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Review
Electronic Surveillance in Court Proceedings and in the Execution of Criminal Penalties: Legislative and Logistical Steps Regarding Operationalising the Electronic Monitoring Information System (EMIS) in Romania
Laws 2022, 11(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/laws11040054 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
The latest innovations in the field of electronics and telecommunications have revolutionised and brought new dimensions to human activities. As well as in other sectors, we observe that a wide range of electronic means have also shown their utility in criminal justice. Undergoing [...] Read more.
The latest innovations in the field of electronics and telecommunications have revolutionised and brought new dimensions to human activities. As well as in other sectors, we observe that a wide range of electronic means have also shown their utility in criminal justice. Undergoing continuous development, these means ensure efficient monitoring of subjects and contribute to higher efficiency of judiciary systems, and provide “more humane” conditions compared with traditional incarceration for offenders when they execute criminal penalties. In this context, this study discussed the main challenges faced by Romania in implementing electronic monitoring (EM) devices in court proceedings and in the execution of criminal penalties. These have been researched from different perspectives, including those related to the current legal framework, opportunities provided by today’s developments in electronics, and in terms of financial public resources allocated for such purposes. Our study is among the few articles published on this topic and it brings to light both the advantages of introducing the Electronic Monitoring Information System (EMIS) in Romania, as well as the limitations, and overviews the international experience in this area by assessing the measures that have been taken so far worldwide to implement EMIS effectively. The final part of the paper presents the study conclusions, its limitations, and future lines of research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Criminal Justice Issues)
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Article
Application of UV-Vis Optical Spectroscopy and X-ray Diffraction Methods to Describe the Effect of Alpha-Emitting Radionuclides (Radon) When They Are Detected by Solid-State Film Detectors
Polymers 2022, 14(13), 2731; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14132731 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
This work aims to evaluate the application of optical and X-ray spectroscopy methods to determine the effect of alpha-emitting radionuclides on the properties of solid-state nuclear track detectors (SSNTD) based on nitrocellulose during their detection. The proposed estimation methods are alternative methods to [...] Read more.
This work aims to evaluate the application of optical and X-ray spectroscopy methods to determine the effect of alpha-emitting radionuclides on the properties of solid-state nuclear track detectors (SSNTD) based on nitrocellulose during their detection. The proposed estimation methods are alternative methods to standard technologies, making it possible to determine the concentration of radon and its decay products without the chemical etching of film detectors and subsequent direct counting of the formed latent tracks from interacting particles. During the research, it was found that the use of optical spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction methods makes it possible to qualitatively determine the irradiation effect on changes in the properties of film detectors when α-particles with different energies pass through them. At the same time, a comparison of the data of optical spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and the visualization of latent tracks after chemical etching made it possible to establish that a part of the registered α-particles in living quarters has an energy of less than 2.5 MeV, which is not enough to pass through the polymer film of the detector, as a result of which well-like tracks are formed. An increase in the intensity of the interference bands in the region above 700 nm and a decrease in the intensity of diffraction reflection characterized the changes in optical transmission. The penetration of the α-particles through the detecting film decreases the film’s transmission capacity, forming an anisotropic change in diffraction reflections associated with a change in the film’s structure and defective fractions distorting the molecular structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
Biological Role of the Intercellular Transfer of Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-Anchored Proteins: Stimulation of Lipid and Glycogen Synthesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(13), 7418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23137418 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins (GPI-APs), which are anchored at the outer leaflet of plasma membranes (PM) only by a carboxy-terminal GPI glycolipid, are known to fulfill multiple enzymic and receptor functions at the cell surface. Previous studies revealed that full-length GPI-APs with the complete GPI [...] Read more.
