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Sensors, Volume 21, Issue 13 (July-1 2021) – 370 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): With the scaling down of acoustic particle velocity sensors and the sensitivity enhancement package, acoustic horns are becoming smaller and smaller. For millimeter-sized acoustic horns, the influence of the velocity boundary layer effect is no longer neglectable, and the conventional horn model is gradually becoming less accurate. Chang et al. describe the design and optimization of small-sized acoustic horns designed for the MEMS-based thermal acoustic particle velocity sensor. The boundary layer effect was taken into consideration. A three-wire thermal acoustic particle velocity sensor was fabricated and packaged in the optimized double cone tube horn. Experiment results show that an amplification factor of 6.63 at 600 Hz and 6.93 at 1 kHz was achieved. View this paper.
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Article
Effect of the Geometrical Constraints to the Wenner Four-Point Electrical Resistivity Test of Reinforced Concrete Slabs
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4622; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134622 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 697
Abstract
The main objectives of this study are to evaluate the effect of geometrical constraints of plain concrete and reinforced concrete slabs on the Wenner four-point concrete electrical resistivity (ER) test through numerical and experimental investigation and to propose measurement recommendations for laboratory and [...] Read more.
The main objectives of this study are to evaluate the effect of geometrical constraints of plain concrete and reinforced concrete slabs on the Wenner four-point concrete electrical resistivity (ER) test through numerical and experimental investigation and to propose measurement recommendations for laboratory and field specimens. First, a series of numerical simulations was performed using a 3D finite element model to investigate the effects of geometrical constraints (the dimension of concrete slabs, the electrode spacing and configuration, and the distance of the electrode to the edges of concrete slabs) on ER measurements of concrete. Next, a reinforced concrete slab specimen (1500 mm (width) by 1500 mm (length) by 300 mm (thickness)) was used for experimental investigation and validation of the numerical simulation results. Based on the analytical and experimental results, it is concluded that measured ER values of regularly shaped concrete elements are strongly dependent on the distance-to-spacing ratio of ER probes (i.e., distance of the electrode in ER probes to the edges and/or the bottom of the concrete slabs normalized by the electrode spacing). For the plain concrete, it is inferred that the thickness of the concrete member should be at least three times the electrode spacing. In addition, the distance should be more than twice the electrode spacing to make the edge effect almost negligible. It is observed that the findings from the plain concrete are also valid for the reinforced concrete. However, for the reinforced concrete, the ER values are also affected by the presence of reinforcing steel and saturation of concrete, which could cause disruptions in ER measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Article
Internet-of-Things Devices in Support of the Development of Echoic Skills among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4621; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134621 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 432
Abstract
A significant therapeutic challenge for people with disabilities is the development of verbal and echoic skills. Digital voice assistants (DVAs), such as Amazon’s Alexa, provide networked intelligence to billions of Internet-of-Things devices and have the potential to offer opportunities to people, such as [...] Read more.
A significant therapeutic challenge for people with disabilities is the development of verbal and echoic skills. Digital voice assistants (DVAs), such as Amazon’s Alexa, provide networked intelligence to billions of Internet-of-Things devices and have the potential to offer opportunities to people, such as those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to advance these necessary skills. Voice interfaces can enable children with ASD to practice such skills at home; however, it remains unclear whether DVAs can be as proficient as therapists in recognizing utterances by a developing speaker. We developed an Alexa-based skill called ASPECT to measure how well the DVA identified verbalization by autistic children. The participants, nine children diagnosed with ASD, each participated in 30 sessions focused on increasing vocalizations and echoic responses. Children interacted with ASPECT prompted by instructions from an Echo device. ASPECT was trained to recognize utterances and evaluate them as a therapist would—simultaneously, a therapist scored the child’s responses. The study identified no significant difference between how ASPECT and the therapists scored participants; this conclusion held even when subsetting participants by a pre-treatment echoic skill assessment score. This indicates considerable potential for providing a continuum of therapeutic opportunities and reinforcement outside of clinical settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wireless Smart Sensors for Digital Healthcare and Assisted Living)
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Article
Automated Landslide-Risk Prediction Using Web GIS and Machine Learning Models
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4620; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134620 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Spatial susceptible landslide prediction is the one of the most challenging research areas which essentially concerns the safety of inhabitants. The novel geographic information web (GIW) application is proposed for dynamically predicting landslide risk in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The automated GIW system is [...] Read more.
Spatial susceptible landslide prediction is the one of the most challenging research areas which essentially concerns the safety of inhabitants. The novel geographic information web (GIW) application is proposed for dynamically predicting landslide risk in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The automated GIW system is coordinated between machine learning technologies, web technologies, and application programming interfaces (APIs). The new bidirectional long short-term memory (Bi-LSTM) algorithm is presented to forecast landslides. The proposed algorithm consists of 3 major steps, the first of which is the construction of a landslide dataset by using Quantum GIS (QGIS). The second step is to generate the landslide-risk model based on machine learning approaches. Finally, the automated landslide-risk visualization illustrates the likelihood of landslide via Google Maps on the website. Four static factors are considered for landslide-risk prediction, namely, land cover, soil properties, elevation and slope, and a single dynamic factor i.e., precipitation. Data are collected to construct a geospatial landslide database which comprises three historical landslide locations—Phu Chifa at Thoeng District, Ban Pha Duea at Mae Salong Nai, and Mai Salong Nok in Mae Fa Luang District, Chiang Rai, Thailand. Data collection is achieved using QGIS software to interpolate contour, elevation, slope degree and land cover from the Google satellite images, aerial and site survey photographs while the physiographic and rock type are on-site surveyed by experts. The state-of-the-art machine learning models have been trained i.e., linear regression (LR), artificial neural network (ANN), LSTM, and Bi-LSTM. Ablation studies have been conducted to determine the optimal parameters setting for each model. An enhancement method based on two-stage classifications has been presented to improve the landslide prediction of LSTM and Bi-LSTM models. The landslide-risk prediction performances of these models are subsequently evaluated using real-time dataset and it is shown that Bi-LSTM with Random Forest (Bi-LSTM-RF) yields the best prediction performance. Bi-LSTM-RF model has improved the landslide-risk predicting performance over LR, ANNs, LSTM, and Bi-LSTM in terms of the area under the receiver characteristic operator (AUC) scores by 0.42, 0.27, 0.46, and 0.47, respectively. Finally, an automated web GIS has been developed and it consists of software components including the trained models, rainfall API, Google API, and geodatabase. All components have been interfaced together via JavaScript and Node.js tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Sensors)
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Article
Research on Self-Balancing System of Autonomous Vehicles Based on Queuing Theory
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4619; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134619 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 608
Abstract
In order to explore the changes that autonomous vehicles on the road would bring to the current traffic and make full use of the intelligent features of autonomous vehicles, the article defines a self-balancing system of autonomous vehicles. Based on queuing theory and [...] Read more.
