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Sensors, Volume 21, Issue 4 (February-2 2021) – 534 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The PRISMA mission, funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), is an Earth Observation system with an innovative hyperspectral sensor with 240 bands, ranging between 400 and 2500 nm. In this paper, we compared for the first time PRISMA vs. the benchmark Sentinel-2 Multi-Spectral Instrument (MSI) imagery for forest-type discrimination. We used two different nomenclature systems through a pairwise separability analysis in two test areas in Tuscany (Italy). PRISMA imagery resulted in a better discrimination in all forest types, increasing the performance when increasing the complexity of the nomenclature system, with an average improvement of 40% against Sentinel-2 for the discrimination of coniferous vs. broadleaves and of 102% in the discrimination between five forest types based on main tree species groups. View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
Vulnerability and Impact Analysis of the IEC 61850 GOOSE Protocol in the Smart Grid
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1554; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041554 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 268
Abstract
IEC 61850 is one of the most prominent communication standards adopted by the smart grid community due to its high scalability, multi-vendor interoperability, and support for several input/output devices. Generic Object-Oriented Substation Events (GOOSE), which is a widely used communication protocol defined in [...] Read more.
IEC 61850 is one of the most prominent communication standards adopted by the smart grid community due to its high scalability, multi-vendor interoperability, and support for several input/output devices. Generic Object-Oriented Substation Events (GOOSE), which is a widely used communication protocol defined in IEC 61850, provides reliable and fast transmission of events for the electrical substation system. This paper investigates the security vulnerabilities of this protocol and analyzes the potential impact on the smart grid by rigorously analyzing the security of the GOOSE protocol using an automated process and identifying vulnerabilities in the context of smart grid communication. The vulnerabilities are tested using a real-time simulation and industry standard hardware-in-the-loop emulation. An in-depth experimental analysis is performed to demonstrate and verify the security weakness of the GOOSE publish-subscribe protocol towards the substation protection within the smart grid setup. It is observed that an adversary who might have familiarity with the substation network architecture can create falsified attack scenarios that can affect the physical operation of the power system. Extensive experiments using the real-time testbed validate the theoretical analysis, and the obtained experimental results prove that the GOOSE-based IEC 61850 compliant substation system is vulnerable to attacks from malicious intruders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cybersecurity and Privacy-Preserving in Modern Smart Grid)
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Open AccessArticle
Indirect Estimation of Vertical Ground Reaction Force from a Body-Mounted INS/GPS Using Machine Learning
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1553; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041553 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 231
Abstract
Vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) can be measured by force plates or instrumented treadmills, but their application is limited to indoor environments. Insoles remove this restriction but suffer from low durability (several hundred hours). Therefore, interest in the indirect estimation of vGRF using [...] Read more.
Vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) can be measured by force plates or instrumented treadmills, but their application is limited to indoor environments. Insoles remove this restriction but suffer from low durability (several hundred hours). Therefore, interest in the indirect estimation of vGRF using inertial measurement units and machine learning techniques has increased. This paper presents a methodology for indirectly estimating vGRF and other features used in gait analysis from measurements of a wearable GPS-aided inertial navigation system (INS/GPS) device. A set of 27 features was extracted from the INS/GPS data. Feature analysis showed that six of these features suffice to provide precise estimates of 11 different gait parameters. Bagged ensembles of regression trees were then trained and used for predicting gait parameters for a dataset from the test subject from whom the training data were collected and for a dataset from a subject for whom no training data were available. The prediction accuracies for the latter were significantly worse than for the first subject but still sufficiently good. K-nearest neighbor (KNN) and long short-term memory (LSTM) neural networks were then used for predicting vGRF and ground contact times. The KNN yielded a lower normalized root mean square error than the neural network for vGRF predictions but cannot detect new patterns in force curves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor-Based Information for Personalized Exercise and Training)
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Open AccessArticle
Fully Automated DCNN-Based Thermal Images Annotation Using Neural Network Pretrained on RGB Data
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1552; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041552 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 171
Abstract
One of the biggest challenges of training deep neural network is the need for massive data annotation. To train the neural network for object detection, millions of annotated training images are required. However, currently, there are no large-scale thermal image datasets that could [...] Read more.
