Open AccessArticle
Access to Information for Learning by Using Assistive Technology for Undergraduate Students with Disabilities in Northern Thailand
Information 2016, 7(4), 54; doi:10.3390/info7040054 -
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to survey access to information for learning on the types of assistive technology used by undergraduate students with disabilities in Northern Thailand. The types of assistive technology in this study included assistive devices and educational services. [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to survey access to information for learning on the types of assistive technology used by undergraduate students with disabilities in Northern Thailand. The types of assistive technology in this study included assistive devices and educational services. Data were collected from a questionnaire developed as a rating scale checklist that was completed by 140 undergraduate students with disabilities. Results of this study found that all types of educational services provided more to undergraduate students with disabilities than almost all kinds of assistive technology. Additionally, the students utilized assistive devices and accessed educational services for different reasons, and most students with visual disabilities were given either assistive devices or educational services. In terms of use, results found that students with hearing disabilities used assistive technology the most, whereas findings concerning needs showed that all of the students with disabilities demanded almost all types of assistive technology. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Efficient Software HEVC to AVS2 Transcoding
Information 2016, 7(3), 53; doi:10.3390/info7030053 -
Abstract
The second generation of Audio and Video coding Standard (AVS) is developed by the IEEE 1857 Working Group under project 1857.4 and was standardized in 2016 by the AVS Working Group of China as the new broadcasting standard AVS2. High Efficient Video [...] Read more.
The second generation of Audio and Video coding Standard (AVS) is developed by the IEEE 1857 Working Group under project 1857.4 and was standardized in 2016 by the AVS Working Group of China as the new broadcasting standard AVS2. High Efficient Video Coding (HEVC) is the newest global video coding standard announced in 2013. More and more codings are migrating from H.264/AVC to HEVC because of its higher compression performance. In this paper, we propose an efficient HEVC to AVS2 transcoding algorithm, which applies a multi-stage decoding information utilization framework to maximize the usage of the decoding information in the transcoding process. The proposed algorithm achieves 11×–17× speed gains over the AVS2 reference software RD 14.0 with a modest BD-rate loss of 9.6%–16.6%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Packet-Forwarding Algorithm in DTN Based on the Pheromone of Destination Node
Information 2016, 7(3), 51; doi:10.3390/info7030051 -
Abstract
The pheromone can be used for target tracking and, consequently, for packet forwarding to the destination node in delay-tolerant networking. In this study, an initiative community model is proposed by simulating pheromone production and diffusion, which contains all of the nodes that [...] Read more.
The pheromone can be used for target tracking and, consequently, for packet forwarding to the destination node in delay-tolerant networking. In this study, an initiative community model is proposed by simulating pheromone production and diffusion, which contains all of the nodes that can receive the core node pheromone. We can set the distance of the edge node to the core to be less than five hops by establishing the appropriate spread coefficient ω. Packet forwarding is then converted into the process of tracing the pheromone of the destination node. A set of simulation results shows that the proposed initiative community model can effectively increase the delivery ratio and reduce delay when the community structure is relatively stable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Threshold Determination for Discriminating Driving Anger Intensity Based on EEG Wavelet Features and ROC Curve Analysis
Information 2016, 7(3), 52; doi:10.3390/info7030052 -
Abstract
Driving anger, called “road rage”, has become increasingly common nowadays, affecting road safety. A few researches focused on how to identify driving anger, however, there is still a gap in driving anger grading, especially in real traffic environment, which is beneficial to [...] Read more.
