sustainable path, including increasing crop yields, reduced meat production, and reduced tropical deforestation coupled with high trade, projects the lowest land use change driven global biodiversity loss. The results show that hotspots of future biodiversity loss differ depending upon the scenario, taxon, and metric considered. Future extinctions could potentially be reduced if habitat preservation is incorporated into national development plans, especially for biodiverse, low-income countries such as Indonesia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Philippines, and The Democratic Republic of Congo that are otherwise projected to suffer a high number of land use change driven extinctions under all scenarios.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 56
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1038: Simple and Low-Cost Procedure for Monthly and Yearly Streamflow Forecasts during the Current Hydrological Year Water doi: 10.3390/w10081038 Authors: Fernando Delgado-Ramos Carmen Hervás-Gámez Accurately forecasting streamflow values is essential to achieve an efficient, integrated water resources management strategy and to provide consistent support to water decision-makers. We present a simple, low-cost, and robust approach for forecasting monthly and yearly streamflows during the current hydrological year, which is applicable to headwater catchments. The procedure innovatively combines the use of well-known regression analysis techniques, the two-parameter Gamma continuous cumulative probability distribution function and the Monte Carlo method. Several model performance statistics metrics (including the Coefficient of Determination R2; the Root-Mean-Square Error RMSE; the Mean Absolute Error MAE; the Index of Agreement IOA; the Mean Absolute Percent Error MAPE; the Coefficient of Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency NSE; and the Inclusion Coefficient IC) were used and the results showed good levels of accuracy (improving as the number of observed months increases). The model forecast outputs are the mean monthly and yearly streamflows along with the 10th and 90th percentiles. The methodology has been successfully applied to two headwater reservoirs within the Guadalquivir River Basin in southern Spain, achieving an accuracy of 92% and 80% in March 2017. These risk-based predictions are of great value, especially before the intensive irrigation campaign starts in the middle of the hydrological year, when Water Authorities have to ensure that the right decision is made on how to best allocate the available water volume between the different water users and environmental needs.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 57
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2152: InSAR Baseline Estimation for Gaofen-3 Real-Time DEM Generation Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072152 Authors: Huan Lu Zhiyong Suo Zhenfang Li Jinwei Xie Jiwei Zhao Qingjun Zhang For Interferometry Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), the normal baseline is one of the main factors that affects the accuracy of the ground elevation. For Gaofen-3 (GF-3) InSAR processing, the poor accuracy of the real-time orbit determination results in a large baseline error, leads to a modulation error in azimuth and a slope error in the range for timely Digital Elevation Model (DEM) generation. In order to address this problem, a novel baseline estimation approach based on Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM is proposed in this paper. Firstly, the orbit fitting is executed to remove the non-linear error factor, which is different from traditional methods. Secondly, the height errors are obtained in a slant-range plane between SRTM DEM and the GF-3 generated DEM, which can be used to estimate the baseline error with a linear variation. Then, the real-time orbit can be calibrated by the baseline error. Finally, the DEM generation is performed by using the modified baseline and orbit. This approach has the merit of spatial and precise orbital free ability. Based on the results of GF-3 interferometric SAR data for Hebei, the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm is verified and the accuracy of GF-3 real-time DEM products can be improved extensively.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 58
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2153: Multiple Fusion Based on the CCD and MEMS Accelerometer for the Low-Cost Multi-Loop Optoelectronic System Control Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072153 Authors: Yong Luo Yao Mao Wei Ren Yongmei Huang Chao Deng Xi Zhou In the charge-coupled device (CCD) and micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) accelerometer based low-cost multi-loop optoelectronic control system (OCS), due to accelerometers’ drift and noise in low frequency, the disturbance suppression (DS) is insufficient. Previously, based on the acceleration and position dual-loop control (ADLC), researchers combined a disturbance observer (DOB) with a virtual velocity loop to make some medium-frequency DS exchange for low-frequency performance. However, it is not optimal because the classic DOB based on accelerometers’ inaccurate signals cannot observe accurate disturbance in low frequency and the velocity based on a CCD and accelerometer time-domain fusion carried the CCD’s delay, resulting in the drop of medium-frequency DS. In this paper, considering the CCD’s advantage in low frequency and the accelerometer’s strength in high frequency, we propose to fuse their signals twice with a modified complementary filter method to respectively acquire an acceleration and velocity. The new acceleration with no drift and less noise but lower bandwidth creates a new acceleration model and is only used in fusion DOB (FDOB), while the velocity with little delay is to build an additional velocity loop. Compared with the traditional DOB enhanced by the time-domain fusion velocity loop, experiments verify that the proposed multiple fusion would apparently enhance the system’s DS, especially in low and medium frequency.