In order to explore the changes that autonomous vehicles on the road would bring to the current traffic and make full use of the intelligent features of autonomous vehicles, the article defines a self-balancing system of autonomous vehicles. Based on queuing theory and stochastic process, the self-balancing system model with self-balancing characteristics is established to balance the utilization rate of autonomous vehicles under the conditions of ensuring demand and avoiding an uneven distribution of vehicle resources in the road network. The performance indicators of the system are calculated by the MVA (Mean Value Analysis) method. The analysis results show that the self-balancing process could reduce the average waiting time of customers significantly in the system, alleviate the service pressure while ensuring travel demand, fundamentally solve the phenomenon of concentrated idleness after the use of vehicles in the current traffic, maximize the use of the mobile vehicles in the system, and realize the self-balancing of the traffic network while reducing environmental pollution and saving energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Vehicular Sensing)
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Article
Machine Learning for the Dynamic Positioning of UAVs for Extended Connectivity
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4618; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134618 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) networks are an emerging technology, useful not only for the military, but also for public and civil purposes. Their versatility provides advantages in situations where an existing network cannot support all requirements of its users, either because of an [...] Read more.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) networks are an emerging technology, useful not only for the military, but also for public and civil purposes. Their versatility provides advantages in situations where an existing network cannot support all requirements of its users, either because of an exceptionally big number of users, or because of the failure of one or more ground base stations. Networks of UAVs can reinforce these cellular networks where needed, redirecting the traffic to available ground stations. Using machine learning algorithms to predict overloaded traffic areas, we propose a UAV positioning algorithm responsible for determining suitable positions for the UAVs, with the objective of a more balanced redistribution of traffic, to avoid saturated base stations and decrease the number of users without a connection. The tests performed with real data of user connections through base stations show that, in less restrictive network conditions, the algorithm to dynamically place the UAVs performs significantly better than in more restrictive conditions, reducing significantly the number of users without a connection. We also conclude that the accuracy of the prediction is a very important factor, not only in the reduction of users without a connection, but also on the number of UAVs deployed. Full article
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Binding Domain as a Stable-Potential Target for SARS-CoV-2 Detection by Surface—Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4617; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134617 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 665
Abstract
In this work, we report a new approach for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein (RBD) using the surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) technique. The optical enhancement was obtained thanks to the preparation of nanostructured Ag/Au substrates. Fabricated Au/Ag nanostructures were used in the SERS experiment [...] Read more.
In this work, we report a new approach for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RBD protein (RBD) using the surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) technique. The optical enhancement was obtained thanks to the preparation of nanostructured Ag/Au substrates. Fabricated Au/Ag nanostructures were used in the SERS experiment for RBD protein detection. SERS substrates show higher capabilities and sensitivity to detect RBD protein in a short time (3 s) and with very low power. We were able to push the detection limit of proteins to a single protein detection level of 1 pM. The latter is equivalent to 1 fM as a detection limit of viruses. Additionally, we have shown that the SERS technique was useful to figure out the presence of RBD protein on antibody functionalized substrates. In this case, the SERS detection was based on protein-antibody recognition, which led to shifts in the Raman peaks and allowed signal discrimination between RBD and other targets such as Bovine serum albumin (BSA) protein. A perfect agreement between a 3D simulated model based on finite element method and experiment was reported confirming the SERS frequency shift potential for trace proteins detection. Our results could open the way to develop a new prototype based on SERS sensitivity and selectivity for rapid detection at a very low concentration of virus and even at a single protein level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surface Plasmon Sensors)
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Article
The Analysis of Emotion Authenticity Based on Facial Micromovements
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4616; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134616 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 629
Abstract
People tend to display fake expressions to conceal their true feelings. False expressions are observable by facial micromovements that occur for less than a second. Systems designed to recognize facial expressions (e.g., social robots, recognition systems for the blind, monitoring systems for drivers) [...] Read more.