One of the biggest challenges of training deep neural network is the need for massive data annotation. To train the neural network for object detection, millions of annotated training images are required. However, currently, there are no large-scale thermal image datasets that could be used to train the state of the art neural networks, while voluminous RGB image datasets are available. This paper presents a method that allows to create hundreds of thousands of annotated thermal images using the RGB pre-trained object detector. A dataset created in this way can be used to train object detectors with improved performance. The main gain of this work is the novel method for fully automatic thermal image labeling. The proposed system uses the RGB camera, thermal camera, 3D LiDAR, and the pre-trained neural network that detects objects in the RGB domain. Using this setup, it is possible to run the fully automated process that annotates the thermal images and creates the automatically annotated thermal training dataset. As the result, we created a dataset containing hundreds of thousands of annotated objects. This approach allows to train deep learning models with similar performance as the common human-annotation-based methods do. This paper also proposes several improvements to fine-tune the results with minimal human intervention. Finally, the evaluation of the proposed solution shows that the method gives significantly better results than training the neural network with standard small-scale hand-annotated thermal image datasets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Data Processing in Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle
Accuracy Analysis of International Reference Ionosphere 2016 and NeQuick2 in the Antarctic
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1551; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041551 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 217
Abstract
Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) can provide dual-frequency observation data, which can be used to effectively calculate total electron content (TEC). Numerical studies have utilized GNSS-derived TEC to evaluate the accuracy of ionospheric empirical models, such as the International Reference Ionosphere model (IRI) [...] Read more.
Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) can provide dual-frequency observation data, which can be used to effectively calculate total electron content (TEC). Numerical studies have utilized GNSS-derived TEC to evaluate the accuracy of ionospheric empirical models, such as the International Reference Ionosphere model (IRI) and the NeQuick model. However, most studies have evaluated vertical TEC rather than slant TEC (STEC), which resulted in the introduction of projection error. Furthermore, since there are few GNSS observation stations available in the Antarctic region and most are concentrated in the Antarctic continent edge, it is difficult to evaluate modeling accuracy within the entire Antarctic range. Considering these problems, in this study, GNSS STEC was calculated using dual-frequency observation data from stations that almost covered the Antarctic continent. By comparison with GNSS STEC, the accuracy of IRI-2016 and NeQuick2 at different latitudes and different solar radiation was evaluated during 2016–2017. The numerical results showed the following. (1) Both IRI-2016 and NeQuick2 underestimated the STEC. Since IRI-2016 utilizes new models to represent the F2-peak height (hmF2) directly, the IRI-2016 STEC is closer to GNSS STEC than NeQuick2. This conclusion was also confirmed by the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC) occultation data. (2) The differences in STEC of the two models are both normally distributed, and the NeQuick2 STEC is systematically biased as solar radiation increases. (3) The root mean square error (RMSE) of the IRI-2016 STEC is smaller than that of the NeQuick2 model, and the RMSE of the two modeling STEC increases with solar radiation intensity. Since IRI-2016 relies on new hmF2 models, it is more stable than NeQuick2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Chromium Compensated GaAs Sensors with the Charge-Integrating JUNGFRAU Readout Chip by Means of a Highly Collimated Pencil Beam
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041550 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 210
Abstract
Chromium compensated GaAs or GaAs:Cr sensors provided by the Tomsk State University (Russia) were characterized using the low noise, charge integrating readout chip JUNGFRAU with a pixel pitch of 75 × 75 µm2 regarding its application as an X-ray detector at synchrotrons [...] Read more.