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins (GPI-APs), which are anchored at the outer leaflet of plasma membranes (PM) only by a carboxy-terminal GPI glycolipid, are known to fulfill multiple enzymic and receptor functions at the cell surface. Previous studies revealed that full-length GPI-APs with the complete GPI anchor attached can be released from and inserted into PMs in vitro. Moreover, full-length GPI-APs were recovered from serum, dependent on the age and metabolic state of rats and humans. Here, the possibility of intercellular control of metabolism by the intercellular transfer of GPI-APs was studied. Mutant K562 erythroleukemia (EL) cells, mannosamine-treated human adipocytes and methyl-ß-cyclodextrin-treated rat adipocytes as acceptor cells for GPI-APs, based on their impaired PM expression of GPI-APs, were incubated with full-length GPI-APs, prepared from rat adipocytes and embedded in micelle-like complexes, or with EL cells and human adipocytes with normal expression of GPI-APs as donor cells in transwell co-cultures. Increases in the amounts of full-length GPI-APs at the PM of acceptor cells as a measure of their transfer was assayed by chip-based sensing. Both experimental setups supported both the transfer and upregulation of glycogen (EL cells) and lipid (adipocytes) synthesis. These were all diminished by serum, serum GPI-specific phospholipase D, albumin, active bacterial PI-specific phospholipase C or depletion of total GPI-APs from the culture medium. Serum inhibition of both transfer and glycogen/lipid synthesis was counteracted by synthetic phosphoinositolglycans (PIGs), which closely resemble the structure of the GPI glycan core and caused dissociation of GPI-APs from serum proteins. Finally, large, heavily lipid-loaded donor and small, slightly lipid-loaded acceptor adipocytes were most effective in stimulating transfer and lipid synthesis. In conclusion, full-length GPI-APs can be transferred between adipocytes or between blood cells as well as between these cell types. Transfer and the resulting stimulation of lipid and glycogen synthesis, respectively, are downregulated by serum proteins and upregulated by PIGs. These findings argue for the (patho)physiological relevance of the intercellular transfer of GPI-APs in general and its role in the paracrine vs. endocrine (dys)regulation of metabolism, in particular. Moreover, they raise the possibility of the use of full-length GPI-APs as therapeutics for metabolic diseases. Full article
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Communication
Ultrasonic Synthesis and Preliminary Evaluation of Anticoronaviral Activity of 6,7-Dimethoxy-4-(4-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazin-1-yl)-1-methylquinolin-1-ium Iodide
Molbank 2022, 2022(3), M1400; https://doi.org/10.3390/M1400 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
Quinoline scaffold is one of the most intensively utilized pharmacophores in drug design because of the variety of activities demonstrated by different quinoline-based therapeutics or drug-candidates. Herein, we describe an environmentally tolerant two-step procedure as a convenient synthetic approach to novel chloroquine and [...] Read more.
Quinoline scaffold is one of the most intensively utilized pharmacophores in drug design because of the variety of activities demonstrated by different quinoline-based therapeutics or drug-candidates. Herein, we describe an environmentally tolerant two-step procedure as a convenient synthetic approach to novel chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine analogues. The structures of the newly synthesized compounds are estimated by 1H NMR, 13C NMR, LC-MS spectrometry and IR spectroscopy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quinoline, Derivatives and Applications)
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Article
Multiple-UAV Reinforcement Learning Algorithm Based on Improved PPO in Ray Framework
Drones 2022, 6(7), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones6070166 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
Distributed multi-agent collaborative decision-making technology is the key to general artificial intelligence. This paper takes the self-developed Unity3D collaborative combat environment as the test scenario, setting a task that requires heterogeneous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to perform a distributed decision-making and complete cooperation [...] Read more.
Distributed multi-agent collaborative decision-making technology is the key to general artificial intelligence. This paper takes the self-developed Unity3D collaborative combat environment as the test scenario, setting a task that requires heterogeneous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to perform a distributed decision-making and complete cooperation task. Aiming at the problem of the traditional proximal policy optimization (PPO) algorithm’s poor performance in the field of complex multi-agent collaboration scenarios based on the distributed training framework Ray, the Critic network in the PPO algorithm is improved to learn a centralized value function, and the muti-agent proximal policy optimization (MAPPO) algorithm is proposed. At the same time, the inheritance training method based on course learning is adopted to improve the generalization performance of the algorithm. In the experiment, MAPPO can obtain the highest average accumulate reward compared with other algorithms and can complete the task goal with the fewest steps after convergence, which fully demonstrates that the MAPPO algorithm outperforms the state-of-the-art. Full article
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Article
Entrepreneurship as a Neglected Pitfall in Future Finnish Teachers’ Readiness to Teach 21st Century Competencies and Financial Literacy: Expectancies, Values, and Capability
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(7), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12070463 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine entrepreneurship in the context of future Finnish teachers’ readiness to teach 21st century (broad-based) competencies. Teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching entrepreneurial skills and financial matters is vital for their pupils to actively participate and flourish in [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to examine entrepreneurship in the context of future Finnish teachers’ readiness to teach 21st century (broad-based) competencies. Teachers’ self-efficacy in teaching entrepreneurial skills and financial matters is vital for their pupils to actively participate and flourish in future society. The study utilized survey data of future teachers’ expectancy-values in teaching seven broad-based competencies of the current national curriculum and their financial literacy. Future teachers expressed high interest in all competencies but reported the least self-efficacy and highest cost in teaching ICT as well as working life and entrepreneurship competencies. Teaching self-efficacy (TSE) in entrepreneurial competencies was predicted by subjective evaluations of financial capability and TSE in consumer skills. Teaching STEM subjects as well as male gender were related to better objective financial knowledge. We discuss the implications of observed financial capability, lack in self-efficacy, and high experienced cost of teaching these competencies. Support for future teachers’ readiness to teach working life skills, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy through phenomenon-based school subject collaboration, formal teacher training, and digital applications are emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research and Trends in Entrepreneurship Education)
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Article
Impact of Calving Difficulty on Lameness in Dairy Cows
Agriculture 2022, 12(7), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12070960 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
The aims of our study were to evaluate the associations between calving difficulty and lameness and their effects on milk yield and quality traits. A total of 4723 calving cases were evaluated for calving difficulty using a 4-point scoring system. Lameness was diagnosed [...] Read more.
