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Sensors, Volume 15, Issue 4 (April 2015) , Pages 7084-9609

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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced Sensitivity of Gas Sensor Based on Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Thin-Film Transistors for Disease Diagnosis and Environment Monitoring
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9592-9609; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409592 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3361
Abstract
Electronic devices based on organic thin-film transistors (OTFT) have the potential to supply the demand for portable and low-cost gadgets, mainly as sensors for in situ disease diagnosis and environment monitoring. For that reason, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) as the active layer in the widely-used [...] Read more.
Electronic devices based on organic thin-film transistors (OTFT) have the potential to supply the demand for portable and low-cost gadgets, mainly as sensors for in situ disease diagnosis and environment monitoring. For that reason, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) as the active layer in the widely-used bottom-gate/bottom-contact OTFT structure was deposited over highly-doped silicon substrates covered with thermally-grown oxide to detect vapor-phase compounds. A ten-fold organochloride and ammonia sensitivity compared to bare sensors corroborated the application of this semiconducting polymer in sensors. Furthermore, P3HT TFTs presented approximately three-order higher normalized sensitivity than any chemical sensor addressed herein. The results demonstrate that while TFTs respond linearly at the lowest concentration values herein, chemical sensors present such an operating regime mostly above 2000 ppm. Simultaneous alteration of charge carrier mobility and threshold voltage is responsible for pushing the detection limit down to units of ppm of ammonia, as well as tens of ppm of alcohol or ketones. Nevertheless, P3HT transistors and chemical sensors could compose an electronic nose operated at room temperature for a wide range concentration evaluation (1–10,000 ppm) of gaseous analytes. Targeted analytes include not only biomarkers for diseases, such as uremia, cirrhosis, lung cancer and diabetes, but also gases for environment monitoring in food, cosmetic and microelectronics industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas Sensors—Designs and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Immunity to Laser Power Variation in a DFB Diode Laser Based Optical Gas Sensor Using a Division Process
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9582-9591; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409582 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2660
Abstract
The division process used in a DFB diode laser-based optical gas sensor was studied to improve the immunity to laser power variation. Residual amplitude modulation (RAM) in wavelength modulation spectroscopy (WMS) detection was eliminated by intensity normalization using a division process. As a [...] Read more.
The division process used in a DFB diode laser-based optical gas sensor was studied to improve the immunity to laser power variation. Residual amplitude modulation (RAM) in wavelength modulation spectroscopy (WMS) detection was eliminated by intensity normalization using a division process. As a result the detected harmonic signals showed a significant improvement in line shape. For the first harmonic (1f) signal, Bias was improved from 38.7% to 1.2%; Baseline Difference was improved from 2.7% to 0.69% and Asymmetry was improved from 15.4% to 0.22%. For the second harmonic (2f) signal, the Asymmetry Coefficient was improved from 103% to 5.1%. Moreover the division process can further suppress the influence of unstable laser power. As a result, for the 1f signal, stable detection with a variation coefficient of 0.59% was obtained over a wide dynamic range (0.38–8.1 mW). For the 2f signal, stable detection with a variation coefficient of 0.53% was obtained from 0.64 mW to 8.27 mW. The test results showed a good agreement with the theoretical analysis and the proposed method has considerable potential application in gas sensing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Sensors for Chemical, Biological and Industrial Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
A Study of a QCM Sensor Based on TiO2 Nanostructures for the Detection of NO2 and Explosives Vapours in Air
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9563-9581; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409563 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 3308
Abstract
The paper deals with investigations concerning the construction of sensors based on a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) containing a TiO2 nanostructures sensor layer. A chemical method of synthesizing these nanostructures is presented. The prepared prototype of the QCM sensing system, as well [...] Read more.
The paper deals with investigations concerning the construction of sensors based on a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) containing a TiO2 nanostructures sensor layer. A chemical method of synthesizing these nanostructures is presented. The prepared prototype of the QCM sensing system, as well as the results of tests for detecting low NO2 concentrations in an atmosphere of synthetic air have been described. The constructed NO2 sensors operate at room temperature, which is a great advantage, because resistance sensors based on wide gap semiconductors often require much higher operation temperatures, sometimes as high as 500 °C. The sensors constructed by the authors can be used, among other applications, in medical and chemical diagnostics, and also for the purpose of detecting explosive vapours. Reactions of the sensor to nitroglycerine vapours are presented as an example of its application. The influence of humidity on the operation of the sensor was studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas Sensors—Designs and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Heat Transfer and Friction Characteristics of the Microfluidic Heat Sink with Variously-Shaped Ribs for Chip Cooling
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9547-9562; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409547 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3477
Abstract
This paper experimentally and numerically investigated the heat transfer and friction characteristics of microfluidic heat sinks with variously-shaped micro-ribs, i.e., rectangular, triangular and semicircular ribs. The micro-ribs were fabricated on the sidewalls of microfluidic channels by a surface-micromachining micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) process [...] Read more.
