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Inventions, Volume 2, Issue 3 (September 2017)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Inventions 2017 Best Paper Award
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 20; doi:10.3390/inventions2030020
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 23 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
Inventions is instituting an annual award to recognize the outstanding papers published in the journal.[...] Full article
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle A Finger Exoskeleton Robot for Finger Movement Rehabilitation
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 12; doi:10.3390/inventions2030012
Received: 23 April 2017 / Revised: 24 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 1 July 2017
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Abstract
In this study, a finger exoskeleton robot has been designed and presented. The prototype device was designed to be worn on the dorsal side of the hand to assist in the movement and rehabilitation of the fingers. The finger exoskeleton is 3D-printed to
[...] Read more.
In this study, a finger exoskeleton robot has been designed and presented. The prototype device was designed to be worn on the dorsal side of the hand to assist in the movement and rehabilitation of the fingers. The finger exoskeleton is 3D-printed to be low-cost and has a transmission mechanism consisting of rigid serial links which is actuated by a stepper motor. The actuation of the robotic finger is by a sliding motion and mimics the movement of the human finger. To make it possible for the patient to use the rehabilitation device anywhere and anytime, an Arduino™ control board and a speech recognition board were used to allow voice control. As the robotic finger follows the patients voice commands the actual motion is analyzed by Tracker image analysis software. The finger exoskeleton is designed to flex and extend the fingers, and has a rotation range of motion (ROM) of 44.2°. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mechanism Design for Robots)
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Open AccessArticle Modeling and Analysis of Contact Conditions during NC-Form Grinding of Cutting Edges
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 13; doi:10.3390/inventions2030013
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 28 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 5 July 2017
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Abstract
Due to increasing demands on cutting tools, cutting edge preparation is of high priority because of its influence on the tool life. Current cutting edge preparation processes are mostly limited to generating simple roundings on the cutting edge. Multi-axis high precision form grinding
[...] Read more.
Due to increasing demands on cutting tools, cutting edge preparation is of high priority because of its influence on the tool life. Current cutting edge preparation processes are mostly limited to generating simple roundings on the cutting edge. Multi-axis high precision form grinding processes offer great potential to generate defined cutting edge microgeometries. Knowledge about the relation between grinding strategy and material removal rate can achieve improved work results with regard to higher precision of shape and dimensional accuracy as well as enhanced cutting edge quality. Therefore, a kinematic-geometric model was developed in order to analyze the complex contact conditions during grinding cutting edge microgeometries by using a simulation approach based on the intersection of geometric bodies. The subsequent grinding tests largely validated the utilized simulation approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Grinding Technology and Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Cutting Speed on Subsurface Damage Morphology and Distribution in Ground Fused Silica
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 15; doi:10.3390/inventions2030015
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 10 August 2017
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Abstract
In optical fabrication, brittle-hard materials are used for numerous applications. Especially for high-performance optics for laser or lithography applications, a complex and consistent production chain is necessary to account for the material properties. Particularly in pre-processing, e.g., for shaping optical components, brittle material
[...] Read more.
In optical fabrication, brittle-hard materials are used for numerous applications. Especially for high-performance optics for laser or lithography applications, a complex and consistent production chain is necessary to account for the material properties. Particularly in pre-processing, e.g., for shaping optical components, brittle material behavior is dominant which leads to a rough surface layer with cracks that reach far below the surface. This so called subsurface damage (SSD) needs to be removed in subsequent processes like polishing. Therefore, it is essential to know the extent of the SSD induced by shaping for an efficient design of precise corrective processes and for process improvement. Within this work the influence of cutting speed on SSD, in fused silica, induced by grinding has been investigated. To analyze the subsurface crack distribution and the maximum crack depth magnetorheological finishing has been appointed to polish a wedge into the ground surface. The depth profile of SSD was analyzed by image processing. For this purpose a coherent area of the polished wedge has been recorded by stitching microscopy. Taking the form deviation of the ground surface in to account to determine the actual depth beneath surface, the accuracy of the SSD-evaluation could be improved significantly. The experiments reveal a clear influence of the cutting speed on SSD, higher cutting speeds generate less SSD. Besides the influence on the maximum crack depth an influence on the crack length itself could be verified. Based on image analysis it was possible, to predict the maximum depth of cracks by means of crack length. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Grinding Technology and Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Control of the Acrobot with Motors of Atypical Size Using Artificial Intelligence Techniques
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 16; doi:10.3390/inventions2030016
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 29 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 14 August 2017
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Abstract
An acrobot is a planar robot with a passive actuator in its first joint. The main purpose of this system is to make it rise from the rest position to the inverted pendulum position. This control problem can be divided in the swing-up
[...] Read more.