Chromium compensated GaAs or GaAs:Cr sensors provided by the Tomsk State University (Russia) were characterized using the low noise, charge integrating readout chip JUNGFRAU with a pixel pitch of 75 × 75 µm2 regarding its application as an X-ray detector at synchrotrons sources or FELs. Sensor properties such as dark current, resistivity, noise performance, spectral resolution capability and charge transport properties were measured and compared with results from a previous batch of GaAs:Cr sensors which were produced from wafers obtained from a different supplier. The properties of the sample from the later batch of sensors from 2017 show a resistivity of 1.69 × 109 Ω/cm, which is 47% higher compared to the previous batch from 2016. Moreover, its noise performance is 14% lower with a value of (101.65 ± 0.04) e ENC and the resolution of a monochromatic 60 keV photo peak is significantly improved by 38% to a FWHM of 4.3%. Likely, this is due to improvements in charge collection, lower noise, and more homogeneous effective pixel size. In a previous work, a hole lifetime of 1.4 ns for GaAs:Cr sensors was determined for the sensors of the 2016 sensor batch, explaining the so-called “crater effect” which describes the occurrence of negative signals in the pixels around a pixel with a photon hit due to the missing hole contribution to the overall signal causing an incomplete signal induction. In this publication, the “crater effect” is further elaborated by measuring GaAs:Cr sensors using the sensors from 2017. The hole lifetime of these sensors was 2.5 ns. A focused photon beam was used to illuminate well defined positions along the pixels in order to corroborate the findings from the previous work and to further characterize the consequences of the “crater effect” on the detector operation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sensor Modeling for Underwater Localization Using a Particle Filter
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1549; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041549 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 220
Abstract
This paper presents a framework for processing, modeling, and fusing underwater sensor signals to provide a reliable perception for underwater localization in structured environments. Submerged sensory information is often affected by diverse sources of uncertainty that can deteriorate the positioning and tracking. By [...] Read more.
This paper presents a framework for processing, modeling, and fusing underwater sensor signals to provide a reliable perception for underwater localization in structured environments. Submerged sensory information is often affected by diverse sources of uncertainty that can deteriorate the positioning and tracking. By adopting uncertain modeling and multi-sensor fusion techniques, the framework can maintain a coherent representation of the environment, filtering outliers, inconsistencies in sequential observations, and useless information for positioning purposes. We evaluate the framework using cameras and range sensors for modeling uncertain features that represent the environment around the vehicle. We locate the underwater vehicle using a Sequential Monte Carlo (SMC) method initialized from the GPS location obtained on the surface. The experimental results show that the framework provides a reliable environment representation during the underwater navigation to the localization system in real-world scenarios. Besides, they evaluate the improvement of localization compared to the position estimation using reliable dead-reckoning systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Sensing Systems for Vehicle)
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Open AccessCommunication
Research and Fabrication of Broadband Ring Flextensional Underwater Transducer
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1548; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041548 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 213
Abstract
At present, high-speed underwater acoustic communication requires underwater transducers with the characteristics of low frequency and broadband. The low-frequency transducers also are expected to be low-frequency directional for realization of point-to-point communication. In order to achieve the above targets, this paper proposes a [...] Read more.
At present, high-speed underwater acoustic communication requires underwater transducers with the characteristics of low frequency and broadband. The low-frequency transducers also are expected to be low-frequency directional for realization of point-to-point communication. In order to achieve the above targets, this paper proposes a new type of flextensional transducer which is constructed of double mosaic piezoelectric ceramic rings and spherical cap metal shells. The transducer realizes broadband transmission by means of the coupling between radial vibration of the piezoelectric rings and high-order flexural vibration of the spherical cap metal shells. The low-frequency directional transmission of the transducer is realized by using excitation signals with different amplitude and phase on two mosaic piezoelectric rings. The relationship between transmitting voltage response (TVR), resonance frequency and structural parameters of the transducer is analyzed by finite element software COMSOL. The broadband performance of the transducer is also optimized. On this basis, the low-frequency directivity of the transducer is further analyzed and the ratio of the excitation signals of the two piezoelectric rings is obtained. Finally, a prototype of the broadband ring flextensional underwater transducer is fabricated according to the results of simulation. The electroacoustic performance of the transducer is tested in an anechoic water tank. Experimental results show that the maximum TVR of the transducer is 147.2 dB and the operation bandwidth is 1.5–4 kHz, which means that the transducer has good low-frequency, broadband transmission capability. Meanwhile, cardioid directivity is obtained at 1.4 kHz and low-frequency directivity is realized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Underwater Acoustic Sensors and Applications)
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Open AccessCommunication
Preliminary Investigation on Systems for the Preventive Diagnosis of Faults on Agricultural Operating Machines
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1547; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041547 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 198
Abstract
This paper aims to investigate failures induced by vibrations on machines, focusing on agricultural ones. The research on literature has brought to light a considerable amount of data on the driven vehicles and not much on the operating machines, including the ones that [...] Read more.