People tend to display fake expressions to conceal their true feelings. False expressions are observable by facial micromovements that occur for less than a second. Systems designed to recognize facial expressions (e.g., social robots, recognition systems for the blind, monitoring systems for drivers) may better understand the user’s intent by identifying the authenticity of the expression. The present study investigated the characteristics of real and fake facial expressions of representative emotions (happiness, contentment, anger, and sadness) in a two-dimensional emotion model. Participants viewed a series of visual stimuli designed to induce real or fake emotions and were signaled to produce a facial expression at a set time. From the participant’s expression data, feature variables (i.e., the degree and variance of movement, and vibration level) involving the facial micromovements at the onset of the expression were analyzed. The results indicated significant differences in the feature variables between the real and fake expression conditions. The differences varied according to facial regions as a function of emotions. This study provides appraisal criteria for identifying the authenticity of facial expressions that are applicable to future research and the design of emotion recognition systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emotion Intelligence Based on Smart Sensing)
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Article
MIRRA: A Modular and Cost-Effective Microclimate Monitoring System for Real-Time Remote Applications
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4615; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134615 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Monitoring climate change, and its impacts on ecological, agricultural, and other societal systems, is often based on temperature data derived from official weather stations. Yet, these data do not capture most microclimates, influenced by soil, vegetation and topography, operating at spatial scales relevant [...] Read more.
Monitoring climate change, and its impacts on ecological, agricultural, and other societal systems, is often based on temperature data derived from official weather stations. Yet, these data do not capture most microclimates, influenced by soil, vegetation and topography, operating at spatial scales relevant to the majority of organisms on Earth. Detecting and attributing climate change impacts with confidence and certainty will only be possible by a better quantification of temperature changes in forests, croplands, mountains, shrublands, and other remote habitats. There is an urgent need for a novel, miniature and simple device filling the gap between low-cost devices with manual data download (no instantaneous data) and high-end, expensive weather stations with real-time data access. Here, we develop an integrative real-time monitoring system for microclimate measurements: MIRRA (Microclimate Instrument for Real-time Remote Applications) to tackle this problem. The goal of this platform is the design of a miniature and simple instrument for near instantaneous, long-term and remote measurements of microclimates. To that end, we optimised power consumption and transfer data using a cellular uplink. MIRRA is modular, enabling the use of different sensors (e.g., air and soil temperature, soil moisture and radiation) depending upon the application, and uses an innovative node system highly suitable for remote locations. Data from separate sensor modules are wirelessly sent to a gateway, thus avoiding the drawbacks of cables. With this sensor technology for the long-term, low-cost, real-time and remote sensing of microclimates, we lay the foundation and open a wide range of possibilities to map microclimates in different ecosystems, feeding a next generation of models. MIRRA is, however, not limited to microclimate monitoring thanks to its modular and wireless design. Within limits, it is suitable or any application requiring real-time data logging of power-efficient sensors over long periods of time. We compare the performance of this system to a reference system in real-world conditions in the field, indicating excellent correlation with data collected by established data loggers. This proof-of-concept forms an important foundation to creating the next version of MIRRA, fit for large scale deployment and possible commercialisation. In conclusion, we developed a novel wireless cost-effective sensor system for microclimates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wireless Sensors and IoT Platform in Large-Scale Infrastructures)
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Communication
DOA Estimation Based on Weighted l1-norm Sparse Representation for Low SNR Scenarios
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4614; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134614 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 406
Abstract
In this paper, a weighted l1-norm is proposed in a l1-norm-based singular value decomposition (L1-SVD) algorithm, which can suppress spurious peaks and improve accuracy of direction of arrival (DOA) estimation for the low signal-to-noise (SNR) scenarios. The weighted matrix [...] Read more.
In this paper, a weighted l1-norm is proposed in a l1-norm-based singular value decomposition (L1-SVD) algorithm, which can suppress spurious peaks and improve accuracy of direction of arrival (DOA) estimation for the low signal-to-noise (SNR) scenarios. The weighted matrix is determined by optimizing the orthogonality of subspace, and the weighted l1-norm is used as the minimum objective function to increase the signal sparsity. Thereby, the weighted matrix makes the l1-norm approximate the original l0-norm. Simulated results of orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) signal demonstrate that the proposed algorithm has s narrower main lobe and lower side lobe with the characteristics of fewer snapshots and low sensitivity of misestimated signals, which can improve the resolution and accuracy of DOA estimation. Specifically, the proposed method exhibits a better performance than other works for the low SNR scenarios. Outdoor experimental results of OFDM signals show that the proposed algorithm is superior to other methods with a narrower main lobe and lower side lobe, which can be used for DOA estimation of UAV and pseudo base station. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Article
Caries and Restoration Detection Using Bitewing Film Based on Transfer Learning with CNNs
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4613; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134613 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
Caries is a dental disease caused by bacterial infection. If the cause of the caries is detected early, the treatment will be relatively easy, which in turn prevents caries from spreading. The current common procedure of dentists is to first perform radiographic examination [...] Read more.
Caries is a dental disease caused by bacterial infection. If the cause of the caries is detected early, the treatment will be relatively easy, which in turn prevents caries from spreading. The current common procedure of dentists is to first perform radiographic examination on the patient and mark the lesions manually. However, the work of judging lesions and markings requires professional experience and is very time-consuming and repetitive. Taking advantage of the rapid development of artificial intelligence imaging research and technical methods will help dentists make accurate markings and improve medical treatments. It can also shorten the judgment time of professionals. In addition to the use of Gaussian high-pass filter and Otsu’s threshold image enhancement technology, this research solves the problem that the original cutting technology cannot extract certain single teeth, and it proposes a caries and lesions area analysis model based on convolutional neural networks (CNN), which can identify caries and restorations from the bitewing images. Moreover, it provides dentists with more accurate objective judgment data to achieve the purpose of automatic diagnosis and treatment planning as a technology for assisting precision medicine. A standardized database established following a defined set of steps is also proposed in this study. There are three main steps to generate the image of a single tooth from a bitewing image, which can increase the accuracy of the analysis model. The steps include (1) preprocessing of the dental image to obtain a high-quality binarization, (2) a dental image cropping procedure to obtain individually separated tooth samples, and (3) a dental image masking step which masks the fine broken teeth from the sample and enhances the quality of the training. Among the current four common neural networks, namely, AlexNet, GoogleNet, Vgg19, and ResNet50, experimental results show that the proposed AlexNet model in this study for restoration and caries judgments has an accuracy as high as 95.56% and 90.30%, respectively. These are promising results that lead to the possibility of developing an automatic judgment method of bitewing film. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perceptual Deep Learning in Image Processing and Computer Vision)
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Communication
An Improved Character Recognition Framework for Containers Based on DETR Algorithm
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4612; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134612 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
An improved DETR (detection with transformers) object detection framework is proposed to realize accurate detection and recognition of characters on shipping containers. ResneSt is used as a backbone network with split attention to extract features of different dimensions by multi-channel weight convolution operation, [...] Read more.