An acrobot is a planar robot with a passive actuator in its first joint. The main purpose of this system is to make it rise from the rest position to the inverted pendulum position. This control problem can be divided in the swing-up issue, when the robot has to rise itself by swinging up as a human acrobat does, and the balancing issue, when the robot has to maintain itself in the inverted pendulum position. We have developed three controllers for the swing-up problem applied to two types of motors: small and large. For small motors, we used the State-Action-Reward-State-Action (SARSA) controller and the proportional–derivative (PD) controller with a trajectory generator. For large motors, we propose a new controller to control the acrobot—a pulse-width modulation (PWM) controller. All controllers except SARSA are tuned using a genetic algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mechanism Design for Robots)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics and Performance of CAUTO (CAssino hUmanoid TOrso) Prototype
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 17; doi:10.3390/inventions2030017
Received: 23 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
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Abstract
An artificial torso is a fundamental part of a humanoid robot for imitating human actions. In this paper, a prototype of CAUTO (CAssino hUmanoid TOrso) is presented. Its design is characterized by artificial vertebras actuated by cable-driven parallel manipulators. The design was conceived
[...] Read more.
An artificial torso is a fundamental part of a humanoid robot for imitating human actions. In this paper, a prototype of CAUTO (CAssino hUmanoid TOrso) is presented. Its design is characterized by artificial vertebras actuated by cable-driven parallel manipulators. The design was conceived by looking at the complex system and functioning of the human torso, in order to develop a solution for basic human-like behavior. The requirements and kinematic structure are introduced to explain the peculiarities of the proposed mechanical design. A prototype is presented, and built with low-cost and high-performance features. Tests results are reported to show the feasibility and the characteristics in replicating human torso motions. In addition, the power consumption has been measured during the tests to prove the efficiency of the Li-Po battery supply, employed for a fully portable solution of the designed torso. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mechanism Design for Robots)
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Nested Reconfigurable Approach for a Glass Façade Cleaning Robot
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 18; doi:10.3390/inventions2030018
Received: 21 July 2017 / Revised: 11 August 2017 / Accepted: 11 August 2017 / Published: 17 August 2017
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Abstract
The façade cleaning of high rise buildings is one of the hazardous tasks that is performed by human operators. Even after a significant advancement in construction technologies, several newfangled skyscrapers are still using the manual method for cleaning the glass panels. This research
[...] Read more.
The façade cleaning of high rise buildings is one of the hazardous tasks that is performed by human operators. Even after a significant advancement in construction technologies, several newfangled skyscrapers are still using the manual method for cleaning the glass panels. This research is aimed at the development of a glass façade cleaning robot, capable of adapting to any kind of building architecture. A robotic system capable of cleaning vertical glass surfaces demands a transformable morphology. A self-reconfigurable robot is one of the potential solutions to realize high degrees of adaptability. Following the design principles we derived, we propose a nested reconfigurable design approach for glass façade cleaning and develope a system of robot modules that performs glass façade cleaning. Throughout this research article, we discuss the brief concept and scheme of nested reconfigurable design principle and the hardware-software challenges associated with it. This article also discusses the capability to maximize the flexibility and modularity of the robot by using intra- and inter-reconfigurations. The effectiveness of the designed system is verified by experimental means. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mechanism Design for Robots)
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Open AccessArticle Direct Photonic Fusion of Vitrified Bonding Materials
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 19; doi:10.3390/inventions2030019
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 18 August 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to show the effects of the direct fusion of raw materials used for vitrified grinding wheels by photonic interactions. The paper describes the construction of a sintering apparatus that employs a pulsed neodymium: yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG)
[...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to show the effects of the direct fusion of raw materials used for vitrified grinding wheels by photonic interactions. The paper describes the construction of a sintering apparatus that employs a pulsed neodymium: yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser to fuse a combination of raw materials such as ball clay, feldspar, and borax to form a partially-crystalline glass material. The experimental results show that lasers can replace traditional methods of glass frit formation by fusing raw materials used in the manufacture of glass bonds for vitrified grinding wheels. X-ray diffraction data shows that a glass with short range order has formed using the new method. The work described herein provides a new avenue for glass frit formation applied to grinding wheel manufacture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Grinding Technology and Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Development of a Bridge Inspection Robot Capable of Traveling on Splicing Parts
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 22; doi:10.3390/inventions2030022
Received: 21 July 2017 / Revised: 20 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 26 August 2017
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Abstract
Several infrastructures, such as bridges and tunnels, require periodic inspection and repair to prevent collapse. There is a strong demand for practical bridge inspection robots to reduce the cost and time associated with the inspection of bridges by an inspector. Bridge inspection robots
[...] Read more.