This paper aims to investigate failures induced by vibrations on machines, focusing on agricultural ones. The research on literature has brought to light a considerable amount of data on the driven vehicles and not much on the operating machines, including the ones that we looked for. For this reason, it was decided to direct a survey with the people who work with agricultural machinery every day: operators, sub-contractors, and producers. They were asked about the most frequent breakage, particularly in relation to the rotary harrow, the topic of this work. The questionnaire results showed the types of failures the harrow is most vulnerable to, indicating the times of failure and reparation and the need to set up a potentially useful preventive maintenance supporting system on these machines. Part of the work was then focused on the proposition of a method to investigate bearing failures in the rotary harrow, considering that these have been analyzed in the technical literature and in the survey as the most at-risk components. The proposed method in this work serves as a beginning for the development of a future on board sent-shore-based maintenance system for continuous monitoring of the bearing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Self-Powered Wireless Sensor Using a Pressure Fluctuation Energy Harvester
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1546; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041546 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 190
Abstract
Condition monitoring devices in hydraulic systems that use batteries or require wired infrastructure have drawbacks that affect their installation, maintenance costs, and deployment flexibility. Energy harvesting technologies can serve as an alternative power supply for system loads, eliminating batteries and wiring requirements. Despite [...] Read more.
Condition monitoring devices in hydraulic systems that use batteries or require wired infrastructure have drawbacks that affect their installation, maintenance costs, and deployment flexibility. Energy harvesting technologies can serve as an alternative power supply for system loads, eliminating batteries and wiring requirements. Despite the interest in pressure fluctuation energy harvesters, few studies consider end-to-end implementations, especially for cases with low-amplitude pressure fluctuations. This generates a research gap regarding the practical amount of energy available to the load under these conditions, as well as interface circuit requirements and techniques for efficient energy conversion. In this paper, we present a self-powered sensor that integrates an energy harvester and a wireless sensing system. The energy harvester converts pressure fluctuations in hydraulic systems into electrical energy using an acoustic resonator, a piezoelectric stack, and an interface circuit. The prototype wireless sensor consists of an industrial pressure sensor and a low-power Bluetooth System-on-chip that samples and wirelessly transmits pressure data. We present a subsystem analysis and a full system implementation that considers hydraulic systems with pressure fluctuation amplitudes of less than 1 bar and frequencies of less than 300 Hz. The study examines the frequency response of the energy harvester, the performance of the interface circuit, and the advantages of using an active power improvement unit adapted for piezoelectric stacks. We show that the interface circuit used improves the performance of the energy harvester compared to previous similar studies, showing more power generation compared to the standard interface. Experimental measurements show that the self-powered sensor system can start up by harvesting energy from pressure fluctuations with amplitudes starting at 0.2 bar at 200 Hz. It can also sample and transmit sensor data at a rate of 100 Hz at 0.7 bar at 200 Hz. The system is implemented with off-the-shelf circuits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low-Power Wireless Sensor Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
Diurnal Physical Activity Patterns across Ages in a Large UK Based Cohort: The UK Biobank Study
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1545; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041545 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 195
Abstract
The ability of individuals to engage in physical activity is a critical component of overall health and quality of life. However, there is a natural decline in physical activity associated with the aging process. Establishing normative trends of physical activity in aging populations [...] Read more.