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2149: Acoustic Parametric Signal Generation for Underwater Communication Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072149 Authors: María Campo-Valera Miguel Ardid Dídac D. Tortosa Ivan Felis Juan A. Martínez-Mora Carlos D. Llorens Pablo Cervantes This paper presents a study of different types of parametric signals with application to underwater acoustic communications. In all the signals, the carrier frequency is 200 kHz, which corresponds to the resonance frequency of the transducer under study and different modulations are presented and compared. In this sense, we study modulations with parametric sine sweeps (4 to 40 kHz) that represent binary codes (zeros and ones), getting closer to the application in acoustic communications. The different properties of the transmitting signals in terms of bit rate reconstruction, directivity, efficiency, and power needed are discussed as well.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 60
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2148: Millimeter Wave High Resolution Radar Accuracy in Fog Conditions—Theory and Experimental Verification Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072148 Authors: Yosef Golovachev Ariel Etinger Gad A. Pinhasi Yosef Pinhasi Attenuation and group delay effects on millimeter wave (MMW) propagation in clouds and fog are studied theoretically and verified experimentally using high resolution radar in an indoor space filled with artificial fog. In the theoretical analysis, the frequency-dependent attenuation and group delay were derived via the permittivity of the medium. The results are applied to modify the millimeter-wave propagation model (MPM) and employed to study the effect of fog and cloud on the accuracy of the Frequency-Modulated Continuous-Wave (FMCW) radar operating in millimeter wavelengths. Artificial fog was generated in the experimental study to demonstrate ultra-low visibility in a confined space. The resulted attenuation and group delay were measured using FMCW radar operating at 320–330 GHz. It was found that apart from the attenuation, the incremental group delay caused by the fog also played a role in the accuracy of the radar. The results were compared to the analytical model. It was shown that although the artificial fog has slight different characteristics compare to the natural fog and clouds, in particle composition, size, and density, the model predictions were good, pointing out that the dispersive effects should be considered in the design of remote sensing radars operating in millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 61
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2318: Integrated Approaches for Business Sustainability: The Perspective of Corporate Social Responsibility Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072318 Authors: Yu-Muo Lee Jin-Li Hu Although many companies are aware of the importance of sustainability and CSR, they still focus on profits without considering sustainable development. This study explores the relationships among corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate reputation (CR) and corporate financial performance (CFP), by testing the mediating effect of CFP and constructing an integrated sustainability model based on the CSR perspective and stakeholder theory. Although many recent studies have investigated CSR using structural equation modeling to test the relationships among the three variables, measuring this mediation effect is quite rare in the literature. We use Reputation Institute as a secondary data source of CSR and CR and collect data for the period 2011–2017 on 39 companies in 15 countries (i.e., 273 observations). Firm size, sales growth rate, interest coverage ratio, age and industry are the control variables. Our results show that CR positively affects CFP and CSR. Furthermore, we find integrated approaches for business sustainability, revealing that CFP enhances CSR and also that it has a mediating effect on the relationship between CR and CSR.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 62