This paper experimentally and numerically investigated the heat transfer and friction characteristics of microfluidic heat sinks with variously-shaped micro-ribs, i.e., rectangular, triangular and semicircular ribs. The micro-ribs were fabricated on the sidewalls of microfluidic channels by a surface-micromachining micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) process and used as turbulators to improve the heat transfer rate of the microfluidic heat sink. The results indicate that the utilizing of micro-ribs provides a better heat transfer rate, but also increases the pressure drop penalty for microchannels. Furthermore, the heat transfer and friction characteristics of the microchannels are strongly affected by the rib shape. In comparison, the triangular ribbed microchannel possesses the highest Nusselt number and friction factor among the three rib types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling, Testing and Reliability Issues in MEMS Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Identification Methodology for the Coordinate Relationship between a 3D Vision System and a Legged Robot
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9519-9546; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409519 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2944
Abstract
Coordinate identification between vision systems and robots is quite a challenging issue in the field of intelligent robotic applications, involving steps such as perceiving the immediate environment, building the terrain map and planning the locomotion automatically. It is now well established that current [...] Read more.
Coordinate identification between vision systems and robots is quite a challenging issue in the field of intelligent robotic applications, involving steps such as perceiving the immediate environment, building the terrain map and planning the locomotion automatically. It is now well established that current identification methods have non-negligible limitations such as a difficult feature matching, the requirement of external tools and the intervention of multiple people. In this paper, we propose a novel methodology to identify the geometric parameters of 3D vision systems mounted on robots without involving other people or additional equipment. In particular, our method focuses on legged robots which have complex body structures and excellent locomotion ability compared to their wheeled/tracked counterparts. The parameters can be identified only by moving robots on a relatively flat ground. Concretely, an estimation approach is provided to calculate the ground plane. In addition, the relationship between the robot and the ground is modeled. The parameters are obtained by formulating the identification problem as an optimization problem. The methodology is integrated on a legged robot called “Octopus”, which can traverse through rough terrains with high stability after obtaining the identification parameters of its mounted vision system using the proposed method. Diverse experiments in different environments demonstrate our novel method is accurate and robust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Field Test of a WSN Platform Prototype for Long-Term Environmental Monitoring
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9481-9518; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409481 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2920
Abstract
Long-term wildfire monitoring using distributed in situ temperature sensors is an accurate, yet demanding environmental monitoring application, which requires long-life, low-maintenance, low-cost sensors and a simple, fast, error-proof deployment procedure. We present in this paper the most important design considerations and optimizations of [...] Read more.
Long-term wildfire monitoring using distributed in situ temperature sensors is an accurate, yet demanding environmental monitoring application, which requires long-life, low-maintenance, low-cost sensors and a simple, fast, error-proof deployment procedure. We present in this paper the most important design considerations and optimizations of all elements of a low-cost WSN platform prototype for long-term, low-maintenance pervasive wildfire monitoring, its preparation for a nearly three-month field test, the analysis of the causes of failure during the test and the lessons learned for platform improvement. The main components of the total cost of the platform (nodes, deployment and maintenance) are carefully analyzed and optimized for this application. The gateways are designed to operate with resources that are generally used for sensor nodes, while the requirements and cost of the sensor nodes are significantly lower. We define and test in simulation and in the field experiment a simple, but effective communication protocol for this application. It helps to lower the cost of the nodes and field deployment procedure, while extending the theoretical lifetime of the sensor nodes to over 16 years on a single 1 Ah lithium battery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wireless Sensor Networks and the Internet of Things)
Open AccessArticle
Stability of the Nine Sky Quality Meters in the Dutch Night Sky Brightness Monitoring Network
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9466-9480; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409466 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2767
Abstract
In the context of monitoring abundance of artificial light at night, the year-to-year stability of Sky Quality Meters (SQMs) is investigated by analysing intercalibrations derived from two measurement campaigns that were held in 2011 and 2012. An intercalibration comprises a light sensitivity factor [...] Read more.
In the context of monitoring abundance of artificial light at night, the year-to-year stability of Sky Quality Meters (SQMs) is investigated by analysing intercalibrations derived from two measurement campaigns that were held in 2011 and 2012. An intercalibration comprises a light sensitivity factor and an offset for each SQM. The campaigns were concerned with monitoring measurements, each lasting one month. Nine SQMs, together forming the Night Sky Brightness Monitoring network (MHN) in The Netherlands, were involved in both campaigns. The stability of the intercalibration of these instruments leads to a year-to-year uncertainty (standard deviation) of 5% in the measured median luminance occurring at the MHN monitoring locations. For the 10-percentiles and 90-percentiles, we find 8% and 4%, respectively. This means that, for urban and industrial areas, changes in the sky brightness larger than 5% become detectable. Rural and nature areas require an 8%–9% change of the median luminance to be detectable. The light sensitivety agrees within 8% for the whole group of SQMs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Technologies for Sensing Pollution in Air, Water, and Soil)
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Open AccessArticle
An Informationally Structured Room for Robotic Assistance
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9438-9465; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409438 - 22 Apr 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2908
Abstract
The application of assistive technologies for elderly people is one of the most promising and interesting scenarios for intelligent technologies in the present and near future. Moreover, the improvement of the quality of life for the elderly is one of the first priorities [...] Read more.