Several infrastructures, such as bridges and tunnels, require periodic inspection and repair to prevent collapse. There is a strong demand for practical bridge inspection robots to reduce the cost and time associated with the inspection of bridges by an inspector. Bridge inspection robots are expected to pass through obstacles such as bolted splice part and right-angled routes. The aim of this study involved developing a bridge inspection robot that can travel on a right-angle path as well as splicing parts. A two-wheel-drive robot was developed and equipped with two rimless wheels as driving wheels. A neodymium magnet was provided at the tip of each spoke. Non-driving wheels were attached at the rear as a rotatable caster. The robot can turn on the spot to avoid the bolt on the splicing part. Experiments were conducted to check the performance of the robot. The results confirmed that the robot passed through the internal right-angle paths in a laboratory and in an actual environment that corresponds to a box girder of a bridge. It is extremely difficult to manually control a robot on the splicing part. Therefore, a camera and an LED (light emitting diode) were attached to autonomously control the robot. The results indicate that the newly developed robot could run through the splicing part without hitting the nuts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mechanism Design for Robots)
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Open AccessArticle Analysing Renewable Energy Source Impacts on Power System National Network Code
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 23; doi:10.3390/inventions2030023
Received: 2 July 2017 / Revised: 5 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 August 2017 / Published: 31 August 2017
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Abstract
This paper analyses the impact on renewable energy sources integrated into the Romanian power system on the electrical network operation considering the reduction of electricity consumption with respect to the 1990s. This decrease has led to increased difficulties in integrating the renewable energy
[...] Read more.
This paper analyses the impact on renewable energy sources integrated into the Romanian power system on the electrical network operation considering the reduction of electricity consumption with respect to the 1990s. This decrease has led to increased difficulties in integrating the renewable energy sources into the power system (network reinforcements), as well as issues concerning the balance of production/consumption. Following the excess of certain proportions of the energy mix, intermittent renewable energy sources require the expansion of networks, storage, back-up capacities and efforts for a flexible consumption, in the absence of which renewable energy sources cannot be used or the grid can be overloaded. To highlight the difficulty of connecting some significant capacities installed in wind power plants and photovoltaic installation, the paper presents a case study for Dobrogea area that has the most installed capacity from renewable energy sources in operation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inventions and Innovation in Integration of Renewable Energy Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Nanosizing Cynomorium: Thumbs up for Potential Antifungal Applications
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 24; doi:10.3390/inventions2030024
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 23 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
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Abstract
Cynomorium coccineum L., the desert thumb, is a rather exotic, parasitic plant unable to engage in photosynthesis, yet rich in a variety of unique compounds with a wide spectrum of biological applications. Whilst extraction, separation and isolation of such compounds is time consuming,
[...] Read more.
Cynomorium coccineum L., the desert thumb, is a rather exotic, parasitic plant unable to engage in photosynthesis, yet rich in a variety of unique compounds with a wide spectrum of biological applications. Whilst extraction, separation and isolation of such compounds is time consuming, the particular properties of the plant, such as dryness, hardness and lack of chlorophyll, render it a prime target for possible nanosizing. The entire plant, the external layer (coat) as well as its peel, are readily milled and high pressure homogenized to yield small, mostly uniform spherical particles with diameters in the range of 300 to 600 nm. The best quality of particles is obtained for the processed entire plant. Based on initial screens for biological activity, it seems that these particles are particularly active against the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans, whilst no activity could be observed against the model nematode Steinernema feltiae. This activity is particularly pronounced in the case of the external layer, whilst the peeled part does not seem to inhibit growth of C. albicans. Thanks to the ease of sample preparation, the good quality of the nanosuspension obtained, and the interesting activity of this natural product, nanosized coats of Cynomorium may well provide a lead for future development and applications as “green” materials in the field of medicine, but also environmentally, for instance in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Nanocomposites for Environmental Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Design, Fabrication and Performance Evaluation of an Inter-Row Cultivator for Sugarcane Fields
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 25; doi:10.3390/inventions2030025
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 7 September 2017 / Published: 12 September 2017
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Abstract
The aims of this research were to design and fabricate an inter-row cultivator for mounting on a medium-sized tractor (25.3 or 37.3 kW) for sugarcane fields, and to assess the performance of the cultivator when harvesting is conducted either by hand or with
[...] Read more.