Driving anger, called “road rage”, has become increasingly common nowadays, affecting road safety. A few researches focused on how to identify driving anger, however, there is still a gap in driving anger grading, especially in real traffic environment, which is beneficial to take corresponding intervening measures according to different anger intensity. This study proposes a method for discriminating driving anger states with different intensity based on Electroencephalogram (EEG) spectral features. First, thirty drivers were recruited to conduct on-road experiments on a busy route in Wuhan, China where anger could be inducted by various road events, e.g., vehicles weaving/cutting in line, jaywalking/cyclist crossing, traffic congestion and waiting red light if they want to complete the experiments ahead of basic time for extra paid. Subsequently, significance analysis was used to select relative energy spectrum of β band (β%) and relative energy spectrum of θ band (θ%) for discriminating the different driving anger states. Finally, according to receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, the optimal thresholds (best cut-off points) of β% and θ% for identifying none anger state (i.e., neutral) were determined to be 0.2183 ≤ θ% < 1, 0 < β% < 0.2586; low anger state is 0.1539 ≤ θ% < 0.2183, 0.2586 ≤ β% < 0.3269; moderate anger state is 0.1216 ≤ θ% < 0.1539, 0.3269 ≤ β% < 0.3674; high anger state is 0 < θ% < 0.1216, 0.3674 ≤ β% < 1. Moreover, the discrimination performances of verification indicate that, the overall accuracy (Acc) of the optimal thresholds of β% for discriminating the four driving anger states is 80.21%, while 75.20% for that of θ%. The results can provide theoretical foundation for developing driving anger detection or warning devices based on the relevant optimal thresholds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smart Homes and Sensors for Surveillance and Preventive Education at Home: Example of Obesity
Information 2016, 7(3), 50; doi:10.3390/info7030050 -
Abstract
(1) Background: The aim of this paper is to show that e-health tools like smart homes allow the personalization of the surveillance and preventive education of chronic patients, such as obese persons, in order to maintain a comfortable and preventive lifestyle at [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The aim of this paper is to show that e-health tools like smart homes allow the personalization of the surveillance and preventive education of chronic patients, such as obese persons, in order to maintain a comfortable and preventive lifestyle at home. (2) Technologies and methods: Several types of sensors allow coaching the patient at home, e.g., the sensors recording the activity and monitoring the physiology of the person. All of this information serves to personalize serious games dedicated to preventive education, for example in nutrition and vision. (3) Results: We built a system of personalized preventive education at home based on serious games, derived from the feedback information they provide through a monitoring system. Therefore, it is possible to define (after clustering and personalized calibration) from the at home surveillance of chronic patients different comfort zones where their behavior can be estimated as normal or abnormal and, then, to adapt both alarm levels for surveillance and education programs for prevention, the chosen example of application being obesity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Physical Layer Security in IoT: A Novel Perspective
Information 2016, 7(3), 49; doi:10.3390/info7030049 -
Abstract
This paper deals with the problem of securing the configuration phase of an Internet of Things (IoT) system. The main drawbacks of current approaches are the focus on specific techniques and methods, and the lack of a cross layer vision of the [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the problem of securing the configuration phase of an Internet of Things (IoT) system. The main drawbacks of current approaches are the focus on specific techniques and methods, and the lack of a cross layer vision of the problem. In a smart environment, each IoT device has limited resources and is often battery operated with limited capabilities (e.g., no keyboard). As a consequence, network security must be carefully analyzed in order to prevent security and privacy issues. In this paper, we will analyze the IoT threats, we will propose a security framework for the device initialization and we will show how physical layer security can effectively boost the security of IoT systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Information Content of Accounting Reports: An Information Theory Perspective
Information 2016, 7(3), 48; doi:10.3390/info7030048 -
Abstract
Is it possible to quantify the information content of accounting reports? If possible, then how? This study examines accounting as a classical communication system with the purpose of providing a framework with which to approach these fundamentally important questions. Information theory was [...] Read more.
Is it possible to quantify the information content of accounting reports? If possible, then how? This study examines accounting as a classical communication system with the purpose of providing a framework with which to approach these fundamentally important questions. Information theory was established in the early-mid 20th century to describe the properties of classical communication systems. Applying concepts from this theory to an accounting context provides insight into the questions asked above. Specifically, a measure of the information content of financial statement numbers is developed from these information theory concepts. The measure is also applied to several large companies’ earnings numbers and aids in predicting their price movements. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to the Special Issue on Evaluating the Security of Complex Systems
Information 2016, 7(3), 46; doi:10.3390/info7030046 -
Abstract
Recent security breaches show the need to secure large, distributed, complex systems. A fundamental, but little discussed aspect of security is how to evaluate when a complete system is secure. Purely formal methods cannot handle this level of complexity. Code checking does [...] Read more.
Recent security breaches show the need to secure large, distributed, complex systems. A fundamental, but little discussed aspect of security is how to evaluate when a complete system is secure. Purely formal methods cannot handle this level of complexity. Code checking does not consider the interaction of separate modules working together and is hard to scale. Model-based approaches, such as patterns and problem frames, can be effective for handling large systems. Their use in evaluating security appears promising. A few works in this direction exist, but there is a need for more ideas. This Special Issue focuses on global, model-based, architectural, and systems-oriented evaluation methods. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An mHealth Tool Suite for Mobility Assessment
Information 2016, 7(3), 47; doi:10.3390/info7030047 -
Abstract
The assessment of mobility and functional impairments in the elderly is important for early detection and prevention of fall conditions. Falls create serious threats to health by causing disabling fractures that reduce independence in the elderly. Moreover, they exert heavy economic burdens [...] Read more.