The aims of our study were to evaluate the associations between calving difficulty and lameness and their effects on milk yield and quality traits. A total of 4723 calving cases were evaluated for calving difficulty using a 4-point scoring system. Lameness was diagnosed with a visual locomotion score system from 1 to 30 days after calving in 333 fresh dairy cows. Cows were divided into non-lame cows and lame cows. Milk quality traits were registered using Lely Astronaut® A3 milking robots. The normal distribution of all indicators was assessed using the Shapiro–Wilk normality test. Normally distributed milk indicators were expressed as mean ± standard error of the mean. Differences between the mean values of their groups were determined using the Fisher’s least significant difference test. We categorized cows by health status, i.e., lame (LA) and non-lame (HL) cows, and according to calving difficulty (CD) (on a 4-point scale: 1—no problem, 2—slight problem, 3—problems requiring assistance, 4—considerable force and extreme difficulty). In the present study, calving difficulty increased the risk of lameness in cows by 2.09-fold (95% CI = 1.644–2.650, p < 0.001). It was found that the mean standard milk yield in fresh dairy cows with calving difficulty was lower (−6.14 kg, p < 0.001) than in the group where no assistance was required at calving. Similarly, herd affected milk fat (%) and the calving process—herd and the interaction between calving difficulty and herd—and lameness impacted the quantity of milk protein and lactose in cows. We found that severe lameness (3–4 points) (3.88–5.92% of cows) became more prevalent in those cows that had dystocia than those that did not (0.27–2.37% of cows). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
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Article
Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Intact, Defective and Repaired Countersunk Composite Joints under Tensile Loading
Materials 2022, 15(13), 4677; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15134677 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
Bolted joints are commonly used for assembling carbon fiber/resin composite structures. Since drilling may generate defects at hole edges which affect mechanical properties, it is of great engineering significance to develop proper repair methods to restore the mechanical properties of the defective parts. [...] Read more.
Bolted joints are commonly used for assembling carbon fiber/resin composite structures. Since drilling may generate defects at hole edges which affect mechanical properties, it is of great engineering significance to develop proper repair methods to restore the mechanical properties of the defective parts. However, there are few studies on hole edge defects and their repair methods. Therefore, a novelty short fiber filling repair method was proposed to repair defective holes in this study. The mechanical properties of intact, defective and repaired countersunk composite joints were compared and investigated. Experimental tensile tests showed that defective joints had lower initial stiffness and failure loads compared to intact joints, while the mechanical properties were effectively restored after repair. Three-dimensional finite element models were also established to analyze the damage process of the joints. Results of numerical modelling were consistent with the experimental results. The simulations showed that changes in contact behaviors and local deformations caused by hole edge defects led to the low initial stiffness and stiffness transition point of the joint, while this phenomenon was reduced after repair. Additionally, despite different joint types, laminate failure mainly occurred around the hole and countersink. Full article
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Article
A New Sampling Approach for the Detection of Swine Influenza a Virus on European Sow Farms
Vet. Sci. 2022, 9(7), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci9070338 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
Swine influenza A virus (swIAV), which plays a major role in the porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC), is eliminated from the respiratory tract within 7–9 days after infection. Therefore, diagnosis is complicated in endemically infected swine herds presenting no obvious clinical signs. This [...] Read more.
Swine influenza A virus (swIAV), which plays a major role in the porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC), is eliminated from the respiratory tract within 7–9 days after infection. Therefore, diagnosis is complicated in endemically infected swine herds presenting no obvious clinical signs. This study aimed to investigate the right time point for sampling to detect swIAV. A cross-sectional study was performed in 131 farms from 12 European countries. The sampling protocol included suckling piglets, weaners, and nursery pigs. In each age group, 10 nasal swabs were collected and further examined in pools of 5 for swIAV by Matrix rRT-PCR, followed by a multiplex RT-PCR to determine the influenza subtype. SwIAV was detected in 284 (37.9%) of the samples and on 103 (78.6%) farms. Despite the highest number of animals with clinical signs being found in the nursery, the weaners were significantly more often virus-positive compared to nursery pigs (p = 0.048). Overall, the swIAV detection rate did not significantly differ between diseased or non-diseased suckling and nursery piglets, respectively; however, diseased weaners had significantly more positive pools than the non-diseased animals. Interestingly, in 9 farms, different subtypes were detected in different age groups. Our findings indicate that to detect all circulating swIAV subtypes on a farm, different age groups should be sampled. Additionally, the sampling strategy should also aim to include non-diseased animals, especially in the suckling period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Standardization of Diagnostics in Swine Diseases)
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Article
Phenoplasticity of Essential Oils from Two Species of Piper (Piperaceae): Comparing Wild Specimens and Bi-Generational Monoclonal Cultivars
Plants 2022, 11(13), 1771; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11131771 (registering DOI) - 04 Jul 2022
Abstract
This study tested the hypothesis that “clonal chemical heritability is a crucial factor for the conservation of chemical uniformity of Piper essential oils in controlled monoclonal cultivation”. We asexually propagated first and second-generation clones of two medicinal and aromatic species, Piper gaudichaudianum Kunth [...] Read more.