An improved DETR (detection with transformers) object detection framework is proposed to realize accurate detection and recognition of characters on shipping containers. ResneSt is used as a backbone network with split attention to extract features of different dimensions by multi-channel weight convolution operation, thus increasing the overall feature acquisition ability of the backbone. In addition, multi-scale location encoding is introduced on the basis of the original sinusoidal position encoding model, improving the sensitivity of input position information for the transformer structure. Compared with the original DETR framework, our model has higher confidence regarding accurate detection, with detection accuracy being improved by 2.6%. In a test of character detection and recognition with a self-built dataset, the overall accuracy can reach 98.6%, which meets the requirements of logistics information identification acquisition. Full article
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Article
A Study on the Failure Behavior of Sand Grain Contacts with Hertz Modeling, Image Processing, and Statistical Analysis
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4611; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134611 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
The crushing behavior of particles is encountered in a large number of natural and engineering systems, and it is important for it to be examined in problems related to hydraulic fracturing, where proppant–proppant and proppant–rock interactions are essential to be modeled as well [...] Read more.
The crushing behavior of particles is encountered in a large number of natural and engineering systems, and it is important for it to be examined in problems related to hydraulic fracturing, where proppant–proppant and proppant–rock interactions are essential to be modeled as well as geotechnical engineering problems, where grains may crush because the transmitted stresses at their contacts exceed their tensile strength. Despite the interest in the study of the crushing behavior of natural particles, most previous experimental works have examined the single-grain or multiple-grain crushing configurations, and less attention has been given in the laboratory investigation of the interactions of two grains in contact up to their failure as well as on the assessment of the methodology adopted to analyze the data. In the present study, a quartz sand of 1.18–2.36 mm in size was examined, performing a total of 244 grain-to-grain crushing tests at two different speeds, 0.01 and 1 mm/min. In order to calculate stresses from the measured forces, Hertz modeling was implemented to calculate an approximate contact area between the particles based on their local radii (i.e., the radius of the grains in the vicinity of their contact). Based on the results, three different modes of failure were distinguished as conservative, fragmentary, and destructive, corresponding to micro-scale, meso-scale, and macro-scale breakage, respectively. From the data, four different classes of curves could be identified. Class-A and class-B corresponded to an initially Hertzian behavior followed by a brittle failure with a distinctive (single) peak point. The occurrence of hardening prior to the failure point distinguished class-B from class-A. Two additional classes (termed as class-C and class-D) were observed having two or multiple peaks, and much larger displacements were necessary to mobilize the failure point. Hertz fitting, Weibull statistics, and clustering were further implemented to estimate the influence of local radius and elastic modulus values. One of the important observations was that the method of analysis adopted to estimate the local radius of the grains, based on manual assessment (i.e., eyeball fitting) or robust Matlab-based image processing, was a key factor influencing the resultant strength distribution and m-modulus, which are grain crushing strength characteristics. The results from the study were further compared with previously reported data on single- and multiple-grain crushing tests. Full article
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Article
Cyberattack on Flight Safety: Detection and Mitigation Using LoRa
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4610; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134610 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 620
Abstract
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is the main communication system currently being used in Air Traffic Control (ATC) around the world. The ADS-B system is planned to be a key component of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) NextGen plan, which will manage the increasingly [...] Read more.
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is the main communication system currently being used in Air Traffic Control (ATC) around the world. The ADS-B system is planned to be a key component of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) NextGen plan, which will manage the increasingly congested airspace in the coming decades. While the benefits of ADS-B are widely known, its lack of security measures and its vulnerability to cyberattacks such as jamming and spoofing is a great concern for flight safety experts. In this paper, we first summarize the cyberattacks and challenges related to ADS-B’s vulnerabilities. Thereafter, we present theoretical and practical methods for implementing an Internet of Things (IoT)-based system as a possible additional safety layer to mitigate the presented cyber-vulnerabilities. Finally, a set of simulations and field experiments is presented to test the expected performance of the suggested IoT flight safety system. We conjecture that the presented system can be implemented in a wide range of civilian airplanes, leading to an improvement in flight safety in cases of cyberattacks or the absence of reliable ADS-B communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Sensors)
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Article
Overall Profile Measurements of Tiny Parts with Complicated Features with the Cradle-Type Five-Axis System
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4609; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134609 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 465
Abstract
There are generally complex features with large curvature or narrow space on surfaces of complicated tiny parts, which makes high-precision measurements of their three-dimensional (3D) overall profiles a long-lasting industrial problem. This paper proposes a feasible measurement solution to this problem, by designing [...] Read more.