The ability of individuals to engage in physical activity is a critical component of overall health and quality of life. However, there is a natural decline in physical activity associated with the aging process. Establishing normative trends of physical activity in aging populations is essential to developing public health guidelines and informing clinical perspectives regarding individuals’ levels of physical activity. Beyond overall quantity of physical activity, patterns regarding the timing of activity provide additional insights into latent health status. Wearable accelerometers, paired with statistical methods from functional data analysis, provide the means to estimate diurnal patterns in physical activity. To date, these methods have been only applied to study aging trends in populations based in the United States. Here, we apply curve registration and functional regression to 24 h activity profiles for 88,793 men (N = 39,255) and women (N = 49,538) ages 42–78 from the UK Biobank accelerometer study to understand how physical activity patterns vary across ages and by gender. Our analysis finds that daily patterns in both the volume of physical activity and probability of being active change with age, and that there are marked gender differences in these trends. This work represents the largest-ever population analyzed using tools of this kind, and suggest that aging trends in physical activity are reproducible in different populations across countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Devices: Applications in Older Adults)
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Open AccessArticle
Invariant Image Representation Using Novel Fractional-Order Polar Harmonic Fourier Moments
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1544; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041544 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 154
Abstract
Continuous orthogonal moments, for which continuous functions are used as kernel functions, are invariant to rotation and scaling, and they have been greatly developed over the recent years. Among continuous orthogonal moments, polar harmonic Fourier moments (PHFMs) have superior performance and strong image [...] Read more.
Continuous orthogonal moments, for which continuous functions are used as kernel functions, are invariant to rotation and scaling, and they have been greatly developed over the recent years. Among continuous orthogonal moments, polar harmonic Fourier moments (PHFMs) have superior performance and strong image description ability. In order to improve the performance of PHFMs in noise resistance and image reconstruction, PHFMs, which can only take integer numbers, are extended to fractional-order polar harmonic Fourier moments (FrPHFMs) in this paper. Firstly, the radial polynomials of integer-order PHFMs are modified to obtain fractional-order radial polynomials, and FrPHFMs are constructed based on the fractional-order radial polynomials; subsequently, the strong reconstruction ability, orthogonality, and geometric invariance of the proposed FrPHFMs are proven; and, finally, the performance of the proposed FrPHFMs is compared with that of integer-order PHFMs, fractional-order radial harmonic Fourier moments (FrRHFMs), fractional-order polar harmonic transforms (FrPHTs), and fractional-order Zernike moments (FrZMs). The experimental results show that the FrPHFMs constructed in this paper are superior to integer-order PHFMs and other fractional-order continuous orthogonal moments in terms of performance in image reconstruction and object recognition, as well as that the proposed FrPHFMs have strong image description ability and good stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensing and Imaging)
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Open AccessArticle
Kalman Filter-Based Fusion of Collocated Acceleration, GNSS and Rotation Data for 6C Motion Tracking
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1543; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041543 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 201
Abstract
The ground motion of an earthquake or the ambient motion of a large engineered structure not only has translational motion, but it also includes rotation around all three axes. No current sensor can record all six components, while the fusion of individual instruments [...] Read more.
The ground motion of an earthquake or the ambient motion of a large engineered structure not only has translational motion, but it also includes rotation around all three axes. No current sensor can record all six components, while the fusion of individual instruments that could provide such recordings, such as accelerometers or Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers, and rotational sensors, is non-trivial. We propose achieving such a fusion via a six-component (6C) Kalman filter (KF) that is suitable for structural monitoring applications, as well as earthquake monitoring. In order to develop and validate this methodology, we have set up an experimental case study, relying on the use of an industrial six-axis robot arm, on which the instruments are mounted. The robot simulates the structural motion resulting atop a wind-excited wind turbine tower. The quality of the 6C KF reconstruction is assessed by comparing the estimated response to the feedback system of the robot, which performed the experiments. The fusion of rotational information yields significant improvement for both the acceleration recordings but also the GNSS positions, as evidenced via the substantial reduction of the RMSE, expressed as the difference between the KF predictions and robot feedback. This work puts forth, for the first time, a KF-based fusion for all six motion components, validated against a high-precision ground truth measurement. The proposed filter formulation is able to exploit the strengths of each instrument and recover more precise motion estimates that can be exploited for multiple purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rotation Rate Sensors and Their Applications)
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Open AccessReview
Planar Phase-Variation Microwave Sensors for Material Characterization: A Review and Comparison of Various Approaches
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1542; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041542 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 169
Abstract
Planar phase-variation microwave sensors have attracted increasing interest in recent years since they combine the advantages of planar technology (including low cost, low profile, and sensor integration with the associated circuitry for post-processing and communication purposes, among others) and the possibility of operation [...] Read more.