This study tested the hypothesis that “clonal chemical heritability is a crucial factor for the conservation of chemical uniformity of Piper essential oils in controlled monoclonal cultivation”. We asexually propagated first and second-generation clones of two medicinal and aromatic species, Piper gaudichaudianum Kunth and Piper mollicomum Kunth (Piperaceae), for use as experimental models since they show high chemical plasticity in the wild. Leaves from wild specimens of both species, and their respective cultivated specimens, were hydrodistilled in a Clevenger-type apparatus to produce essential oils (EOs). EOs were chemically characterised by GC-MS and GC-FID. The analysis identified 63 compounds in EO of P. mollicomum, which were predominantly monoterpenes, and 59 in EO of P. gaudichaudianum, which were predominantly sesquiterpenes. Evaluation of chemical diversity and oxi-reduction indices showed a loss of chemical homology across the intergenerational cline. Chemometric analysis indicated higher chemical plasticity between wild and intergenerational specimens of P. mollicomum, than for P. gaudichaudianum. EO compounds were significantly less oxidized throughout the generations in both species. Therefore, while clonal heritability is crucial to chemical homology, significant chemical plasticity is likely to occur when cultivated from wild specimens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Metabolomics and Plant Chemical Diversity)
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Article
Evaluation Criteria for Chromosome Instability Detection by FISH to Predict Malignant Progression in Premalignant Glottic Laryngeal Lesions
Cancers 2022, 14(13), 3260; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14133260 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Background: The definition of objective, clinically applicable evaluation criteria for FISH 1c/7c in laryngeal precursor lesions for the detection of chromosome instability (CI). Copy Number Variations (CNV) for chromosomes 1 and 7 reflect the general ploidy status of premalignant head and neck lesions [...] Read more.
Background: The definition of objective, clinically applicable evaluation criteria for FISH 1c/7c in laryngeal precursor lesions for the detection of chromosome instability (CI). Copy Number Variations (CNV) for chromosomes 1 and 7 reflect the general ploidy status of premalignant head and neck lesions and can therefore be used as a marker for CI. Methods: We performed dual-target FISH for chromosomes 1 and 7 centromeres on 4 µm formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections of 87 laryngeal premalignancies to detect CNVs. Thirty-five normal head and neck squamous cell samples were used as a control. First, the chromosome 7:1 ratio (CR) was evaluated per lesion. The normal range of CRs (≥0.84 ≤ 1.16) was based on the mean CR +/− 3 x SD found in the normal population. Second, the percentage of aberrant nuclei, harboring > 2 chromosomes of chromosome 1 and/or 7 (PAN), was established (cut-off value for abnormal PAN ≥ 10%). Results: PAN showed a stronger correlation with malignant progression than CR (resp. OR 5.6, p = 0.001 and OR 3.8, p = 0.009). PAN combined with histopathology resulted in a prognostic model with an area under the ROC curve (AUC) of 0.75 (s.e. 0.061, sensitivity 71%, specificity 70%). Conclusions: evaluation criteria for FISH 1c/7c based on PAN ≥ 10% provide the best prognostic information on the risk of malignant progression of premalignant laryngeal lesions as compared with criteria based on the CR. FISH 1c/7c detection can be applied in combination with histopathological assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Biomarkers and Detection of Head and Neck Cancer)
Article
Rectal and Tracheal Carriage of Carbapenemase Genes and Class 1 and 2 Integrons in Patients in Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit
Antibiotics 2022, 11(7), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics11070886 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
The spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, which is associated with the distribution of beta-lactamase genes and class 1 and 2 integrons, is a global problem. In this study, in the Moscow neurosurgery intensive care unit (neuro-ICU), the high prevalence of the above-stated genes [...] Read more.
The spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, which is associated with the distribution of beta-lactamase genes and class 1 and 2 integrons, is a global problem. In this study, in the Moscow neurosurgery intensive care unit (neuro-ICU), the high prevalence of the above-stated genes was found to be associated with intestinal and tracheal carriage. Seven-point prevalence surveys, which included 60 patients in the neuro-ICU, were conducted weekly in the period from Oct. to Nov. 2019. A total of 293 clinical samples were analyzed, including 146 rectal and 147 tracheal swabs; 344 Gram-negative bacteria isolates were collected. Beta-lactamase genes (n = 837) were detected in the isolates, including beta-lactamase blaTEM (n = 162), blaSHV (n = 145), cephalosporinase blaCTX–M (n = 228), carbapenemase blaNDM (n = 44), blaKPC (n = 25), blaOXA–48 (n = 126), blaOXA–51–like (n = 54), blaOXA–40-like (n = 43), blaOXA–23-like (n = 8), and blaVIM (n = 2), as well as class 1 (n = 189) and class 2 (n = 12) integrons. One extensively drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae strain (sequence type ST39 and capsular type K23), simultaneously carried beta-lactamase genes, blaSHV–40 and blaTEM–1B, three carbapenemase genes, blaNDM, blaKPC, and blaOXA–48, the cephalosporinase gene blaCTX–M, and two class 1 integrons. Before this study, such heavily armed strains have not been reported, suggesting the ongoing evolution of antibiotic resistance. Full article
Article
Sing-Ant: RFID Indoor Positioning System Using Single Antenna with Multiple Beams Based on LANDMARC Algorithm
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6751; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136751 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
RFID localization methods have been widely used in indoor positioning systems (IPS). Most localization techniques involve the use of multiple antennas and the placement of antennas and readers in order to ensure accurate positioning results. However, most localization techniques are complex and require [...] Read more.
RFID localization methods have been widely used in indoor positioning systems (IPS). Most localization techniques involve the use of multiple antennas and the placement of antennas and readers in order to ensure accurate positioning results. However, most localization techniques are complex and require high overhead costs in terms of needing multiple antennas and RFID readers. In this paper, we proposed a method to use a single antenna to perform all the reads and rely rather on the antenna beams to acquire multiple positioning data. A single array of antennas is configured to have multiple angles of operation and rely on different power levels as compared to regular antennas. By manipulating the beam pattern, direction and power, multiple sub-antennas can be conceived and the method utilizes antenna beams and relies mainly on one antenna to realize two-dimensional localization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RFID(Radio Frequency Identification) Localization and Application)
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Article
Formation Control of Multiple Autonomous Underwater Vehicles under Communication Delay, Packet Discreteness and Dropout
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2022, 10(7), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10070920 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Effective communication between multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) is necessary for formation control. As the most reliable underwater communication method, acoustic communication still has many constraints compared with radio communication, which affects the effectiveness of formation control. Therefore, this paper proposes a formation [...] Read more.
Effective communication between multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) is necessary for formation control. As the most reliable underwater communication method, acoustic communication still has many constraints compared with radio communication, which affects the effectiveness of formation control. Therefore, this paper proposes a formation control scheme for multiple AUVs under communication delay, packet discreteness and dropout. Firstly, the communication delay is estimated based on the kernel density estimation method. To solve the problem of packet discreteness and dropout, the curve fitting method is used to predict the states of the AUV. Secondly, a follower controller is designed based on the leader–follower approach using input–output feedback linearization, which is proven to be stable with Lyapunov stability theory. Then, some simulation results are presented to demonstrate the stability and accuracy of the formation control in different communication environments. Finally, the field tests on the lake show that the scheme introduced in this paper is valid and practical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Marine Vehicles, Automation and Robotics)
Article
Content-Based Video Big Data Retrieval with Extensive Features and Deep Learning
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6753; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136753 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
In the era of digital media, the rapidly increasing volume and complexity of multimedia data cause many problems in storing, processing, and querying information in a reasonable time. Feature extraction and processing time play an extremely important role in large-scale video retrieval systems [...] Read more.
In the era of digital media, the rapidly increasing volume and complexity of multimedia data cause many problems in storing, processing, and querying information in a reasonable time. Feature extraction and processing time play an extremely important role in large-scale video retrieval systems and currently receive much attention from researchers. We, therefore, propose an efficient approach to feature extraction on big video datasets using deep learning techniques. It focuses on the main features, including subtitles, speeches, and objects in video frames, by using a combination of three techniques: optical character recognition (OCR), automatic speech recognition (ASR), and object identification with deep learning techniques. We provide three network models developed from networks of Faster R-CNN ResNet, Faster R-CNN Inception ResNet V2, and Single Shot Detector MobileNet V2. The approach is implemented in Spark, the next-generation parallel and distributed computing environment, which reduces the time and space costs of the feature extraction process. Experimental results show that our proposal achieves an accuracy of 96% and a processing time reduction of 50%. This demonstrates the feasibility of the approach for content-based video retrieval systems in a big data context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Deep Learning for Image Analysis)
Article
Design and Implementation of Cloud Docker Application Architecture Based on Machine Learning in Container Management for Smart Manufacturing
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6737; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136737 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Manufacturers are expanding their business-process innovation and customized manufacturing to reduce their information technology costs and increase their operational efficiency. Large companies are building enterprise-wide hybrid cloud platforms to further accelerate their digital transformation. Many companies are also introducing container virtualization technology to [...] Read more.