There are generally complex features with large curvature or narrow space on surfaces of complicated tiny parts, which makes high-precision measurements of their three-dimensional (3D) overall profiles a long-lasting industrial problem. This paper proposes a feasible measurement solution to this problem, by designing a cradle-type point-scanning five-axis measurement system. All the key technology of this system is also studied from the system construction to the actual measurement process, and the measurement accuracy is improved through error calibration and compensation. Finally, the feasibility is proved by engineering realization. The measurement capability of the system is verified by measuring workpieces such as cross cylinders and microtriangular pyramids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Article
A Vision-Based Social Distancing and Critical Density Detection System for COVID-19
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4608; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134608 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 675
Abstract
Social distancing (SD) is an effective measure to prevent the spread of the infectious Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, a lack of spatial awareness may cause unintentional violations of this new measure. Against this backdrop, we propose an active surveillance system to slow [...] Read more.
Social distancing (SD) is an effective measure to prevent the spread of the infectious Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, a lack of spatial awareness may cause unintentional violations of this new measure. Against this backdrop, we propose an active surveillance system to slow the spread of COVID-19 by warning individuals in a region-of-interest. Our contribution is twofold. First, we introduce a vision-based real-time system that can detect SD violations and send non-intrusive audio-visual cues using state-of-the-art deep-learning models. Second, we define a novel critical social density value and show that the chance of SD violation occurrence can be held near zero if the pedestrian density is kept under this value. The proposed system is also ethically fair: it does not record data nor target individuals, and no human supervisor is present during the operation. The proposed system was evaluated across real-world datasets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Machine Learning in Wireless Sensor Networks and Internet of Things)
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Article
Traffic Sign Recognition Evaluation for Senior Adults Using EEG Signals
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4607; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134607 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Elderly people are not likely to recognize road signs due to low cognitive ability and presbyopia. In our study, three shapes of traffic symbols (circles, squares, and triangles) which are most commonly used in road driving were used to evaluate the elderly drivers’ [...] Read more.
Elderly people are not likely to recognize road signs due to low cognitive ability and presbyopia. In our study, three shapes of traffic symbols (circles, squares, and triangles) which are most commonly used in road driving were used to evaluate the elderly drivers’ recognition. When traffic signs are randomly shown in HUD (head-up display), subjects compare them with the symbol displayed outside of the vehicle. In this test, we conducted a Go/Nogo test and determined the differences in ERP (event-related potential) data between correct and incorrect answers of EEG signals. As a result, the wrong answer rate for the elderly was 1.5 times higher than for the youths. All generation groups had a delay of 20–30 ms of P300 with incorrect answers. In order to achieve clearer differentiation, ERP data were modeled with unsupervised machine learning and supervised deep learning. The young group’s correct/incorrect data were classified well using unsupervised machine learning with no pre-processing, but the elderly group’s data were not. On the other hand, the elderly group’s data were classified with a high accuracy of 75% using supervised deep learning with simple signal processing. Our results can be used as a basis for the implementation of a personalized safe driving system for the elderly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomedical Sensors)
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Article
A Rail-Temperature-Prediction Model Based on Machine Learning: Warning of Train-Speed Restrictions Using Weather Forecasting
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4606; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134606 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 444
Abstract
Predicting the rail temperature of a railway system is important for establishing a rail management plan against railway derailment caused by orbital buckling. The rail temperature, which is directly responsible for track buckling, is closely related to air temperature, which continuously increases due [...] Read more.
Predicting the rail temperature of a railway system is important for establishing a rail management plan against railway derailment caused by orbital buckling. The rail temperature, which is directly responsible for track buckling, is closely related to air temperature, which continuously increases due to global warming effects. Moreover, railway systems are increasingly installed with continuous welded rails (CWRs) to reduce train vibration and noise. Unfortunately, CWRs are prone to buckling. This study develops a reliable and highly accurate novel model that can predict rail temperature using a machine learning method. To predict rail temperature over the entire network with high-prediction performance, the weather effect and solar effect features are used. These features originate from the analysis of the thermal environment around the rail. Precisely, the presented model has a higher performance for predicting high rail temperature than other models. As a convenient structural health-monitoring application, the train-speed-limit alarm-map (TSLAM) was also proposed, which visually maps the predicted rail-temperature deviations over the entire network for railway safety officers. Combined with TSLAM, our rail-temperature prediction model is expected to improve track safety and train timeliness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue AI-Oriented Sensing for Civil Engineering Applications)
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Article
Received Signal Strength Fingerprinting-Based Indoor Location Estimation Employing Machine Learning
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4605; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134605 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 548
Abstract
The fingerprinting technique is a popular approach to reveal location of persons, instruments or devices in an indoor environment. Typically based on signal strength measurement, a power level map is created first in the learning phase to align with measured values in the [...] Read more.
The fingerprinting technique is a popular approach to reveal location of persons, instruments or devices in an indoor environment. Typically based on signal strength measurement, a power level map is created first in the learning phase to align with measured values in the inference. Second, the location is determined by taking the point for which the recorded received power level is closest to the power level actually measured. The biggest limit of this technique is the reliability of power measurements, which may lack accuracy in many wireless systems. To this end, this work extends the power level measurement by using multiple anchors and multiple radio channels and, consequently, considers different approaches to aligning the actual measurements with the recorded values. The dataset is available online. This article focuses on the very popular radio technology Bluetooth Low Energy to explore the possible improvement of the system accuracy through different machine learning approaches. It shows how the accuracy–complexity trade-off influences the possible candidate algorithms on an example of three-channel Bluetooth received signal strength based fingerprinting in a one dimensional environment with four static anchors and in a two dimensional environment with the same set of anchors. We provide a literature survey to identify the machine learning algorithms applied in the literature to show that the studies available can not be compared directly. Then, we implement and analyze the performance of four most popular supervised learning techniques, namely k Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machines, Random Forest, and Artificial Neural Network. In our scenario, the most promising machine learning technique being the Random Forest with classification accuracy over 99%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Article
Improved Point-Line Feature Based Visual SLAM Method for Complex Environments
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4604; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134604 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 595
Abstract
Traditional visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) systems rely on point features to estimate camera trajectories. However, feature-based systems are usually not robust in complex environments such as weak textures or obvious brightness changes. To solve this problem, we used more environmental structure [...] Read more.