Planar phase-variation microwave sensors have attracted increasing interest in recent years since they combine the advantages of planar technology (including low cost, low profile, and sensor integration with the associated circuitry for post-processing and communication purposes, among others) and the possibility of operation at a single frequency (thereby reducing the costs of the associated electronics). This paper reviews and compares three different strategies for sensitivity improvement in such phase-variation sensors (devoted to material characterization). The considered approaches include line elongation (through meandering), dispersion engineering (by considering slow-wave artificial transmission lines), and reflective-mode sensors based on step-impedance open-ended lines. It is shown that unprecedented sensitivities compatible with small sensing regions are achievable with the latter approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Physical Sensors Section 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Performance Evaluation of a Bevameter for Measuring Soil Strength
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1541; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041541 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 161
Abstract
The driving performance of an off-road vehicle is closely related to soil strength. A bevameter is used to measure the soil strength, and it usually consists of two independent devices: a pressure–sinkage test device and a shear test device. However, its development and [...] Read more.
The driving performance of an off-road vehicle is closely related to soil strength. A bevameter is used to measure the soil strength, and it usually consists of two independent devices: a pressure–sinkage test device and a shear test device. However, its development and measurement processes have not been standardized; thus, researchers apply it in various fields according to their own discretion. In this study, a new bevameter was developed, and experiments were conducted to clarify the factors that affect the measurement performance of the bevameter. The pressure–sinkage test device was tested with circular plates of different sizes, and the results confirmed that the pressure–sinkage parameters decreased with the plate size. For the shear-test device, normal pressure was applied using a dead load to prevent normal-pressure variation due to displacement and speed. In addition, a spline was installed on top of the shaft connected to the shear ring to measure slip sinkage during the shear test. The results showed that the slip sinkage increased in proportion to the normal pressure and slip displacement, but the increase gradually decreased and converged to a certain point. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
Open AccessArticle
Using Secure Multi-Party Computation to Protect Privacy on a Permissioned Blockchain
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1540; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041540 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 197
Abstract
The development of information technology has brought great convenience to our lives, but at the same time, the unfairness and privacy issues brought about by traditional centralized systems cannot be ignored. Blockchain is a peer-to-peer and decentralized ledger technology that has the characteristics [...] Read more.
The development of information technology has brought great convenience to our lives, but at the same time, the unfairness and privacy issues brought about by traditional centralized systems cannot be ignored. Blockchain is a peer-to-peer and decentralized ledger technology that has the characteristics of transparency, consistency, traceability and fairness, but it reveals private information in some scenarios. Secure multi-party computation (MPC) guarantees enhanced privacy and correctness, so many researchers have been trying to combine secure MPC with blockchain to deal with privacy and trust issues. In this paper, we used homomorphic encryption, secret sharing and zero-knowledge proofs to construct a publicly verifiable secure MPC protocol consisting of two parts—an on-chain computation phase and an off-chain preprocessing phase—and we integrated the protocol as part of the chaincode in Hyperledger Fabric to protect the privacy of transaction data. Experiments showed that our solution performed well on a permissioned blockchain. Most of the time taken to complete the protocol was spent on communication, so the performance has a great deal of room to grow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Internet of Things)
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Open AccessLetter
Nonlinear Ride Height Control of Active Air Suspension System with Output Constraints and Time-Varying Disturbances
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1539; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041539 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 165
Abstract
This paper addresses the problem of nonlinear height tracking control of an automobile active air suspension with the output state constraints and time-varying disturbances. The proposed control strategy guarantees that the ride height stays within a predefined range, and converges closely to an [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the problem of nonlinear height tracking control of an automobile active air suspension with the output state constraints and time-varying disturbances. The proposed control strategy guarantees that the ride height stays within a predefined range, and converges closely to an arbitrarily small neighborhood of the desired height, ensuring uniform ultimate boundedness. The designed nonlinear observer is able to compensate for the time-varying disturbances caused by external random road excitation and perturbations, achieving robust performance. Simulation results obtained from the co-simulation (AMESim-Matlab/Simulink) are given and analyzed, demonstrating the efficiency of the proposed control methodology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Intelligent Vehicle Control)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of the NHI (Normalized Hot Spot Indices) Algorithm on Infrared ASTER Data: Results and Future Perspectives
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1538; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041538 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 153
Abstract
The Normalized Hotspot Indices (NHI) tool is a Google Earth Engine (GEE)-App developed to investigate and map worldwide volcanic thermal anomalies in daylight conditions, using shortwave infrared (SWIR) and near infrared (NIR) data from the Multispectral Instrument (MSI) and the Operational Land Imager [...] Read more.