The application of assistive technologies for elderly people is one of the most promising and interesting scenarios for intelligent technologies in the present and near future. Moreover, the improvement of the quality of life for the elderly is one of the first priorities in modern countries and societies. In this work, we present an informationally structured room that is aimed at supporting the daily life activities of elderly people. This room integrates different sensor modalities in a natural and non-invasive way inside the environment. The information gathered by the sensors is processed and sent to a centralized management system, which makes it available to a service robot assisting the people. One important restriction of our intelligent room is reducing as much as possible any interference with daily activities. Finally, this paper presents several experiments and situations using our intelligent environment in cooperation with our service robot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HCI In Smart Environments)
Open AccessArticle
Elimination of Flammable Gas Effects in Cerium Oxide Semiconductor-Type Resistive Oxygen Sensors for Monitoring Low Oxygen Concentrations
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9427-9437; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409427 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2472
Abstract
We have investigated the catalytic layer in zirconium-doped cerium oxide, Ce0.9Zr0.1O2 (CeZr10) resistive oxygen sensors for reducing the effects of flammable gases, namely hydrogen and carbon monoxide. When the concentration of flammable gases is comparable to that of [...] Read more.
We have investigated the catalytic layer in zirconium-doped cerium oxide, Ce0.9Zr0.1O2 (CeZr10) resistive oxygen sensors for reducing the effects of flammable gases, namely hydrogen and carbon monoxide. When the concentration of flammable gases is comparable to that of oxygen, the resistance of CeZr10 is affected by the presence of these gases. We have developed layered thick films, which consist of an oxygen sensor layer (CeZr10), an insulation layer (Al2O3), and a catalytic layer consisting of CeZr10 with 3 wt% added platinum, which was prepared via the screen printing method. The Pt-CeZr10 catalytic layer was found to prevent the detrimental effects of the flammable gases on the resistance of the sensor layer. This effect is due to the catalytic layer promoting the oxidation of hydrogen and carbon monoxide through the consumption of ambient O2 and/or the lattice oxygen atoms of the Pt-CeZr10 catalytic layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas Sensors—Designs and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
An Improved Time-Frequency Analysis Method in Interference Detection for GNSS Receivers
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9404-9426; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409404 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2539
Abstract
In this paper, an improved joint time-frequency (TF) analysis method based on a reassigned smoothed pseudo Wigner–Ville distribution (RSPWVD) has been proposed in interference detection for Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. In the RSPWVD, the two-dimensional low-pass filtering smoothing function is introduced [...] Read more.
In this paper, an improved joint time-frequency (TF) analysis method based on a reassigned smoothed pseudo Wigner–Ville distribution (RSPWVD) has been proposed in interference detection for Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. In the RSPWVD, the two-dimensional low-pass filtering smoothing function is introduced to eliminate the cross-terms present in the quadratic TF distribution, and at the same time, the reassignment method is adopted to improve the TF concentration properties of the auto-terms of the signal components. This proposed interference detection method is evaluated by experiments on GPS L1 signals in the disturbing scenarios compared to the state-of-the-art interference detection approaches. The analysis results show that the proposed interference detection technique effectively overcomes the cross-terms problem and also preserves good TF localization properties, which has been proven to be effective and valid to enhance the interference detection performance of the GNSS receivers, particularly in the jamming environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
Open AccessArticle
A mRNA-Responsive G-Quadruplex-Based Drug Release System
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9388-9403; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409388 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3193
Abstract
G-quadruplex-based drug delivery carriers (GDDCs) were designed to capture and release a telomerase inhibitor in response to a target mRNA. Hybridization between a loop on the GDDC structure and the mRNA should cause the G-quadruplex structure of the GDDC to unfold and release [...] Read more.
G-quadruplex-based drug delivery carriers (GDDCs) were designed to capture and release a telomerase inhibitor in response to a target mRNA. Hybridization between a loop on the GDDC structure and the mRNA should cause the G-quadruplex structure of the GDDC to unfold and release the bound inhibitor, anionic copper(II) phthalocyanine (CuAPC). As a proof of concept, GDDCs were designed with a 10-30-mer loop, which can hybridize with a target sequence in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mRNA. Structural analysis using circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy showed that the GDDCs form a (3 + 1) type G-quadruplex structure in 100 mM KCl and 10 mM MgCl2 in the absence of the target RNA. Visible absorbance titration experiments showed that the GDDCs bind to CuAPC with Ka values of 1.5 × 105 to 5.9 × 105 M−1 (Kd values of 6.7 to 1.7 μM) at 25 °C, depending on the loop length. Fluorescence titration further showed that the G-quadruplex structure unfolds upon binding to the target RNA with Ka values above 1.0 × 108 M−1 (Kd values below 0.01 μM) at 25 °C. These results suggest the carrier can sense and bind to the target RNA, which should result in release of the bound drug. Finally, visible absorbance titration experiments demonstrated that the GDDC release CuAPC in response to the target RNA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next-Generation Nucleic Acid Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Study of Multi-Armed Bandits for Energy Conservation in Cognitive Radio Sensor Networks
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9360-9387; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409360 - 21 Apr 2015
Viewed by 2366
Abstract
Technological advances have led to the emergence of wireless sensor nodes in wireless networks. Sensor nodes are usually battery powered and hence have strict energy constraints. As a result, energy conservation is very important in the wireless sensor network protocol design and the [...] Read more.