Manufacturers are expanding their business-process innovation and customized manufacturing to reduce their information technology costs and increase their operational efficiency. Large companies are building enterprise-wide hybrid cloud platforms to further accelerate their digital transformation. Many companies are also introducing container virtualization technology to maximize their cloud transition and cloud benefits. However, small- and mid-sized manufacturers are struggling with their digital transformation owing to technological barriers. Herein, for small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises transitioning onto the cloud, we introduce a Docker Container application architecture, a customized container-based defect inspection machine-learning model for the AWS cloud environment developed for use in small manufacturing plants. By linking with open-source software, the development was improved and a datadog-based container monitoring system, built to enable real-time anomaly detection, was implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies and Applications of Cloud Platforms)
Article
Experimental Research of the Structure Condition Using Geodetic Methods and Crackmeter
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6754; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136754 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
The article presents an approach to monitoring the structure’s condition with two measurement methods: the SHM-X crackmeter and the classic geodetic method of determining displacements, supplemented with additional information on the condition of the external environment obtained from thermal images. The study aimed [...] Read more.
The article presents an approach to monitoring the structure’s condition with two measurement methods: the SHM-X crackmeter and the classic geodetic method of determining displacements, supplemented with additional information on the condition of the external environment obtained from thermal images. The study aimed to propose an approach combining geodetic and non-geodetic methods of assessing the condition of a structure and its effectiveness in practical application. The research facility is a public utility building of the Bydgoszcz University of Technology with a reinforced concrete structure. Objects of this type require periodic tests of their constancy. Interpreting the test results and identifying possible dangerous states that may indicate the risk of a construction failure is extremely important. The results presented in the article are an extension of the previous ones, in which several factors that could have a destructive effect on the structure were excluded. Observation of the object showed that only the reinforced construction plate is deformed. The only factor influencing the change in structure geometry is thermal changes. As part of the tests in places where cracks were noticed, the SHM-X crackmeter was used to measure the cracks’ opening. In the geodetic research, measurements of the measurement and control network displacement were carried out, in which the TDRA6000 laser station measurement technology was used. The control points were also placed in places where the width of the cracks was directly observed. The proposed approach, with the applied calculation scheme and supplementing the information with the temperature measurement with thermal images, showed the submillimeter accuracy of the determined 3D displacements of the controlled points. Additionally, the parallel application of these methods gives a complete picture of changes in the structure elements, in which signs of destruction appear under the influence of stress. Full article
Article
Non-Overlapping Domain Decomposition via BURA Preconditioning of the Schur Complement
Mathematics 2022, 10(13), 2327; https://doi.org/10.3390/math10132327 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
A new class of high-performance preconditioned iterative solution methods for large-scale finite element method (FEM) elliptic systems is proposed and analyzed. The non-overlapping domain decomposition (DD) naturally introduces coupling operator at the interface γ. In general, γ is a manifold of lower [...] Read more.
A new class of high-performance preconditioned iterative solution methods for large-scale finite element method (FEM) elliptic systems is proposed and analyzed. The non-overlapping domain decomposition (DD) naturally introduces coupling operator at the interface γ. In general, γ is a manifold of lower dimensions. At the operator level, a key property is that the energy norm associated with the Steklov-Poincaré operator is spectrally equivalent to the Sobolev norm of index 1/2. We define the new multiplicative non-overlapping DD preconditioner by approximating the Schur complement using the best uniform rational approximation (BURA) of Lγ1/2. Here, Lγ1/2 denotes the discrete Laplacian over the interface γ. The goal of the paper is to develop a unified framework for analysis of the new class of preconditioned iterative methods. As a final result, we prove that the BURA-based non-overlapping DD preconditioner has optimal computational complexity O(n), where n is the number of unknowns (degrees of freedom) of the FEM linear system. All theoretical estimates are robust, with respect to the geometry of the interface γ. Results of systematic numerical experiments are given at the end to illustrate the convergence properties of the new method, as well as the choice of the involved parameters. Full article
Article
The Influence of Walking Limitations on Daily Life: A Mixed-Methods Study of 14 Persons with Late Effects of Polio
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 8157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19138157 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Reduced walking ability is common in persons with late effects of polio (LEoP). Here, we explored how many walking limitations persons with LEoP perceive, and how these limitations influence daily life, by using a mixed-methods design. Fourteen persons (mean age 70 years, whereof [...] Read more.