The Normalized Hotspot Indices (NHI) tool is a Google Earth Engine (GEE)-App developed to investigate and map worldwide volcanic thermal anomalies in daylight conditions, using shortwave infrared (SWIR) and near infrared (NIR) data from the Multispectral Instrument (MSI) and the Operational Land Imager (OLI), respectively, onboard the Sentinel 2 and Landsat 8 satellites. The NHI tool offers the possibility of ingesting data from other sensors. In this direction, we tested the NHI algorithm for the first time on Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data. In this study, we show the results of this preliminary implementation, achieved investigating the Kilauea (Hawaii, USA), Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka; Russia), Shishaldin (Alaska; USA), and Telica (Nicaragua) thermal activities of March 2000–2008. We assessed the NHI detections through comparison with the ASTER Volcano Archive (AVA), the manual inspection of satellite imagery, and the information from volcanological reports. Results show that NHI integrated the AVA observations, with a percentage of unique thermal anomaly detections ranging between 8.8% (at Kilauea) and 100% (at Shishaldin). These results demonstrate the successful NHI exportability to ASTER data acquired before the failure of SWIR subsystem. The full ingestion of the ASTER data collection, available in GEE, within the NHI tool allows us to develop a suite of multi-platform satellite observations, including thermal anomaly products from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), which could support the investigation of active volcanoes from space, complementing information from other systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Remote Sensing for Volcanic Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Virtual Reality Simulator for an Intelligent Robotic System Used in Ankle Rehabilitation
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041537 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 216
Abstract
The traditional systems used in the physiotherapy rehabilitation process are evolving towards more advanced systems that use virtual reality (VR) environments so that the patient in the rehabilitation process can perform various exercises in an interactive way, thus improving the patient’s motivation and [...] Read more.
The traditional systems used in the physiotherapy rehabilitation process are evolving towards more advanced systems that use virtual reality (VR) environments so that the patient in the rehabilitation process can perform various exercises in an interactive way, thus improving the patient’s motivation and reducing the therapist’s work. The paper presents a VR simulator for an intelligent robotic system of physiotherapeutic rehabilitation of the ankle of a person who has had a stroke. This simulator can interact with a real human subject by attaching a sensor that contains a gyroscope and accelerometer to identify the position and acceleration of foot movement on three axes. An electromyography (EMG) sensor is also attached to the patient’s leg muscles to measure muscle activity because a patient who is in a worse condition has weaker muscle activity. The data collected from the sensors are taken by an intelligent module that uses machine learning to create new levels of exercise and control of the robotic rehabilitation structure of the virtual environment. Starting from these objectives, the virtual reality simulator created will have a low dependence on the therapist, this being the main improvement over other simulators already created for this purpose. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Wearable Navigation Device for Visually Impaired People Based on the Real-Time Semantic Visual SLAM System
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1536; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041536 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 180
Abstract
Wearable auxiliary devices for visually impaired people are highly attractive research topics. Although many proposed wearable navigation devices can assist visually impaired people in obstacle avoidance and navigation, these devices cannot feedback detailed information about the obstacles or help the visually impaired understand [...] Read more.