Technological advances have led to the emergence of wireless sensor nodes in wireless networks. Sensor nodes are usually battery powered and hence have strict energy constraints. As a result, energy conservation is very important in the wireless sensor network protocol design and the limited power resources are the biggest challenge in wireless network channels. Link adaptation techniques improve the link quality by adjusting medium access control (MAC) parameters such as frame size, data rate, and sleep time, thereby improving energy efficiency. In this paper we present an adaptive packet size strategy for energy efficient wireless sensor networks. The main goal is to reduce power consumption and extend the whole network life. In order to achieve this goal, the paper introduces the concept of a bounded MAB to find the optimal packet size to transfer by formulating different packet sizes for different arms under the channel condition. At the same time, in achieve fast convergence, we consider the bandwidth evaluation according to ACK. The experiment shows that the packet size is adaptive when the channel quality changes and our algorithm can obtain the optimal packet size. We observe that the MAB packet size adaptation scheme achieves the best energy efficiency across the whole simulation duration in comparison with the fixed frame size scheme, the random packet size and the extended Kalman filter (EKF). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensor Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
Sensing Based on Fano-Type Resonance Response of All-Dielectric Metamaterials
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9344-9359; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409344 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2745
Abstract
A new sensing approach utilizing Mie resonances in metamaterial arrays composed of dielectric resonators is proposed. These arrays were found to exhibit specific, extremely high-Q factor (up to 15,000) resonances at frequencies corresponding to the lower edge of the array second transmission band. [...] Read more.
A new sensing approach utilizing Mie resonances in metamaterial arrays composed of dielectric resonators is proposed. These arrays were found to exhibit specific, extremely high-Q factor (up to 15,000) resonances at frequencies corresponding to the lower edge of the array second transmission band. The observed resonances possessed with features typical for Fano resonances (FRs), which were initially revealed in atomic processes and recently detected in macro-structures, where they resulted from interference between local resonances and a continuum of background waves. Our studies demonstrate that frequencies and strength of Fano-type resonances in all-dielectric arrays are defined by interaction between local Mie resonances and Fabry-Perot oscillations of Bloch eigenmodes that makes possible controlling the resonance responses by changing array arrangements. The opportunity for obtaining high-Q responses in compact arrays is investigated and promising designs for sensing the dielectric properties of analytes in the ambient are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metamaterial-Inspired Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Sparse Reconstruction Algorithm for Ultrasonic Images in Nondestructive Testing
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9324-9343; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409324 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2289
Abstract
Ultrasound imaging systems (UIS) are essential tools in nondestructive testing (NDT). In general, the quality of images depends on two factors: system hardware features and image reconstruction algorithms. This paper presents a new image reconstruction algorithm for ultrasonic NDT. The algorithm reconstructs images [...] Read more.
Ultrasound imaging systems (UIS) are essential tools in nondestructive testing (NDT). In general, the quality of images depends on two factors: system hardware features and image reconstruction algorithms. This paper presents a new image reconstruction algorithm for ultrasonic NDT. The algorithm reconstructs images from A-scan signals acquired by an ultrasonic imaging system with a monostatic transducer in pulse-echo configuration. It is based on regularized least squares using a l1 regularization norm. The method is tested to reconstruct an image of a point-like reflector, using both simulated and real data. The resolution of reconstructed image is compared with four traditional ultrasonic imaging reconstruction algorithms: B-scan, SAFT, !-k SAFT and regularized least squares (RLS). The method demonstrates significant resolution improvement when compared with B-scan—about 91% using real data. The proposed scheme also outperforms traditional algorithms in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
Open AccessArticle
Directly Estimating Endmembers for Compressive Hyperspectral Images
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9305-9323; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409305 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1908
Abstract
The large volume of hyperspectral images (HSI) generated creates huge challenges for transmission and storage, making data compression more and more important. Compressive Sensing (CS) is an effective data compression technology that shows that when a signal is sparse in some basis, only [...] Read more.
The large volume of hyperspectral images (HSI) generated creates huge challenges for transmission and storage, making data compression more and more important. Compressive Sensing (CS) is an effective data compression technology that shows that when a signal is sparse in some basis, only a small number of measurements are needed for exact signal recovery. Distributed CS (DCS) takes advantage of both intra- and inter- signal correlations to reduce the number of measurements needed for multichannel-signal recovery. HSI can be observed by the DCS framework to reduce the volume of data significantly. The traditional method for estimating endmembers (spectral information) first recovers the images from the compressive HSI and then estimates endmembers via the recovered images. The recovery step takes considerable time and introduces errors into the estimation step. In this paper, we propose a novel method, by designing a type of coherent measurement matrix, to estimate endmembers directly from the compressively observed HSI data via convex geometry (CG) approaches without recovering the images. Numerical simulations show that the proposed method outperforms the traditional method with better estimation speed and better (or comparable) accuracy in both noisy and noiseless cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors, Control, and Telemetry)
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Open AccessArticle
Online Learning Algorithm for Time Series Forecasting Suitable for Low Cost Wireless Sensor Networks Nodes
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9277-9304; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409277 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2607
Abstract
Time series forecasting is an important predictive methodology which can be applied to a wide range of problems. Particularly, forecasting the indoor temperature permits an improved utilization of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) systems in a home and thus a better [...] Read more.