Traditional visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) systems rely on point features to estimate camera trajectories. However, feature-based systems are usually not robust in complex environments such as weak textures or obvious brightness changes. To solve this problem, we used more environmental structure information by introducing line segments features and designed a monocular visual SLAM system. This system combines points and line segments to effectively make up for the shortcomings of traditional positioning based only on point features. First, ORB algorithm based on local adaptive threshold was proposed. Subsequently, we not only optimized the extracted line features, but also added a screening step before the traditional descriptor matching to combine the point features matching results with the line features matching. Finally, the weighting idea was introduced. When constructing the optimized cost function, we allocated weights reasonably according to the richness and dispersion of features. Our evaluation on publicly available datasets demonstrated that the improved point-line feature method is competitive with the state-of-the-art methods. In addition, the trajectory graph significantly reduced drift and loss, which proves that our system increases the robustness of SLAM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensing and Imaging)
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Article
Virtual Sensoring of Motion Using Pontryagin’s Treatment of Hamiltonian Systems
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4603; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134603 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 511
Abstract
To aid the development of future unmanned naval vessels, this manuscript investigates algorithm options for combining physical (noisy) sensors and computational models to provide additional information about system states, inputs, and parameters emphasizing deterministic options rather than stochastic ones. The computational model is [...] Read more.
To aid the development of future unmanned naval vessels, this manuscript investigates algorithm options for combining physical (noisy) sensors and computational models to provide additional information about system states, inputs, and parameters emphasizing deterministic options rather than stochastic ones. The computational model is formulated using Pontryagin’s treatment of Hamiltonian systems resulting in optimal and near-optimal results dependent upon the algorithm option chosen. Feedback is proposed to re-initialize the initial values of a reformulated two-point boundary value problem rather than using state feedback to form errors that are corrected by tuned estimators. Four algorithm options are proposed with two optional branches, and all of these are compared to three manifestations of classical estimation methods including linear-quadratic optimal. Over ten-thousand simulations were run to evaluate each proposed method’s vulnerability to variations in plant parameters amidst typically noisy state and rate sensors. The proposed methods achieved 69–72% improved state estimation, 29–33% improved rate improvement, while simultaneously achieving mathematically minimal costs of utilization in guidance, navigation, and control decision criteria. The next stage of research is indicated throughout the manuscript: investigation of the proposed methods’ efficacy amidst unknown wave disturbances. Full article
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Article
Stream-Based Visually Lossless Data Compression Applying Variable Bit-Length ADPCM Encoding
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4602; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134602 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
Video applications have become one of the major services in the engineering field, which are implemented by server–client systems connected via the Internet, broadcasting services for mobile devices such as smartphones and surveillance cameras for security. Recently, the majority of video encoding mechanisms [...] Read more.
Video applications have become one of the major services in the engineering field, which are implemented by server–client systems connected via the Internet, broadcasting services for mobile devices such as smartphones and surveillance cameras for security. Recently, the majority of video encoding mechanisms to reduce the data rate are mainly lossy compression methods such as the MPEG format. However, when we consider special needs for high-speed communication such as display applications and object detection ones with high accuracy from the video stream, we need to address the encoding mechanism without any loss of pixel information, called visually lossless compression. This paper focuses on the Adaptive Differential Pulse Code Modulation (ADPCM) that encodes a data stream into a constant bit length per data element. However, the conventional ADPCM does not have any mechanism to control dynamically the encoding bit length. We propose a novel ADPCM that provides a mechanism with a variable bit-length control, called ADPCM-VBL, for the encoding/decoding mechanism. Furthermore, since we expect that the encoded data from ADPCM maintains low entropy, we expect to reduce the amount of data by applying a lossless data compression. Applying ADPCM-VBL and a lossless data compression, this paper proposes a video transfer system that controls throughput autonomously in the communication data path. Through evaluations focusing on the aspects of the encoding performance and the image quality, we confirm that the proposed mechanisms effectively work on the applications that needs visually lossless compression by encoding video stream in low latency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Sensors)
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Article
The Q-Pass Index: A Multifactorial IMUs-Based Tool to Assess Passing Skills in Basketball
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4601; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134601 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 264
Abstract
Despite being a key sport-specific characteristic in performance, there is no practical tool to assess the quality of the pass in basketball. The aim of this study is to develop a tool (the quality-pass index or Q-Pass) able to deliver a quantitative, practical [...] Read more.
Despite being a key sport-specific characteristic in performance, there is no practical tool to assess the quality of the pass in basketball. The aim of this study is to develop a tool (the quality-pass index or Q-Pass) able to deliver a quantitative, practical measure of passing skills quality based on a combination of accuracy, execution time and pass pattern variability. Temporal, kinematics and performance parameters were analysed in five different types of passes (chest, bounce, crossover, between-the-leg and behind-the-back) using a field-based test, video cameras and body-worn inertial sensors (IMUs). Data from pass accuracy, time and angular velocity were collected and processed in a custom-built excel spreadsheet. The Q-pass index (0–100 score) resulted from the sum of the three factors. Data were collected from 16 young basketball players (age: 16 ± 2 years) with high (experienced) and low (novice) level of expertise. Reliability analyses found the Q-pass index as a reliable tool in both novice (CV from 4.3 to 9.3%) and experienced players (CV from 2.8 to 10.2%). Besides, important differences in the Q-pass index were found between players’ level (p < 0.05), with the experienced showing better scores in all passing situations: behind-the-back (ES = 1.91), bounce (ES = 0.82), between-the-legs (ES = 1.11), crossover (ES = 0.58) and chest (ES = 0.94). According to these findings, the Q-pass index was sensitive enough to identify the differences in passing skills between young players with different levels of expertise, providing a numbering score for each pass executed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Technology for Sports Science)
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Article
Examples of the Use of the ARAMIS 3D Measurement System for the Susceptibility to Deformation Tests for the Selected Mixtures of Coal Mining Wastes
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4600; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134600 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 313
Abstract
This paper presents the ARAMIS 3D system and examples of deformation susceptibility test results made on mixtures of coal mining waste and recycled tire rubber bound with the use of hydraulic binders. The ARAMIS 3D system is a measurement tool based on 3D [...] Read more.