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1349: Preclinical Studies of the Biosafety and Efficacy of Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells Pre-Seeded into β-TCP Scaffolds after Transplantation Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11081349 Authors: Mar Gonzálvez-García Carlos M. Martinez Victor Villanueva Ana García-Hernández Miguel Blanquer Luis Meseguer-Olmo Ricardo E. Oñate Sánchez José M. Moraleda Francisco Javier Rodríguez-Lozano Background: Cell-Based Therapies (CBT) constitute a valid procedure for increasing the quantity and quality of bone in areas with an inadequate bone volume. However, safety and efficacy should be investigated prior to clinical application. The objective of this study was to evaluate the biodistribution, safety and osteogenic capacity of bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells (hBMMSCs) pre-seeded into β-tricalcium phosphate (TCP) and implanted into NOD/SCID mice at subcutaneous and intramuscular sites. Methods: hBMMSCs were isolated, characterized and then cultured in vitro on a porous β-TCP scaffold. Cell viability and attachment were analyzed and then hBMMSCs seeded constructs were surgically placed at subcutaneous and intramuscular dorsal sites into NOD/SCID mice. Acute and subchronic toxicity, cell biodistribution and efficacy were investigated. Results: There were no deaths or adverse events in treated mice during the 48-hour observation period, and no toxic response was observed in mice. In the 12-week subchronic toxicity study, no mortalities, abnormal behavioral symptoms or clinical signs were observed in the saline control mice or the hBMMSCs/β-TCP groups. Finally, our results showed the bone-forming capacity of hBMMSCs/β-TCP since immunohistochemical expression of human osteocalcin was detected from week 7. Conclusions: These results show that transplantation of hBMMSCs/β-TCP in NOD/SCID mice are safe and effective, and might be applied to human bone diseases in future clinical trials.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 63
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1346: Design and Simulation of Production and Maintenance Management Applying the Viable System Model: The Case of an OEM Plant Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11081346 Authors: Sergio Gallego García Manuel García García Designing, changing and adapting organizations to secure viability is challenging for manufacturing companies. Researchers often fail to holistically design or transform production systems. Reasons are often the conflict of interests between production and maintenance, the temporal divergence of their activities and their organizational structure. Thus, the aim of this study is to propose a holistic approach of how production and maintenance can be designed, changed or managed. Hereby, the Viable System Model was applied. This structure can be applied to any kind of structured organization and for its management with goals to be achieved in modern society; however, focus of the research is the coordination of production and maintenance management. The goal of the developed model is to be able to react to some potential production environments by taking coordinated decisions correctly and in the right moment based on the needed information. To ensure this, standardized communication channels were defined. In conclusion, this proposed approach enables production systems to have internal mechanisms to secure viability depending on all potential environment scenarios.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 64
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 334: Water Structure, Dynamics and Ion Adsorption at the Aqueous {010} Brushite Surface Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8080334 Authors: Natalya A. Garcia Paolo Raiteri Elias Vlieg Julian D. Gale Understanding the growth processes of calcium phosphate minerals in aqueous environments has implications for both health and geology. Brushite, in particular, is a component of certain kidney stones and is used as a bone implant coating. Understanding the water–brushite interface at the molecular scale will help inform the control of its growth. Liquid-ordering and the rates of water exchange at the brushite–solution interface have been examined through the use of molecular dynamics simulation and the results compared to surface X-ray diffraction data. This comparison highlights discrepancies between the two sets of results, regardless of whether force field or first principles methods are used in the simulations, or the extent of water coverage. In order to probe other possible reasons for this difference, the free energies for the adsorption of several ions on brushite were computed. Given the exothermic nature found in some cases, it is possible that the discrepancy in the surface electron density may be caused by adsorption of excess ions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 65
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1074: Bayesian Bias Correction of Satellite Rainfall Estimates for Climate Studies Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10071074 Authors: Margaret Wambui Kimani Joost C. B. Hoedjes Zhongbo Su Advances in remote sensing have led to the use of satellite-derived rainfall products to complement the sparse rain gauge data. Although these products are globally and some regional bias corrected, they often show substantial differences relative to ground measurements attributed to local and external factors that require systematic consideration. A decreasing rain gauge network inhibits the continuous validation of these products. Our proposal to deal with this problem was to use a Bayesian approach to merge the existing historical rain gauge information to create consistent satellite rainfall data for long-term applications. Monthly bias correction was applied to Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS v2) using a corresponding gridded (0.05°) rain gauge data over East Africa for 33 years (1981–2013). The first 22 years were utilized to derive error fields which were then applied to independent CHIRPS data for 11 years for validation. Assessments of the approach’s influence on the rainfall estimates spatially and temporally were