The assessment of mobility and functional impairments in the elderly is important for early detection and prevention of fall conditions. Falls create serious threats to health by causing disabling fractures that reduce independence in the elderly. Moreover, they exert heavy economic burdens on society due to high treatment costs. Modern smartphones enable the development of innovative mobile health (mHealth) applications by integrating a growing number of inertial and environmental sensors along with the ever-increasing data processing and communication capabilities. Mobility assessment is one of the promising mHealth application domains. In this paper, we introduce a suite of smartphone applications for assessing mobility in the elderly population. The suite currently includes smartphone applications that automate and quantify the following standardized medical tests for assessing mobility: Timed Up and Go (TUG), 30-Second Chair Stand Test (30SCS), and 4-Stage Balance Test (4SBT). For each application, we describe its functionality and a list of parameters extracted by processing signals from smartphone’s inertial sensors. The paper shows the results from studies conducted on geriatric patients for TUG tests and from experiments conducted in the laboratory on healthy subjects for 30SCS and 4SBT tests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Visually Lossless JPEG 2000 for Remote Image Browsing
Information 2016, 7(3), 45; doi:10.3390/info7030045 -
Abstract
Image sizes have increased exponentially in recent years. The resulting high-resolution images are often viewed via remote image browsing. Zooming and panning are desirable features in this context, which result in disparate spatial regions of an image being displayed at a variety [...] Read more.
Image sizes have increased exponentially in recent years. The resulting high-resolution images are often viewed via remote image browsing. Zooming and panning are desirable features in this context, which result in disparate spatial regions of an image being displayed at a variety of (spatial) resolutions. When an image is displayed at a reduced resolution, the quantization step sizes needed for visually lossless quality generally increase. This paper investigates the quantization step sizes needed for visually lossless display as a function of resolution, and proposes a method that effectively incorporates the resulting (multiple) quantization step sizes into a single JPEG 2000 codestream. This codestream is JPEG 2000 Part 1 compliant and allows for visually lossless decoding at all resolutions natively supported by the wavelet transform as well as arbitrary intermediate resolutions, using only a fraction of the full-resolution codestream. When images are browsed remotely using the JPEG 2000 Interactive Protocol (JPIP), the required bandwidth is significantly reduced, as demonstrated by extensive experimental results. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Hybrid In-Station Bus Dispatching Strategy Based on Mixed Integer Programming
Information 2016, 7(3), 43; doi:10.3390/info7030043 -
Abstract
The actual bus headway often deviates from the planned departure frequency because of external factors, such as traffic conditions and public transport demand, leading to transit resource waste and reducing the quality of service. In view of the existing shortcomings of the [...] Read more.
The actual bus headway often deviates from the planned departure frequency because of external factors, such as traffic conditions and public transport demand, leading to transit resource waste and reducing the quality of service. In view of the existing shortcomings of the current dispatching strategy, a mixed integer programming model, integrating a bus-holding and stop-skipping strategy, is constructed to improve transit service with a minimum cost. The real-time optimal holding and stop-skipping strategies can be obtained by solving the proposed model using the Lagrangian relaxation algorithm. A numerical example is conducted using real transit GPS (Global Position System) and IC (Intelligent Card) data in Harbin. The results show that compared to a single control strategy, the proposed hybrid model is a better trade-off between the quality of the transit service and the operation cost. Notably, such a strategy would produce a minimal passengers’ average travel time coefficient. It is a great help for promoting the transit service level and increasing competitiveness. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Beamforming and Antenna Grouping Design for the Multi-Antenna Relay with Energy Harvesting to Improve Secrecy Rate
Information 2016, 7(3), 38; doi:10.3390/info7030038 -
Abstract
The physical security strategy in the wireless network with a single-antenna eavesdropper is studied. The information transmits from a single-antenna source to a single-antenna destination, and an energy-limited multi-antenna relay is employed to forward information. The antennas of the relay are divided [...] Read more.
The physical security strategy in the wireless network with a single-antenna eavesdropper is studied. The information transmits from a single-antenna source to a single-antenna destination, and an energy-limited multi-antenna relay is employed to forward information. The antennas of the relay are divided into two groups. One group receives and forwards information, and the other converts the received signal into energy. Beamforming is used by the relay to prevent the eavesdropper from intercepting confidential information. For the purpose of maximizing the secrecy rate, antenna grouping and beamforming vectors are designed. A low complexity scheme of antenna grouping is presented. The simulation results show that the secrecy rate can be significantly improved by arranging part of the antennas for energy harvesting, and part for forwarding and optimizing the beamforming vector at the relay. The antenna grouping scheme significantly reduces the computational complexity at the cost of acceptable performance loss. Full article
Open AccessArticle
IoT Privacy and Security Challenges for Smart Home Environments
Information 2016, 7(3), 44; doi:10.3390/info7030044 -
Abstract
Often the Internet of Things (IoT) is considered as a single problem domain, with proposed solutions intended to be applied across a wide range of applications. However, the privacy and security needs of critical engineering infrastructure or sensitive commercial operations are very [...] Read more.