Time series forecasting is an important predictive methodology which can be applied to a wide range of problems. Particularly, forecasting the indoor temperature permits an improved utilization of the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) systems in a home and thus a better energy efficiency. With such purpose the paper describes how to implement an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) algorithm in a low cost system-on-chip to develop an autonomous intelligent wireless sensor network. The present paper uses a Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) to monitor and forecast the indoor temperature in a smart home, based on low resources and cost microcontroller technology as the 8051MCU. An on-line learning approach, based on Back-Propagation (BP) algorithm for ANNs, has been developed for real-time time series learning. It performs the model training with every new data that arrive to the system, without saving enormous quantities of data to create a historical database as usual, i.e., without previous knowledge. Consequently to validate the approach a simulation study through a Bayesian baseline model have been tested in order to compare with a database of a real application aiming to see the performance and accuracy. The core of the paper is a new algorithm, based on the BP one, which has been described in detail, and the challenge was how to implement a computational demanding algorithm in a simple architecture with very few hardware resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensor Networks)
Open AccessArticle
The Use of the LanthaScreen TR-FRET CAR Coactivator Assay in the Characterization of Constitutive Androstane Receptor (CAR) Inverse Agonists
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9265-9276; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409265 - 21 Apr 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2728
Abstract
The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) is a critical nuclear receptor in the gene regulation of xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism. The LanthaScreenTM TR-FRET CAR coactivator assay provides a simple and reliable method to analyze the affinity of a ligand to the human CAR ligand-binding [...] Read more.
The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) is a critical nuclear receptor in the gene regulation of xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism. The LanthaScreenTM TR-FRET CAR coactivator assay provides a simple and reliable method to analyze the affinity of a ligand to the human CAR ligand-binding domain (LBD) with no need to use cellular models. This in silico assay thus enables the study of direct CAR ligands and the ability to distinguish them from the indirect CAR activators that affect the receptor via the cell signaling-dependent phosphorylation of CAR in cells. For the current paper we characterized the pharmacodynamic interactions of three known CAR inverse agonists/antagonists—PK11195, clotrimazole and androstenol—with the prototype agonist CITCO (6-(4-chlorophenyl)imidazo[2,1-b][1,3] thiazole-5-carbaldehyde-O-(3,4-dichlorobenzyl)oxime) using the TR-FRET LanthaScreenTM assay. We have confirmed that all three compounds are inverse agonists of human CAR, with IC50 0.51, 0.005, and 0.35 μM, respectively. All the compounds also antagonize the CITCO-mediated activation of CAR, but only clotrimazole was capable to completely reverse the effect of CITCO in the tested concentrations. Thus this method allows identifying not only agonists, but also antagonists and inverse agonists for human CAR as well as to investigate the nature of the pharmacodynamic interactions of CAR ligands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue FRET Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling of Nanoparticular Magnetoresistive Systems and the Impact on Molecular Recognition
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9251-9264; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409251 - 20 Apr 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2816
Abstract
The formation of magnetic bead or nanoparticle superstructures due to magnetic dipole dipole interactions can be used as configurable matter in order to realize low-cost magnetoresistive sensors with very high GMR-effect amplitudes. Experimentally, this can be realized by immersing magnetic beads or nanoparticles [...] Read more.
The formation of magnetic bead or nanoparticle superstructures due to magnetic dipole dipole interactions can be used as configurable matter in order to realize low-cost magnetoresistive sensors with very high GMR-effect amplitudes. Experimentally, this can be realized by immersing magnetic beads or nanoparticles in conductive liquid gels and rearranging them by applying suitable external magnetic fields. After gelatinization of the gel matrix the bead or nanoparticle positions are fixed and the resulting system can be used as a magnetoresistive sensor. In order to optimize such sensor structures we have developed a simulation tool chain that allows us not only to study the structuring process in the liquid state but also to rigorously calculate the magnetoresistive characteristic curves for arbitrary nanoparticle arrangements. As an application, we discuss the role of magnetoresistive sensors in finding answers to molecular recognition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Based Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Visual Object Recognition with 3D-Aware Features in KITTI Urban Scenes
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9228-9250; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409228 - 20 Apr 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3155
Abstract
Driver assistance systems and autonomous robotics rely on the deployment of several sensors for environment perception. Compared to LiDAR systems, the inexpensive vision sensors can capture the 3D scene as perceived by a driver in terms of appearance and depth cues. Indeed, providing [...] Read more.