explored. Results showed a significant spatial reduction of the underestimation and overestimation of systematic errors at both monthly and yearly scales. The reduced errors increased with increased rainfall amounts, hence was less so in the relatively drier months. The overall monthly reduction of Root Mean Square Difference (RMSD) was between 4% and 60%, and the Mean Absolute Error (MAE) was between 1% and 63%, while the correlations improved by up to 21%. Yearly, the RMSD was reduced between 17% and 49%, and the MAE between 13% and 48%, while the increase in correlations was between 9% and 17%. Decreased yearly bias correction corresponded with years of high rainfall associated with El Niño. Results for the assessments of the effectiveness of the Bayesian approach showed that it was more effective in reducing systematic errors related to rainfall magnitudes, but its performance decreased in areas of sparse rain gauge network that insufficiently represented rainfall variabilities. This affected areas of deep convection, leading to minimal overestimation reductions associated with the cirrus effect. Conversely, significant corrections were during years of low rainfall from shallow convections. The approach is suitable for long-term applications where consistencies of mean errors can be assumed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 66
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1071: In Situ Observations Reveal How Spectral Reflectance Responds to Growing Season Phenology of an Open Evergreen Forest in Alaska Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10071071 Authors: Hideki Kobayashi Shin Nagai Yongwon Kim Wei Yang Kyoko Ikeda Hiroki Ikawa Hirohiko Nagano Rikie Suzuki Plant phenology timings, such as spring green-up and autumn senescence, are essential state information characterizing biological responses and terrestrial carbon cycles. Current efforts for the in situ reflectance measurements are not enough to obtain the exact interpretation of how seasonal spectral signature responds to phenological stages in boreal evergreen needleleaf forests. This study shows the first in situ continuous measurements of canopy scale (overstory + understory) and understory spectral reflectance and vegetation index in an open boreal forest in interior Alaska. Two visible and near infrared spectroradiometer systems were installed at the top of the observation tower and the forest understory, and spectral reflectance measurements were performed in 10 min intervals from early spring to late autumn. We found that canopy scale normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) varied with the solar zenith angle. On the other hand, NDVI of understory plants was less sensitive to the solar zenith angle. Due to the influence of the solar geometry, the annual maximum canopy NDVI observed in the morning satellite overpass time (10–11 am) shifted to the spring direction compared with the standardized NDVI by the fixed solar zenith angle range (60−70°). We also found that the in situ NDVI time-series had a month-long high NDVI plateau in autumn, which was completely out of photosynthetically active periods when compared with eddy covariance net ecosystem exchange measurements. The result suggests that the onset of an autumn high NDVI plateau is likely to be the end of the growing season. In this way, our spectral measurements can serve as baseline information for the development and validation of satellite-based phenology algorithms in the northern high latitudes.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 67
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1068: A Fast Dense Spectral–Spatial Convolution Network Framework for Hyperspectral Images Classification Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10071068 Authors: Wenju Wang Shuguang Dou Zhongmin Jiang Liujie Sun Recent research shows that deep-learning-derived methods based on a deep convolutional neural network have high accuracy when applied to hyperspectral image (HSI) classification, but long training times. To reduce the training time and improve accuracy, in this paper we propose an end-to-end fast dense spectral–spatial convolution (FDSSC) framework for HSI classification. The FDSSC framework uses different convolutional kernel sizes to extract spectral and spatial features separately, and the “valid” convolution method to reduce the high dimensions. Densely-connected structures—the input of each convolution consisting of the output of all previous convolution layers—was used for deep learning of features, leading to extremely accurate classification. To increase speed and prevent overfitting, the FDSSC framework uses a dynamic learning rate, parametric rectified linear units, batch normalization, and dropout layers. These attributes enable the FDSSC framework to achieve accuracy within as few as 80 epochs. The experimental results show that with the Indian Pines, Kennedy Space Center, and University of Pavia datasets, the proposed FDSSC framework achieved state-of-the-art performance compared with existing deep-learning-based methods while significantly reducing the training time.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 68