The aims of this research were to design and fabricate an inter-row cultivator for mounting on a medium-sized tractor (25.3 or 37.3 kW) for sugarcane fields, and to assess the performance of the cultivator when harvesting is conducted either by hand or with a sugarcane harvester. Moreover, this study was also designed to assess the performance of the cultivator in mixing sugarcane residues in the field. The inter-row cultivator has a working width of 80 cm, a rotor shaft speed of 500 rpm, and a total weight of 518 kg. The cultivator comprises 18 European C-type blades attached to three disk holder flanges arranged in a spiral formation. Two notch-cutting discs were mounted on the front to cut and press the sugarcane leaves before they were chopped and mixed by the inter-row cultivator. The working performance test was conducted for different thicknesses of trash blankets while using the inter-row cultivator mounted on 25.3 kW- and 37.3 kW-size tractors. The effective field capacity for trash incorporation of the inter-row cultivator was 0.30 ha·h−1 when trash was left through harvesting by hand. On the other hand, effective field capacity was 0.31 ha·h−1 when a sugarcane harvester was used. Moreover, the field efficiency exceeded 90% in all tested fields, with greater soil inversion. The results also showed that the fuel consumption of both tractors was higher when harvesting by hand compared with harvesting using a harvester. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Inventions and innovation in Advanced Manufacturing)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Review of Tidal Lagoon Technology and Opportunities for Integration within the UK Energy System
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 14; doi:10.3390/inventions2030014
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 13 July 2017 / Accepted: 15 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
The number of distributed resources for renewable energy installed worldwide has been increasing rapidly in the last decade, and the great majority of these installations consist of solar panels and wind turbines. Other renewable sources of energy are not exploited to the same
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The number of distributed resources for renewable energy installed worldwide has been increasing rapidly in the last decade, and the great majority of these installations consist of solar panels and wind turbines. Other renewable sources of energy are not exploited to the same level: for instance, tidal energy is still a minute portion of the global energy capacity, in spite of the large amount of potential energy stored in tidal waves, and of the successful experience of the few existing plants. The world’s second largest tidal range occurs in the UK but at the moment tidal installations in this country are limited to a few prototypes. More recently, there has been a renewed interest in harnessing tidal energy in the UK, and a few tidal lagoon projects have been evaluated by the UK government. This paper provides an overview of the historical and current developments of tidal plants, a description of operation of tidal lagoons, challenges and opportunities for their integration within the UK energy systems and solutions to improve the dispatchability of tidal energy. The concepts described in the paper are applied to a tidal project proposed for South Wales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inventions and Innovation in Integration of Renewable Energy Systems)
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Open AccessReview Effect of Load Changes on Hybrid Shipboard Power Systems and Energy Storage as a Potential Solution: A Review
Inventions 2017, 2(3), 21; doi:10.3390/inventions2030021
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 11 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
More electric technologies (METs) play an important role in meeting ever-growing demands for energy efficiency and emission reduction in the maritime transportation sector. As a result, ships with electrical power transmission are becoming popular compared to traditional mechanical power transmission based ships. Hybrid
[...] Read more.
More electric technologies (METs) play an important role in meeting ever-growing demands for energy efficiency and emission reduction in the maritime transportation sector. As a result, ships with electrical power transmission are becoming popular compared to traditional mechanical power transmission based ships. Hybrid electric propulsion is an intermediate step in this trend where both mechanical and electrical propulsion technologies are combined to get the benefits of both technologies. In this arrangement, not only the propulsion loads but also non-propulsion loads are connected to a common electrical power bus that could lead to serious power quality issues due to disturbances such as large load changes. This paper presents a comprehensive review on energy storage-based solutions that have been proposed to reduce their effects. The important aspects of existing as well as emerging energy storage control techniques and challenges in reducing transient effects in hybrid shipboard power systems with the use of energy storage are discussed in the paper. Full article
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