Driver assistance systems and autonomous robotics rely on the deployment of several sensors for environment perception. Compared to LiDAR systems, the inexpensive vision sensors can capture the 3D scene as perceived by a driver in terms of appearance and depth cues. Indeed, providing 3D image understanding capabilities to vehicles is an essential target in order to infer scene semantics in urban environments. One of the challenges that arises from the navigation task in naturalistic urban scenarios is the detection of road participants (e.g., cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles). In this regard, this paper tackles the detection and orientation estimation of cars, pedestrians and cyclists, employing the challenging and naturalistic KITTI images. This work proposes 3D-aware features computed from stereo color images in order to capture the appearance and depth peculiarities of the objects in road scenes. The successful part-based object detector, known as DPM, is extended to learn richer models from the 2.5D data (color and disparity), while also carrying out a detailed analysis of the training pipeline. A large set of experiments evaluate the proposals, and the best performing approach is ranked on the KITTI website. Indeed, this is the first work that reports results with stereo data for the KITTI object challenge, achieving increased detection ratios for the classes car and cyclist compared to a baseline DPM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors in New Road Vehicles)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Silver Nano-Particle Ink in Electrode Fabrication of High Frequency Copolymer Ultrasonic Transducers: Modeling and Experimental Investigation
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9210-9227; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409210 - 20 Apr 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2499
Abstract
High frequency polymer-based ultrasonic transducers are produced with electrodes thicknesses typical for printed electrodes obtained from silver (Ag) nano-particle inks. An analytical three-port network is used to study the acoustic effects imposed by a thick electrode in a typical layered transducer configuration. Results [...] Read more.
High frequency polymer-based ultrasonic transducers are produced with electrodes thicknesses typical for printed electrodes obtained from silver (Ag) nano-particle inks. An analytical three-port network is used to study the acoustic effects imposed by a thick electrode in a typical layered transducer configuration. Results from the network model are compared to experimental findings for the implemented transducer configuration, to obtain a better understanding of acoustical effects caused by the additional printed mass loading. The proposed investigation might be supportive of identification of suitable electrode-depositing methods. It is also believed to be useful as a feasibility study for printed Ag-based electrodes in high frequency transducers, which may reduce both the cost and production complexity of these devices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Survey of MAC Protocols for Cognitive Radio Body Area Networks
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9189-9209; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409189 - 20 Apr 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2737
Abstract
The advancement in electronics, wireless communications and integrated circuits has enabled the development of small low-power sensors and actuators that can be placed on, in or around the human body. A wireless body area network (WBAN) can be effectively used to deliver the [...] Read more.
The advancement in electronics, wireless communications and integrated circuits has enabled the development of small low-power sensors and actuators that can be placed on, in or around the human body. A wireless body area network (WBAN) can be effectively used to deliver the sensory data to a central server, where it can be monitored, stored and analyzed. For more than a decade, cognitive radio (CR) technology has been widely adopted in wireless networks, as it utilizes the available spectra of licensed, as well as unlicensed bands. A cognitive radio body area network (CRBAN) is a CR-enabled WBAN. Unlike other wireless networks, CRBANs have specific requirements, such as being able to automatically sense their environments and to utilize unused, licensed spectra without interfering with licensed users, but existing protocols cannot fulfill them. In particular, the medium access control (MAC) layer plays a key role in cognitive radio functions, such as channel sensing, resource allocation, spectrum mobility and spectrum sharing. To address various application-specific requirements in CRBANs, several MAC protocols have been proposed in the literature. In this paper, we survey MAC protocols for CRBANs. We then compare the different MAC protocols with one another and discuss challenging open issues in the relevant research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensor Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring the Contractile Response of Isolated Tissue Using an Image Sensor
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9179-9188; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409179 - 20 Apr 2015
Viewed by 2047
Abstract
Isometric or isotonic transducers have traditionally been used to study the contractile/relaxation effects of drugs on isolated tissues. However, these mechanical sensors are expensive and delicate, and they are associated with certain disadvantages when performing experiments in the laboratory. In this paper, a [...] Read more.
Isometric or isotonic transducers have traditionally been used to study the contractile/relaxation effects of drugs on isolated tissues. However, these mechanical sensors are expensive and delicate, and they are associated with certain disadvantages when performing experiments in the laboratory. In this paper, a method that uses an image sensor to measure the contractile effect of drugs on blood vessel rings and other luminal organs is presented. The new method is based on an image-processing algorithm, and it provides a fast, easy and non-expensive way to analyze the effects of such drugs. In our tests, we have obtained dose-response curves from rat aorta rings that are equivalent to those achieved with classical mechanic sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Biomaterials and Sensors for Tissue Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Inertial Pocket Navigation System: Unaided 3D Positioning
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9156-9178; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409156 - 17 Apr 2015
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 3484
Abstract
Inertial navigation systems use dead-reckoning to estimate the pedestrian’s position. There are two types of pedestrian dead-reckoning, the strapdown algorithm and the step-and-heading approach. Unlike the strapdown algorithm, which consists of the double integration of the three orthogonal accelerometer readings, the step-and-heading approach [...] Read more.