This paper presents the ARAMIS 3D system and examples of deformation susceptibility test results made on mixtures of coal mining waste and recycled tire rubber bound with the use of hydraulic binders. The ARAMIS 3D system is a measurement tool based on 3D scanning of the surface of the tested material. On the basis of the obtained 3D video image, the system allows for the continuous observation of the displacements occurring on the surface of the tested object during its load. This allows for a very detailed determination of the deformation distribution during the material loading. These types of measurement systems can be very useful, especially in the case of testing composite materials and testing materials under cyclic load conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Measurements in Geotechnical Engineering)
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Article
Behavioral Modeling of DC/DC Converters in Self-Powered Sensor Systems with Modelica
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4599; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134599 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 367
Abstract
DC/DC converters are the essential component of power management in applications such as self-powered systems. Their simulation plays an important role in the configuration, analysis and design. A major drawback is the lack of behavioral models for DC/DC converters for long-term simulations (days [...] Read more.
DC/DC converters are the essential component of power management in applications such as self-powered systems. Their simulation plays an important role in the configuration, analysis and design. A major drawback is the lack of behavioral models for DC/DC converters for long-term simulations (days or months). Available models are cycle-to-cycle-based due to the switch-mode nature of the converters and are therefore not applicable. In this work, we present a new behavioral model of a DC/DC power converter. The model is based on a thorough discussion of the model aspects that are relevant for self-powered systems, such as electrical representation and the causal connection if input and output. The model implementation is shown in the Modelica language and is available as an open-source library. The highlights of the model are a feedback controller for operation at the maximum power point (MPP), a loss-based efficiency function, and the start/stop behavior. The model’s capabilities are demonstrated in a 24h-experiment to predict voltage levels and the conversion efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Internet of Things)
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Article
A Sustainable Early Warning System Using Rolling Forecasts Based on ANN and Golden Ratio Optimization Methods to Accurately Predict Real-Time Water Levels and Flash Flood
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4598; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134598 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Remote monitoring sensor systems play a significant role in the evaluation and minimization of natural disasters and risk. This article presents a sustainable and real-time early warning system of sensors employed in flash flood prediction by using a rolling forecast model based on [...] Read more.
Remote monitoring sensor systems play a significant role in the evaluation and minimization of natural disasters and risk. This article presents a sustainable and real-time early warning system of sensors employed in flash flood prediction by using a rolling forecast model based on Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Golden Ratio Optimization (GROM) methods. This Early Flood Warning System (EFWS) aims to support decision makers by providing reliable and accurate information and warning about any possible flood events within an efficient lead-time to reduce any damages due to flash floods. In this work, to improve the performance of the EFWS, an ANN forecast model based on a new optimization method, GROM, is developed and compared to the traditional ANN model. Furthermore, due to the lack of literature regarding the optimal ANN structural model for forecasting the flash flood, this paper is one of the first extensive investigations into the impact of using different exogenous variables and parameters on the ANN structure. The effect of using a rolling forecast model compared to fixed model on the accuracy of the forecasts is investigated as well. The results indicate that the rolling ANN forecast model based on GROM successfully improved the model accuracy by 40% compared to the traditional ANN model and by 93.5% compared to the fixed forecast model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Intelligent Sensors)
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Article
A Multifeature Learning and Fusion Network for Facial Age Estimation
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4597; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134597 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 336
Abstract
Age estimation from face images has attracted much attention due to its favorable and many real-world applications such as video surveillance and social networking. However, most existing studies usually learn a single kind of age feature and ignore other appearance features such as [...] Read more.
Age estimation from face images has attracted much attention due to its favorable and many real-world applications such as video surveillance and social networking. However, most existing studies usually learn a single kind of age feature and ignore other appearance features such as gender and race, which have a great influence on the age pattern. In this paper, we proposed a compact multifeature learning and fusion method for age estimation. Specifically, we first used three subnetworks to learn gender, race, and age information. Then, we fused these complementary features to further form more robust features for age estimation. Finally, we engineered a regression-ranking age-feature estimator to convert the fusion features into the exact age numbers. Experimental results on three benchmark databases demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed method on facial age estimation in comparison to previous state-of-the-art methods. Moreover, compared with previous state-of-the-art methods, our model was more compact with only a 20 MB memory overhead and is suitable for deployment on mobile or embedded devices for age estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biometric Systems for Personal Human Recognition)
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Article
Classification Method of Uniform Circular Array Radar Ground Clutter Data Based on Chaotic Genetic Algorithm
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4596; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134596 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 324
Abstract
The classification and recognition of radar clutter is helpful to improve the efficiency of radar signal processing and target detection. In order to realize the effective classification of uniform circular array (UCA) radar clutter data, a classification method of ground clutter data based [...] Read more.