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1065: An Improved Seeded Region Growing-Based Seamline Network Generation Method Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10071065 Authors: Jun Pan Zhonghao Fang Shengtong Chen Huan Ge Fen Hu Mi Wang To generate an orthoimage product, mosaicking is a necessary process, and seam-based mosaicking of orthoimages is popular. However, many of these methods only focus on the generation of seamlines between two adjacent orthoimages, so the final generated mosaicking image depends on the order of compositing. To address this shortcoming, this paper presents an initial seamline network generation method based on improved seeded region growing. The basis of this method is the use of raster data rather than vector calculation, which is used with the area Voronoi diagrams with overlap (AVDO)-based method. First, the effective area of each image and overlap regions between adjacent images are determined. Then, the improved seeded region growing algorithm obtains the seamlines of each overlap region. The main improvement is that the boundary lines of overlap regions, rather than individual points, are chosen as seeds of the seeded region growing algorithm. These seeds grow simultaneously until growing regions overlap. The generated separatrix of growing regions is regarded as the seamline in the overlap region. At the same time, the cut result of the image’s effective area is obtained. After that, these generated cut images are intersected to generate the effective mosaic polygon (EMP) of the image. Finally, all generated EMPs are vectorized to form the initial seamline network. In this way, the proposed method can process any kind of overlap region, and the final generated seamline network has no relation to the order of the image compositing. The experimental results demonstrate that the presented method is feasible and can achieve higher accuracy than the previous AVDO-based method.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 69
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2167: The Accuracy of the Detection of Body Postures and Movements Using a Physical Activity Monitor in People after a Stroke Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072167 Authors: Malou H. J. Fanchamps Herwin L. D. Horemans Gerard M. Ribbers Henk J. Stam Johannes B. J. Bussmann Background: In stroke rehabilitation not only are the levels of physical activity important, but body postures and movements performed during one’s daily-life are also important. This information is provided by a new one-sensor accelerometer that is commercially available, low-cost, and user-friendly. The present study examines the accuracy of this activity monitor (Activ8) in detecting several classes of body postures and movements in people after a stroke. Methods: Twenty-five people after a stroke participated in an activity protocol with either basic activities or daily-life activities performed in a laboratory and/or at home. Participants wore an Activ8 on their less-affected thigh. The primary outcome was the difference in registered time for the merged class “upright position” (standing/walking/running) between the Activ8 and the video recording (the reference method). Secondary analyses focused on classes other than “upright position”. Results: The Activ8 underestimated the merged class “upright position” by 3.8% (775 s). The secondary analyses showed an overestimation of “lying/sitting” (4.5% (569 s)) and of “cycling” (6.5% (206 s)). The differences were lowest for basic activities in the laboratory and highest for daily-life activities at home. Conclusions: The Activ8 is sufficiently accurate in detecting different classes of body postures and movements of people after a stroke during basic activities and daily-life activities in a laboratory and/or at home.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2164: Targeting FRET-Based Reporters for cAMP and PKA Activity Using AKAP79 Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072164 Authors: Nshunge Musheshe Miguel J. Lobo Martina Schmidt Manuela Zaccolo Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based sensors for 3′–5′cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and protein kinase A (PKA) allow real-time imaging of cAMP levels and kinase activity in intact cells with high spatiotemporal resolution. The development of FRET-based sensors has made it possible to directly demonstrate that cAMP and PKA signals are compartmentalized. These sensors are currently widely used to dissect the organization and physiological function of local cAMP/PKA signaling events in a variety of cell systems. Fusion to targeting domains has been used to direct the sensors to a specific subcellular nanodomain and to monitor cAMP and PKA activity at specific subcellular sites. Here, we investigate the effects of using the A-kinase anchoring protein 79 (AKAP79) as a targeting domain for cAMP and PKA FRET-based reporters. As AKAP79 interacts with PKA itself, when used as a targeting domain, it can potentially impact on the amplitude and kinetics of the signals recorded locally. By using as the targeting domain wild type AKAP79 or a mutant that cannot interact with PKA, we establish that AKAP79 does not affect the amplitude and kinetics of cAMP changes or the level of PKA activity detected by the sensor.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 71