Often the Internet of Things (IoT) is considered as a single problem domain, with proposed solutions intended to be applied across a wide range of applications. However, the privacy and security needs of critical engineering infrastructure or sensitive commercial operations are very different to the needs of a domestic Smart Home environment. Additionally, the financial and human resources available to implement security and privacy vary greatly between application domains. In domestic environments, human issues may be as important as technical issues. After surveying existing solutions for enhancing IoT security, the paper identifies key future requirements for trusted Smart Home systems. A gateway architecture is selected as the most appropriate for resource-constrained devices, and for high system availability. Two key technologies to assist system auto-management are identified. Firstly, support for system auto-configuration will enhance system security. Secondly, the automatic update of system software and firmware is needed to maintain ongoing secure system operation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of Voltage Control at Consumers Connection Points Based on Smart Approach
Information 2016, 7(3), 42; doi:10.3390/info7030042 -
Abstract
More and more functions are performed automatically with the use of various electrical appliances and sophisticated control systems in all spheres of human life. In this regard, the demand for reliable and quality power supply is increasing. To date, low power quality, [...] Read more.
More and more functions are performed automatically with the use of various electrical appliances and sophisticated control systems in all spheres of human life. In this regard, the demand for reliable and quality power supply is increasing. To date, low power quality, in particular unacceptable voltage levels, is an important deterrent for introducing technologies of smart electricity consumers (smart homes, smart companies, smart cities). This paper presents a comprehensive solution of this problem with the use of a voltage control system in the distribution grids, which is oriented on grids with a large number of heterogeneous loads and low level of Information Technology (IT) penetration. It is proposed to be installed on distribution substation special devices that perform continuous measurements of voltage levels, produce short-term forecasts and transmit the permissible ranges of voltage control to the power supply centers. The computing unit at the primary substation analyzes the data received from all distribution substations, and determines the optimum control actions to meet the requirements of all consumers. The proposed system was compared with conventional voltage control methods. The results have proved the effectiveness of the proposed approach. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Information and Meaning
Information 2016, 7(3), 41; doi:10.3390/info7030041 -
Abstract
This paper considers the relationship between information and meaning through an analysis of a set of measures of information. Since meaning is expressed using information the analysis of the measures illuminates the relationship. The conventions that govern the production and exchange of [...] Read more.
This paper considers the relationship between information and meaning through an analysis of a set of measures of information. Since meaning is expressed using information the analysis of the measures illuminates the relationship. The conventions that govern the production and exchange of information are the outcome of selection processes, so the quality of information (as expressed in the measures) is subject to limitations caused by selection. These limitations are analysed using a technique called viewpoint analysis that enables the measures and their relationship with meaning to be examined. Viewpoint analysis is applied to several logical paradoxes and resolves them in a manner consistent with common sense. Finally, the approach is used to address Floridi’s questions about the philosophy of information associated with meaning. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Lateral Cross Localization Algorithm Using Orientation Angle for Improved Target Estimation in Near-Field Environments
Information 2016, 7(3), 40; doi:10.3390/info7030040 -
Abstract
Passive positioning systems with a small aperture array exhibit poor accuracy of target estimation under strong interference in near-field environments. To improve this accuracy, we propose a novel cross localization algorithm for direction-finding using the orientation angle. Improved geometric and numerical target-positioning [...] Read more.
Passive positioning systems with a small aperture array exhibit poor accuracy of target estimation under strong interference in near-field environments. To improve this accuracy, we propose a novel cross localization algorithm for direction-finding using the orientation angle. Improved geometric and numerical target-positioning models are constructed after analyzing the mechanism of the conventional positioning algorithm. The target prediction equation is then derived using the constructed models, and the equation for nonlinear estimation is linearized using the Taylor series. An unbiased estimation of the target is obtained by optimizing the control of the iteration process, thus achieving an accurate positioning of the target. The performance of the proposed algorithm was evaluated in terms of its effectiveness and positioning accuracy under varying signal-to-noise conditions and orientation angle-measurement errors. Simulation results show that the proposed algorithm is capable of positioning the target effectively, and offers better positioning accuracy than traditional algorithms under the conditions of large orientation angle measurement errors or high-level background noise. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Novel Global Path Planning Method for Mobile Robots Based on Teaching-Learning-Based Optimization
Information 2016, 7(3), 39; doi:10.3390/info7030039 -
Abstract
The Teaching-Learning-Based Optimization (TLBO) algorithm has been proposed in recent years. It is a new swarm intelligence optimization algorithm simulating the teaching-learning phenomenon of a classroom. In this paper, a novel global path planning method for mobile robots is presented, which is [...] Read more.