Reduced walking ability is common in persons with late effects of polio (LEoP). Here, we explored how many walking limitations persons with LEoP perceive, and how these limitations influence daily life, by using a mixed-methods design. Fourteen persons (mean age 70 years, whereof 7 women) with LEoP responded to the Walking Impact Scale (Walk-12), and were interviewed individually. Qualitative data were analysed by systematic text condensation, and each quotation was deductively analysed in relation to the items in Walk-12. Running was perceived as most limited, whereas walking indoors without using support was perceived as least limited. A majority (>70%) were moderately to extremely limited in standing or walking, in walking speed and distance, which affected concentration and effort, as well as gait quality aspects. The limited walking ability intruded on many everyday activities, both indoors and outdoors, which affected social participation negatively. To increase safety when walking and reduce the fall risk, various strategies were adopted such as using aids, walking carefully, and avoiding risky activities. In conclusion, LEoP-related walking limitations influence participants’ activity and participation greatly. By using both the Walk-12 scale and face-to-face interviews, an increased understanding of how walking limitations influence everyday life was achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Disabilities)
Article
ICT Usage for Cross-Curricular Connections in Music and Visual Arts during Emergency Remote Teaching in Slovenia
Electronics 2022, 11(13), 2090; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11132090 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire process of teaching and learning moved online. This forced teachers and pupils to heavily rely on information and communications technology (ICT) and make adjustments to the new mode of teaching and learning in educational institutions. We [...] Read more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire process of teaching and learning moved online. This forced teachers and pupils to heavily rely on information and communications technology (ICT) and make adjustments to the new mode of teaching and learning in educational institutions. We conducted a qualitative case study by interviewing 24 teachers from Slovene primary schools focusing on the implementation of cross-curricular connections in music and visual arts content with the support of ICT during the period of emergency remote teaching. We found that when planning and implementing the cross-curricular learning process, teachers insufficiently took advantage of possibilities offered by modern ICT. The manner of implementing cross-curricular connections showed uncertainties in terms of understanding their specifics, resulting in the inefficient transfer of concepts taught, the results of which were seen in pupils’ work. This might additionally show the negative influence of parental supervision on the creative thinking and expression of pupils. The present study emphasizes the lack of ICT competences on the part of all participants in the educational process. Our findings show the need to educate teachers by eliminating the uncertainties related to the implementation of distant cross-curricular connections while meaningfully applying ICT adapted to pupils’ competences. Full article
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Article
Extracellular Vesicles from BMSCs Prevent Glucocorticoid-Induced BMECs Injury by Regulating Autophagy via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR Pathway
Cells 2022, 11(13), 2104; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11132104 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) is a common clinical disease with a high disability rate. Injury of bone microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) caused by glucocorticoid administration is one of the important causes of ONFH, and there is currently a lack of effective [...] Read more.
Osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) is a common clinical disease with a high disability rate. Injury of bone microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs) caused by glucocorticoid administration is one of the important causes of ONFH, and there is currently a lack of effective clinical treatments. Extracellular vesicles derived from bone stem cells (BMSC-EVs) can prevent ONFH by promoting angiogenesis and can inhibit cell apoptosis by regulating autophagy via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of extracellular vesicles derived from bone marrow stem cells (BMSC) on a glucocorticoid-induced injury of BMECs and possible mechanisms. We found that BMSC-EVs attenuated glucocorticoid-induced viability, angiogenesis capacity injury, and the apoptosis of BMECs. BMSC-EVs increased the LC3 level, but decreased p62 (an autophagy protein receptor) expression, suggesting that BMSC-Exos activated autophagy in glucocorticoid-treated BMECs. The protective effects of BMSC-EVs on the glucocorticoid-induced injury of BMECs was mimicked by a known stimulator of autophagy (rapamycin) and could be enhanced by co-treatment with an autophagy inhibitor (LY294002). BMSC-EVs also suppressed the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, which regulates cell autophagy, in glucocorticoid-treated BMECs. In conclusion, the results indicate that BMSC-EVs prevent the glucocorticoid-induced injury of BMECs by regulating autophagy via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue PI3K/AKT/mTOR Signaling Network in Human Health and Diseases)
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Article
Effective Identification of Technological Opportunities for Radical Inventions Using International Patent Classification: Application of Patent Data Mining
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6755; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136755 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Identifying technological opportunities early on is critical for the development of radical inventions (RIs). Patents are recognized as one of the most reliable resources for identifying technological opportunities. In line with this, this study aimed to suggest a novel approach for the identification [...] Read more.