Inertial navigation systems use dead-reckoning to estimate the pedestrian’s position. There are two types of pedestrian dead-reckoning, the strapdown algorithm and the step-and-heading approach. Unlike the strapdown algorithm, which consists of the double integration of the three orthogonal accelerometer readings, the step-and-heading approach lacks the vertical displacement estimation. We propose the first step-and-heading approach based on unaided inertial data solving 3D positioning. We present a step detector for steps up and down and a novel vertical displacement estimator. Our navigation system uses the sensor introduced in the front pocket of the trousers, a likely location of a smartphone. The proposed algorithms are based on the opening angle of the leg or pitch angle. We analyzed our step detector and compared it with the state-of-the-art, as well as our already proposed step length estimator. Lastly, we assessed our vertical displacement estimator in a real-world scenario. We found that our algorithms outperform the literature step and heading algorithms and solve 3D positioning using unaided inertial data. Additionally, we found that with the pitch angle, five activities are distinguishable: standing, sitting, walking, walking up stairs and walking down stairs. This information complements the pedestrian location and is of interest for applications, such as elderly care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Indoor Mapping and Navigation)
Open AccessArticle
Genetic Algorithm (GA)-Based Inclinometer Layout Optimization
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9136-9155; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409136 - 17 Apr 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2679
Abstract
This paper presents numerical simulation results of an airflow inclinometer with sensitivity studies and thermal optimization of the printed circuit board (PCB) layout for an airflow inclinometer based on a genetic algorithm (GA). Due to the working principle of the gas sensor, the [...] Read more.
This paper presents numerical simulation results of an airflow inclinometer with sensitivity studies and thermal optimization of the printed circuit board (PCB) layout for an airflow inclinometer based on a genetic algorithm (GA). Due to the working principle of the gas sensor, the changes of the ambient temperature may cause dramatic voltage drifts of sensors. Therefore, eliminating the influence of the external environment for the airflow is essential for the performance and reliability of an airflow inclinometer. In this paper, the mechanism of an airflow inclinometer and the influence of different ambient temperatures on the sensitivity of the inclinometer will be examined by the ANSYS-FLOTRAN CFD program. The results show that with changes of the ambient temperature on the sensing element, the sensitivity of the airflow inclinometer is inversely proportional to the ambient temperature and decreases when the ambient temperature increases. GA is used to optimize the PCB thermal layout of the inclinometer. The finite-element simulation method (ANSYS) is introduced to simulate and verify the results of our optimal thermal layout, and the results indicate that the optimal PCB layout greatly improves (by more than 50%) the sensitivity of the inclinometer. The study may be useful in the design of PCB layouts that are related to sensitivity improvement of gas sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Basic Characteristics of a Macroscopic Measure for Detecting Abnormal Changes in a Multiagent System
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9112-9135; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409112 - 17 Apr 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2116
Abstract
Multiagent application systems must deal with various changes in both the system and the system environment at runtime. Generally, such changes have undesirable negative effects on the system. To manage and control the system, it is important to observe and detect negative effects [...] Read more.
Multiagent application systems must deal with various changes in both the system and the system environment at runtime. Generally, such changes have undesirable negative effects on the system. To manage and control the system, it is important to observe and detect negative effects using an appropriate observation function of the system’s behavior. This paper focuses on the design of this function and proposes a new macroscopic measure with which to observe behavioral characteristics of a runtime multiagent system. The proposed measure is designed as the variance of fluctuation of a macroscopic activity factor of the whole system, based on theoretical analysis of the macroscopic behavioral model of a multiagent system. Experiments are conducted to investigate basic characteristics of the proposed measure, using a test bed system. The results of experiments show that the proposed measure reacts quickly and increases drastically in response to abnormal changes in the system. Hence, the proposed measure is considered a measure that can be used to detect undesirable changes in a multiagent system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Highly Sensitive and Selective Colorimetric and Off-On Fluorescent Reversible Chemosensors for Al3+ Based on the Rhodamine Fluorophore
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9097-9111; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409097 - 17 Apr 2015
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 3298
Abstract
A series of rhodamine derivatives L1L3 have been prepared and characterized by IR, 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR and ESI-MS. These compounds exhibited selective and sensitive “turn-on” fluorescent and colorimetric responses to Al3+ in methanol. Upon the addition of Al(III), the [...] Read more.
A series of rhodamine derivatives L1L3 have been prepared and characterized by IR, 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR and ESI-MS. These compounds exhibited selective and sensitive “turn-on” fluorescent and colorimetric responses to Al3+ in methanol. Upon the addition of Al(III), the spiro ring was opened and a metal-probe complex was formed in a 1:1 stoichiometry, as was further confirmed by ESI-MS spectroscopy. The chemo-dosimeters L1L3 exhibited good binding constants and low detection limits towards Al(III). We also successfully demonstrate the reversibility of the metal to ligand complexation (opened ring to spirolactam ring). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Sensors Contactless NDT of Concrete Structures
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9078-9096; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409078 - 17 Apr 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3304
Abstract
The utility of micro-electro-mechanical sensors (MEMS) for application in air-coupled (contactless or noncontact) sensing to concrete nondestructive testing (NDT) is studied in this paper. The fundamental operation and characteristics of MEMS are first described. Then application of MEMS sensors toward established concrete test [...] Read more.