The Teaching-Learning-Based Optimization (TLBO) algorithm has been proposed in recent years. It is a new swarm intelligence optimization algorithm simulating the teaching-learning phenomenon of a classroom. In this paper, a novel global path planning method for mobile robots is presented, which is based on an improved TLBO algorithm called Nonlinear Inertia Weighted Teaching-Learning-Based Optimization (NIWTLBO) algorithm in our previous work. Firstly, the NIWTLBO algorithm is introduced. Then, a new map model of the path between start-point and goal-point is built by coordinate system transformation. Lastly, utilizing the NIWTLBO algorithm, the objective function of the path is optimized; thus, a global optimal path is obtained. The simulation experiment results show that the proposed method has a faster convergence rate and higher accuracy in searching for the path than the basic TLBO and some other algorithms as well, and it can effectively solve the optimization problem for mobile robot global path planning. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Design of Hybrid Wired/Wireless Fieldbus Network for Turbine Power Generation System
Information 2016, 7(3), 37; doi:10.3390/info7030037 -
Abstract
Hybrid fieldbus network integrating wireless networks with existing wired fieldbuses has become new a research direction in industrial automation systems. In comparison to wired fieldbuses, the hybrid wired/wireless fieldbus network has a different system architecture, data transmission mechanism, communication protocol, etc. This [...] Read more.
Hybrid fieldbus network integrating wireless networks with existing wired fieldbuses has become new a research direction in industrial automation systems. In comparison to wired fieldbuses, the hybrid wired/wireless fieldbus network has a different system architecture, data transmission mechanism, communication protocol, etc. This leads to different challenges that need to be addressed. This paper proposes a hybrid wired/wireless fieldbus network which consists of a wireless industrial control network (WICN), a wired PROFIBUS-DP (Process Field Bus-Decentralized Periphery) fieldbus network, and a wired MODBUS/TCP (Mod Bus/Transmission Control Protocol) fieldbus network. They are connected by a new gateway which uses a shared data model to solve data exchange in different network protocols. In this paper, we describe the architecture of the proposed hybrid wired/wireless fieldbus network and data transmission mechanisms in detail, and then evaluate the performance of hybrid fieldbus network via a set of experiments. The experiment results confirm that the proposed hybrid wired/wireless fieldbus network can satisfy the performance requirement of industrial network control systems. Furthermore, in order to further investigate feasibility of the proposed hybrid wired/wireless fieldbus network, it is deployed at a steam turbine power generation system, and the performance figures obtained further verify its feasibility and effectiveness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Standard Compliant Hazard and Threat Analysis for the Automotive Domain
Information 2016, 7(3), 36; doi:10.3390/info7030036 -
Abstract
The automotive industry has successfully collaborated to release the ISO 26262 standard for developing safe software for cars. The standard describes in detail how to conduct hazard analysis and risk assessments to determine the necessary safety measures for each feature. However, the [...] Read more.
The automotive industry has successfully collaborated to release the ISO 26262 standard for developing safe software for cars. The standard describes in detail how to conduct hazard analysis and risk assessments to determine the necessary safety measures for each feature. However, the standard does not concern threat analysis for malicious attackers or how to select appropriate security countermeasures. We propose the application of ISO 27001 for this purpose and show how it can be applied together with ISO 26262. We show how ISO 26262 documentation can be re-used and enhanced to satisfy the analysis and documentation demands of the ISO 27001 standard. We illustrate our approach based on an electronic steering column lock system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Framework for Measuring Security as a System Property in Cyberphysical Systems
Information 2016, 7(2), 33; doi:10.3390/info7020033 -
Abstract
This paper addresses the challenge of measuring security, understood as a system property, of cyberphysical systems, in the category of similar properties, such as safety and reliability. First, it attempts to define precisely what security, as a system property, really is. Then, [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the challenge of measuring security, understood as a system property, of cyberphysical systems, in the category of similar properties, such as safety and reliability. First, it attempts to define precisely what security, as a system property, really is. Then, an application context is presented, in terms of an attack surface in cyberphysical systems. Contemporary approaches related to the principles of measuring software properties are also discussed, with emphasis on building models. These concepts are illustrated in several case studies, based on previous work of the authors, to conduct experimental security measurements. Full article