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2161: In-Line Inspection Tool with Eddy Current Instrumentation for Fatigue Crack Detection Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18072161 Authors: Cesar Camerini João Marcos Alcoforado Rebello Lucas Braga Rafael Santos Tomasz Chady Grzegorz Psuj Gabriela Pereira Eddy current transducer with sensing coils placed orthogonally and connected in differential mode was introduced to evaluate fatigue cracks in clad pipeline circumferential welds. A dedicated embedded electronic hardware was developed to drive the transducer and measure the electrical complex impedance of the coils, and was specifically designed for operation under autonomous in-line inspection tool. In the laboratory experiments, an automated inspection was performed with the goal to evaluate transducer’s detectability, and different scanning speed was tested to reproduce in service situation. The results have confirmed that the introduced eddy current transducer is a potential solution for fatigue crack detection in clad circumferential weld root, while the hardware developed presented a reasonable SNR reaching the data rate required to be incorporated in an autonomous in-line inspection tool.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 72
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2339: Trust Repair after Opportunistic Behaviors in the Chinese Construction Projects Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072339 Authors: Xiaodan Zheng Shuibo Zhang Conghan Wang Developing the trust of contractors is important for subcontractors since the trust can help subcontractors obtain a sound reputation and more chances of subcontracting. Nonetheless, the trust can be broken by opportunistic behaviors. Thus, subcontractors should utilize effective trust repair strategies to repair trust after it is violated, so as to maintain the role of trust. As a result, this study compares denial, apology, and penance as strategies for trust repair, after subcontractors demonstrate opportunistic behaviors to violate contractors’ trust in construction projects. And this study also discusses the effect of the frequency of opportunistic behaviors on the three trust repair strategies in construction projects. Scenario-based experiments are utilized as a research methodology. According to the experimental results, when a subcontractor demonstrates a single opportunistic behavior to break a contractor’s trust, the most effective strategy to repair trust is penance. The least effective strategy is denial. However, when a subcontractor has repeated opportunistic behaviors to break contractor’s trust, denial, apology, or penance has only a very limited effectiveness in trust repair. In addition, the effectiveness of the three trust repair strategies does not have significant differences. This study benefits the development of a trust repair theory applicable to construction projects. Moreover, this study offers information to assist subcontractors in utilizing the most efficient strategy to repair the trust that has been violated by opportunistic behaviors in Chinese subcontractors.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 73
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2336: Conceptualizing the Sharing Economy through Presenting a Comprehensive Framework Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072336 Authors: Meisam Ranjbari Gustavo Morales-Alonso Ruth Carrasco-Gallego In recent years, through the advances in technology and highlighting the sustainability concepts in different aspects of human lives, the sharing economy has become an interesting topic for researchers, and also, many businesses claim to be active in this environment. However, a comprehensive definition, which is generally accepted, does not yet exist in the literature. In this paper, through a systematic literature review, analysis, and coding, a comprehensive definition, and also, an inclusive framework is presented for the sharing economy. This can help scientists and businesses to clarify which companies or parts of their activities fall into the SE category, and which do not. Such clarification in a small scale is done for five companies at the end of the paper.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 74
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2334: Efficiency and Sustainability in Teamwork: The Role of Entry Costs Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072334 Authors: Carlos E. Jijena Michel Javier Perote José D. Vicente-Lorente This research studies how incentives to cooperation and sustainability through up-front pay mechanisms can impact teamwork. For this purpose, we carry out certain laboratory experiments on the two-player Minimum Effort Game. First, we compare two treatments: one with “free play teams”, against teams forced to make a non-refundable up-front payment that covers the total output in case of maximum contribution, which we call “optimal entry cost teams”. In the second comparison, experimental results are focused on different amounts in the up-front pay in order to test the theoretical prediction that higher entry costs might improve efficiency (optimal entry cost treatment vs. medium entry cost treatment). We find that the up-front pay mechanism induces higher effort levels compared to the “free play teams”, which converge to the efficient and sustainable solution. The increase in the up-front pay, however, does not seem to accelerate such a convergence. These findings provide evidence for a new mechanism to encourage efficiency and sustainability in firms.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 75