Identifying technological opportunities early on is critical for the development of radical inventions (RIs). Patents are recognized as one of the most reliable resources for identifying technological opportunities. In line with this, this study aimed to suggest a novel approach for the identification of technological opportunities for RIs, based on the International Patent Classification (IPC), whose design knowledge has not been fully utilized. In this approach, technological opportunities for RIs are identified by measuring the value of technological novelty (VON) of each technology manifested in a patent set, and the value of difficulty (VOD) of each R&D theme contained in the patent set. Specifically, VONs are calculated through a novel map of technological changes over time, based on structured data from the patent set; and VODs are determined using natural language processing, K-means cluster analysis, and complex network analysis of the unstructured data from the patent set. The feasibility and operability of the proposed approach are verified in a case study of unmanned aerial vehicles. The proposed approach can help designers maximize the use of designs and expert knowledge in patent libraries, to formulate technical strategies for RIs. Full article
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Article
Local Laws for Sparse Sample Covariance Matrices
Mathematics 2022, 10(13), 2326; https://doi.org/10.3390/math10132326 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
We proved the local Marchenko–Pastur law for sparse sample covariance matrices that corresponded to rectangular observation matrices of order n×m with n/my (where y>0) and sparse probability npn>logβn [...] Read more.
We proved the local Marchenko–Pastur law for sparse sample covariance matrices that corresponded to rectangular observation matrices of order n×m with n/my (where y>0) and sparse probability npn>logβn (where β>0). The bounds of the distance between the empirical spectral distribution function of the sparse sample covariance matrices and the Marchenko–Pastur law distribution function that was obtained in the complex domain zD with Imz>v0>0 (where v0) were of order log4n/n and the domain bounds did not depend on pn while npn>logβn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Limit Theorems of Probability Theory)
Article
Electromyographic Response of the Abdominal Muscles and Stabilizers of the Trunk to Reflex Locomotion Therapy (RLT). A Preliminary Study
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(13), 3866; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11133866 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
Reflex locomotion therapy (RLT) was developed by Vaclav Vojta in 1954 as a diagnostic and treatment tool. This therapy is mainly used to rehabilitate children with motor disorders and risk of cerebral palsy. It is also used for adults with neurological and motor [...] Read more.
Reflex locomotion therapy (RLT) was developed by Vaclav Vojta in 1954 as a diagnostic and treatment tool. This therapy is mainly used to rehabilitate children with motor disorders and risk of cerebral palsy. It is also used for adults with neurological and motor impairment. RLT is based on specific postures and regular stimulation points through which a series of reflex responses are triggered. The neurophysiological mechanisms of this therapy have recently been discovered. This study aims to objectively evaluate muscular responses at the abdominal level after stimulation in the first phase of reflex rolling by showing, with surface electromyography analysis (sEMG), the muscular activity in trunk stabilizing muscles (rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, and serratus anterior) before, during, and after the application of RLT. A total sample of 27 healthy subjects over 18 years of age was recruited. An experimental study on a cohort was conducted. Two experimental conditions were considered: stimuli according to the Vojta protocol, and a control non-STI condition. Regarding muscular electrical activity, statistically significant differences were determined in all muscles during right-sided stimulation in the VSTI condition (p < 0.001), but not in the non-STI condition. The mean increase in muscle activity in the VSTI condition during the first stimulation ranged from 7% to 20% in the different abdominal muscles. In conclusion, an sEMG response was observed in the abdominal muscles during stimulation of the pectoral area as described in RLT, compared to stimulation of non-described areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Rehabilitation)
Article
Situation-Aware Survivable Network Design for Tactical Environments
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6738; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136738 (registering DOI) - 03 Jul 2022
Abstract
A tactical sensor network is a representative safety-critical environment that should satisfy strict guarantee of the requirements of tactical traffic. However, because of the lack of infrastructure in a military network environment, resource constraints on wireless channel and nodes can cause problems such [...] Read more.
A tactical sensor network is a representative safety-critical environment that should satisfy strict guarantee of the requirements of tactical traffic. However, because of the lack of infrastructure in a military network environment, resource constraints on wireless channel and nodes can cause problems such as network congestion and packet collision. If critical tactical data is lost or does not arrive on time, it can degrade the efficiency of military operations and even threaten the survival of soldiers. To resolve this critical issue, we propose a situational backoff reset algorithm that utilizes a quality of service (QoS) field information to determine the priority of received tactical packets and control the deferral time of low-priority traffic. From a packet routing path connectivity perspective, we propose a branch node-based routing algorithm in order to provide a resilient path by excluding the isolated single path. Our simulation results demonstrate that the proposed solution can prioritize tactical traffic from the channel preemption perspective and construct a robust end-to-end path avoiding an isolated single path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dependability and Security of IoT Network)

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