The utility of micro-electro-mechanical sensors (MEMS) for application in air-coupled (contactless or noncontact) sensing to concrete nondestructive testing (NDT) is studied in this paper. The fundamental operation and characteristics of MEMS are first described. Then application of MEMS sensors toward established concrete test methods, including vibration resonance, impact-echo, ultrasonic surface wave, and multi-channel analysis of surface waves (MASW), is demonstrated. In each test application, the performance of MEMS is compared with conventional contactless and contact sensing technology. Favorable performance of the MEMS sensors demonstrates the potential of the technology for applied contactless NDT efforts. Objective: To illustrate the utility of air-coupled MEMS sensors for concrete NDT, as compared with conventional sensor technology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Multi-User Game-Theoretical Multipath Routing Protocol to Send Video-Warning Messages over Mobile Ad Hoc Networks
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9039-9077; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409039 - 17 Apr 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3883
Abstract
The prevention of accidents is one of the most important goals of ad hoc networks in smart cities. When an accident happens, dynamic sensors (e.g., citizens with smart phones or tablets, smart vehicles and buses, etc.) could shoot a video clip of the [...] Read more.
The prevention of accidents is one of the most important goals of ad hoc networks in smart cities. When an accident happens, dynamic sensors (e.g., citizens with smart phones or tablets, smart vehicles and buses, etc.) could shoot a video clip of the accident and send it through the ad hoc network. With a video message, the level of seriousness of the accident could be much better evaluated by the authorities (e.g., health care units, police and ambulance drivers) rather than with just a simple text message. Besides, other citizens would be rapidly aware of the incident. In this way, smart dynamic sensors could participate in reporting a situation in the city using the ad hoc network so it would be possible to have a quick reaction warning citizens and emergency units. The deployment of an efficient routing protocol to manage video-warning messages in mobile Ad hoc Networks (MANETs) has important benefits by allowing a fast warning of the incident, which potentially can save lives. To contribute with this goal, we propose a multipath routing protocol to provide video-warning messages in MANETs using a novel game-theoretical approach. As a base for our work, we start from our previous work, where a 2-players game-theoretical routing protocol was proposed to provide video-streaming services over MANETs. In this article, we further generalize the analysis made for a general number of N players in the MANET. Simulations have been carried out to show the benefits of our proposal, taking into account the mobility of the nodes and the presence of interfering traffic. Finally, we also have tested our approach in a vehicular ad hoc network as an incipient start point to develop a novel proposal specifically designed for VANETs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Smart Cities)
Open AccessArticle
Comparison of sEMG-Based Feature Extraction and Motion Classification Methods for Upper-Limb Movement
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9022-9038; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409022 - 16 Apr 2015
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 2998
Abstract
The surface electromyography (sEMG) technique is proposed for muscle activation detection and intuitive control of prostheses or robot arms. Motion recognition is widely used to map sEMG signals to the target motions. One of the main factors preventing the implementation of this kind [...] Read more.
The surface electromyography (sEMG) technique is proposed for muscle activation detection and intuitive control of prostheses or robot arms. Motion recognition is widely used to map sEMG signals to the target motions. One of the main factors preventing the implementation of this kind of method for real-time applications is the unsatisfactory motion recognition rate and time consumption. The purpose of this paper is to compare eight combinations of four feature extraction methods (Root Mean Square (RMS), Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (DFA), Weight Peaks (WP), and Muscular Model (MM)) and two classifiers (Neural Networks (NN) and Support Vector Machine (SVM)), for the task of mapping sEMG signals to eight upper-limb motions, to find out the relation between these methods and propose a proper combination to solve this issue. Seven subjects participated in the experiment and six muscles of the upper-limb were selected to record sEMG signals. The experimental results showed that NN classifier obtained the highest recognition accuracy rate (88.7%) during the training process while SVM performed better in real-time experiments (85.9%). For time consumption, SVM took less time than NN during the training process but needed more time for real-time computation. Among the four feature extraction methods, WP had the highest recognition rate for the training process (97.7%) while MM performed the best during real-time tests (94.3%). The combination of MM and NN is recommended for strict real-time applications while a combination of MM and SVM will be more suitable when time consumption is not a key requirement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Systems for Motion Capture and Interpretation)
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Open AccessArticle
An Ultrasonic Sensor System Based on a Two-Dimensional State Method for Highway Vehicle Violation Detection Applications
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 9000-9021; https://doi.org/10.3390/s150409000 - 16 Apr 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2982
Abstract
With the continuing growth of highway construction and vehicle use expansion all over the world, highway vehicle traffic rule violation (TRV) detection has become more and more important so as to avoid traffic accidents and injuries in intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and vehicular [...] Read more.
With the continuing growth of highway construction and vehicle use expansion all over the world, highway vehicle traffic rule violation (TRV) detection has become more and more important so as to avoid traffic accidents and injuries in intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs). Since very few works have contributed to solve the TRV detection problem by moving vehicle measurements and surveillance devices, this paper develops a novel parallel ultrasonic sensor system that can be used to identify the TRV behavior of a host vehicle in real-time. Then a two-dimensional state method is proposed, utilizing the spacial state and time sequential states from the data of two parallel ultrasonic sensors to detect and count the highway vehicle violations. Finally, the theoretical TRV identification probability is analyzed, and actual experiments are conducted on different highway segments with various driving speeds, which indicates that the identification accuracy of the proposed method can reach about 90.97%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors in New Road Vehicles)
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