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2330: Carbon Emission Intensity, Economic Development and Energy Factors in 19 G20 Countries: Empirical Analysis Based on a Heterogeneous Panel from 1990 to 2015 Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072330 Authors: Hongze Li Fengyun Li Di Shi Xinhua Yu Jianfei Shen The increasing global climate problem caused by excessive carbon emissions results in global carbon emission reduction governance becoming a top priority and requires close international coordination. Group of Twenty (G20) is gradually becoming the leading agency of global carbon emission reduction governance, but the unbalanced development among G20 countries has hindered the full play of G20’s role. Thus, this paper aims to examine the interrelationships among economic development mode, economic development level, and energy factors including energy use efficiency and structure in 19 G20 countries over the period 1990–2015. Considering the panel heterogeneity and the endogeneity of variables, a series of heterogeneous panel analysis techniques are employed in this paper. The empirical findings suggest that for the panel, the improvement of energy use efficiency and the optimization of energy use structure can help to achieve a low-carbon development mode, implying that some international agreements such as the Copenhagen Accord and Paris Agreement on Climate Change are necessary, binding, and effective. However, for individuals, energy factors and development level influence development mode differently across countries, revealing that each country should formulate specific policies that are consistent with its own actual situation. Finally, this paper discusses the role that G20 can play in the global carbon emissions reduction governance, which provides a reference for global low-carbon and sustainable development.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 76
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    Publication Date: 2018-07-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2327: Extracting Shipping Route Patterns by Trajectory Clustering Model Based on Automatic Identification System Data Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072327 Authors: Pan Sheng Jingbo Yin Shipping route analysis is essential for vessel traffic management and relies on professional technical facilities for collecting and recording specific information about vessel behaviors. The recent Automatic Identification System (AIS) onboard has been made available to provide ship-related information for the research. However, the complexity and large quantity of AIS data overload traditional surveillance operations and increase the difficulty of vessel traffic analysis. An unsupervised approach is urgently desired to effectively convert the raw AIS data to regular shipping route patterns. In this paper, we proposed a trajectory clustering model based on AIS data to analyze the shipping routes. The whole model consists of four parts: Data preprocessing, structure similarity measurement, clustering, and representative trajectory extraction. Our model comprehensively considered the geospatial information and contextual features of ship trajectory. The revised density-based clustering algorithm could automatically classify different shipping routes with trajectory features without prior knowledge. The experimental evaluation showed the effectiveness of the proposed model by real AIS data from Port of Tianjin. The results contribute to the further understanding of shipping route patterns and assists maritime authorities and the officers in stable and sustainable vessel traffic management.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2549: Accurate Indoor Localization Based on CSI and Visibility Graph Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082549 Authors: Zhefu Wu Lei Jiang Zhuangzhuang Jiang Bin Chen Kai Liu Qi Xuan Yun Xiang Passive indoor localization techniques can have many important applications. They are nonintrusive and do not require users carrying measuring devices. Therefore, indoor localization techniques are widely used in many critical areas, such as security, logistics, healthcare, etc. However, because of the unpredictable indoor environment dynamics, the existing nonintrusive indoor localization techniques can be quite inaccurate, which greatly limits their real-world applications. To address those problems, in this work, we develop a channel state information (CSI) based indoor localization technique. Unlike the existing methods, we employ both the intra-subcarrier statistics features and the inter-subcarrier network features. Specifically, we make the following contributions: (1) we design a novel passive indoor localization algorithm which combines the statistics and network features; (2) we modify the visibility graph (VG) technique to build complex networks for the indoor localization applications; and (3) we demonstrate the effectiveness of our technique using real-world deployments. The experimental results show that our technique can achieve about 96% accuracy on average and is more than 9% better than the state-of-the-art techniques.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 78