The classification and recognition of radar clutter is helpful to improve the efficiency of radar signal processing and target detection. In order to realize the effective classification of uniform circular array (UCA) radar clutter data, a classification method of ground clutter data based on the chaotic genetic algorithm is proposed. In this paper, the characteristics of UCA radar ground clutter data are studied, and then the statistical characteristic factors of correlation, non-stationery and range-Doppler maps are extracted, which can be used to classify ground clutter data. Based on the clustering analysis, results of characteristic factors of radar clutter data under different wave-controlled modes in multiple scenarios, we can see: in radar clutter clustering of different scenes, the chaotic genetic algorithm can save 34.61% of clustering time and improve the classification accuracy by 42.82% compared with the standard genetic algorithm. In radar clutter clustering of different wave-controlled modes, the timeliness and accuracy of the chaotic genetic algorithm are improved by 42.69% and 20.79%, respectively, compared to standard genetic algorithm clustering. The clustering experiment results show that the chaotic genetic algorithm can effectively classify UCA radar’s ground clutter data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Radar Sensors)
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Article
UAV Path Planning for Reconnaissance and Look-Ahead Coverage Support for Mobile Ground Vehicles
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4595; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134595 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 352
Abstract
Path planning of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance and look-ahead coverage support for mobile ground vehicles (MGVs) is a challenging task due to many unknowns being imposed by the MGVs’ variable velocity profiles, change in heading, and structural differences between the ground [...] Read more.
Path planning of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance and look-ahead coverage support for mobile ground vehicles (MGVs) is a challenging task due to many unknowns being imposed by the MGVs’ variable velocity profiles, change in heading, and structural differences between the ground and air environments. Few path planning techniques have been reported in the literature for multirotor UAVs that autonomously follow and support MGVs in reconnaissance missions. These techniques formulate the path planning problem as a tracking problem utilizing gimbal sensors to overcome the coverage and reconnaissance complexities. Despite their lack of considering additional objectives such as reconnaissance coverage and dynamic environments, they retain several drawbacks, including high computational requirements, hardware dependency, and low performance when the MGV has varying velocities. In this study, a novel 3D path planning technique for multirotor UAVs is presented, the enhanced dynamic artificial potential field (ED-APF), where path planning is formulated as both a follow and cover problem with nongimbal sensors. The proposed technique adopts a vertical sinusoidal path for the UAV that adapts relative to the MGV’s position and velocity, guided by the MGV’s heading for reconnaissance and exploration of areas and routes ahead beyond the MGV sensors’ range, thus extending the MGV’s reconnaissance capabilities. The amplitude and frequency of the sinusoidal path are determined to maximize the required look-ahead visual coverage quality in terms of pixel density and quantity pertaining to the area covered. The ED-APF was tested and validated against the general artificial potential field techniques for various simulation scenarios using Robot Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo-supported PX4-SITL. It demonstrated superior performance and showed its suitability for reconnaissance and look-ahead support to MGVs in dynamic and obstacle-populated environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Autonomy for Enabling the Next Generation of UAVs)
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Article
Tactowel: A Subtle Sports Performance Display for Giving Real-Time Performance Feedback in Tennis
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4594; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134594 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
Sports technology enhances athletes’ performance by providing feedback. However, interaction techniques of current devices may overwhelm athletes with excessive information or distract them from their performance. Despite previous research, design knowledge on how to interact with these devices to prevent such occasions are [...] Read more.
Sports technology enhances athletes’ performance by providing feedback. However, interaction techniques of current devices may overwhelm athletes with excessive information or distract them from their performance. Despite previous research, design knowledge on how to interact with these devices to prevent such occasions are scarce. To address this gap, we introduce subtle displays as real-time sports performance feedback output devices that unobtrusively present low-resolution information. In this paper, we conceptualize and apply subtle displays to tennis by designing Tactowel, a texture changing sports towel. We evaluate Tactowel through a remote user study with 8 professional tennis players, in which they experience, compare and discuss Tactowel. Our results suggest subtle displays could prevent overwhelming and distracting athletes through three distinct design strategies: (1) Restricting the use excluding duration of performance, (2) using the available routines and interactions, and (3) giving an overall abstraction through tangible interaction. We discuss these results to present design implications and future considerations for designing subtle displays. Full article
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Article
Molecular Monolayer Sensing Using Surface Plasmon Resonance and Angular Goos-Hänchen Shift
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4593; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134593 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 435
Abstract
We demonstrate potential molecular monolayer detection using measurements of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and angular Goos-Hänchen (GH) shift. Here, the molecular monolayer of interest is a benzenethiol self-assembled monolayer (BT-SAM) adsorbed on a gold (Au) substrate. Excitation of surface plasmons enhanced the GH [...] Read more.
We demonstrate potential molecular monolayer detection using measurements of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and angular Goos-Hänchen (GH) shift. Here, the molecular monolayer of interest is a benzenethiol self-assembled monolayer (BT-SAM) adsorbed on a gold (Au) substrate. Excitation of surface plasmons enhanced the GH shift which was dominated by angular GH shift because we focused the incident beam to a small beam waist making spatial GH shift negligible. For measurements in ambient, the presence of BT-SAM on a Au substrate induces hydrophobicity which decreases the likelihood of contamination on the surface allowing for molecular monolayer sensing. This is in contrast to the hydrophilic nature of a clean Au surface that is highly susceptible to contamination. Since our measurements were made in ambient, larger SPR angle than the expected value was measured due to the contamination in the Au substrate. In contrast, the SPR angle was smaller when BT-SAM coated the Au substrate due to the minimization of contaminants brought about by Au surface modification. Detection of the molecular monolayer acounts for the small change in the SPR angle from the expected value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Metamaterials or Plasmonics-Based Sensors)
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