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2546: Scoping Review of Systems to Train Psychomotor Skills in Hearing Impaired Children Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082546 Authors: Victor M. Peñeñory Cristina Manresa-Yee Inmaculada Riquelme Cesar A. Collazos Habib M. Fardoun Objectives: The aim of this work is to provide a scoping review to compile and classify the systems helping train and enhance psychomotor skills in hearing impaired (HI) children. Methods: Based on an exhaustive review on psychomotor deficits in HI children, the procedure used to carry out a scoping review was: select keywords and identify synonyms, select databases and prepare the queries using keywords, analyze the quality of the works found using the PEDro Scale, classify the works based on psychomotor competences, analyze the interactive systems (e.g., sensors), and the achieved results. Results: Thirteen works were found. These works used a variety of sensors and input devices such as cameras, contact sensors, touch screens, mouse and keyboard, tangible objects, haptic and virtual reality (VR) devices. Conclusions: From the research it was possible to contextualize the deficits and psychomotor problems of HI children that prevent their normal development. Additionally, from the analysis of different proposals of interactive systems addressed to this population, it was possible to establish the current state of the use of different technologies and how they contribute to psychomotor rehabilitation.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 79
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2543: Line and V-Shape Formation Based Distributed Processing for Robotic Swarms Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082543 Authors: Jian Yang Xin Wang Peter Bauer Efficient distributed processing is vital for collaborative searching tasks of robotic swarm systems. Typically, those systems are decentralized, and the members have only limited communication and processing capacities. What is illustrated in this paper is a distributed processing paradigm for robotic swarms moving in a line or v-shape formation. The introduced concept is capable of exploits the line and v-shape formations for 2-D filtering and processing algorithms based on a modified multi-dimensional Roesser model. The communication is only between nearest adjacent members with a simple state variable. As an example, we applied a salient region detection algorithm to the proposed framework. The simulation results indicate the designed paradigm can detect salient regions by using a moving line or v-shape formation in a scanning way. The requirement of communication and processing capability in this framework is minimal, making it a good candidate for collaborative exploration of formatted robotic swarms.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 80
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2540: Optimal Time Assignment Policy for Maximizing Throughput in Cognitive Sensor Network with Energy Harvesting Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082540 Authors: Hao Wu Yong Chen A cognitive sensor network with energy harvesting (EH-CSN) is a promising paradigm to address the issues both in spectrum efficiency and in energy efficiency. The cognitive sensors (CSs) equipped with energy harvesting devices are assumed to operate in a harvesting-sensing-transmission mode and permitted to access the idle licensed frequency bands without causing any harmful jamming to the primary user. By identifying the time fractions of harvesting, sensing, and transmission, we can discuss some design considerations for the EH-CSN. In the meantime, considering the possibility that the primary user may reoccupy the idle channel during the CS’s data transmission duration, we formulate an optimization problem to maximize the average throughput of EH-CSN under a collision constraint and an energy constraint. After deriving the lower and upper bounds of the time fraction for energy harvesting, the uniqueness and existence of the optimal time fraction set have been proved. Finally, our theoretical analysis is also verified through numerical simulations.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 81
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-04
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2537: An Electrochemiluminescence Sensor Based on Nafion/Magnetic Fe3O4 Nanocrystals Modified Electrode for the Determination of Bisphenol A in Environmental Water Samples Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18082537 Authors: Jiye Chai Xinru Yu Jian Zhao Aili Sun Xizhi Shi Dexiang Li The well-dispersive and superparamagnetic Fe3O4-nanocrystals (Fe3O4-NCs) which could significantly enhance the anodic electrochemiluminescence (ECL) behavior of luminol, were synthesized in this study. Compared to ZnS, ZnSe, CdS and CdTe nanoparticles, the strongest anodic ECL signals were obtained at +1.6 V on the Fe3O4-NCs coated glassy carbon electrode. The ECL spectra revealed that the strong ECL resonance energy transfer occurred between luminol and Fe3O4-NCs. Furthermore, under the optimized ECL experimental conditions, such as the amount of Fe3O4-NCs, the concentration of luminol and the pH of supporting electrolyte, BPA exhibited a stronger distinct ECL quenching effect than its structural analogs and a highly selective and sensitive ECL sensor for the determination of bisphenol A (BPA) was developed based on the Fe3O4-NCs. A good linear relationship was found between the ECL intensity and the increased BPA concentration within 0.01–5.0 mg/L, with a correlation coefficient of 0.9972. The detection limit was 0.66 × 10−3 mg/L. Good recoveries between 96.0% and 105.0% with a relative standard deviation of less than 4.8% were obtained in real water samples. The proposed ECL sensor can be successfully employed to BPA detection in environmental aqueous samples.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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