Wearable auxiliary devices for visually impaired people are highly attractive research topics. Although many proposed wearable navigation devices can assist visually impaired people in obstacle avoidance and navigation, these devices cannot feedback detailed information about the obstacles or help the visually impaired understand the environment. In this paper, we proposed a wearable navigation device for the visually impaired by integrating the semantic visual SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) and the newly launched powerful mobile computing platform. This system uses an Image-Depth (RGB-D) camera based on structured light as the sensor, as the control center. We also focused on the technology that combines SLAM technology with the extraction of semantic information from the environment. It ensures that the computing platform understands the surrounding environment in real-time and can feed it back to the visually impaired in the form of voice broadcast. Finally, we tested the performance of the proposed semantic visual SLAM system on this device. The results indicate that the system can run in real-time on a wearable navigation device with sufficient accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wearable Sensor for Activity Analysis and Context Recognition)
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Open AccessCommunication
The Highly Uniform Photoresponsivity from Visible to Near IR Light in Sb2Te3 Flakes
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1535; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041535 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 214
Abstract
Broadband photosensors have been widely studied in various kinds of materials. Experimental results have revealed strong wavelength-dependent photoresponses in all previous reports. This limits the potential application of broadband photosensors. Therefore, finding a wavelength-insensitive photosensor is imperative in this application. Photocurrent measurements were [...] Read more.
Broadband photosensors have been widely studied in various kinds of materials. Experimental results have revealed strong wavelength-dependent photoresponses in all previous reports. This limits the potential application of broadband photosensors. Therefore, finding a wavelength-insensitive photosensor is imperative in this application. Photocurrent measurements were performed in Sb2Te3 flakes at various wavelengths ranging from visible to near IR light. The measured photocurrent change was insensitive to wavelengths from 300 to 1000 nm. The observed wavelength response deviation was lower than that in all previous reports. Our results show that the corresponding energies of these photocurrent peaks are consistent with the energy difference of the density of state peaks between conduction and valence bands. This suggests that the observed photocurrent originates from these band structure peak transitions under light illumination. Contrary to the most common explanation that observed broadband photocurrent carrier is mainly from the surface state in low-dimensional materials, our experimental result suggests that bulk state band structure is the main source of the observed photocurrent and dominates the broadband photocurrent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Research and Application of Graphene Phototransducer)
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Open AccessArticle
The Optical Signal-to-Crosstalk Ratio for the MBA(N, e, g) Switching Fabric
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1534; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041534 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 173
Abstract
The banyan-type switching networks, well known in switching theory and called the logdN switching fabrics, are composed of symmetrical switching elements of size d×d. In turn, the modified baseline architecture, called the MBA(N,e [...] Read more.
The banyan-type switching networks, well known in switching theory and called the logdN switching fabrics, are composed of symmetrical switching elements of size d×d. In turn, the modified baseline architecture, called the MBA(N,e,g), is only partially built from symmetrical optical switching elements, and it is constructed mostly from asymmetrical optical switching elements. Recently, it was shown that the MBA(N,e,g) structure requires a lower number of passive as well as active optical elements than the banyan-type switching fabric of the same capacity and functionality, which makes it an attractive solution. However, the optical signal-to-crosstalk ratio for the MBA(N,e,g) was not investigated before. Therefore, in this paper, the optical signal-to-crosstalk ratio in the MBA(N,e,g) was determined. Such crosstalk influences the output signal’s quality. Thus, if such crosstalk is lower, the signal quality is better. The switching fabric proposed in the author’s previous work has lower optical signal losses than a typical Beneš and banyan-type switching networks of this same capacity and functionality, which gives better quality of transmitted optical signals at the switching node’s output. The investigated MBA(N,e,g) architecture also contains one stage fewer than banyan-type network of the same capacity, which is an essential feature from the optical switching point of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Technologies in Communications and Networking: 5G and Beyond)
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Open AccessArticle
IoT-Based Research Equipment Sharing System for Remotely Controlled Two-Photon Laser Scanning Microscopy
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1533; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041533 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 185
Abstract
In this study, two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM) based on the internet of things (IoT) is proposed as a remote research equipment sharing system, which enables the remote sharing economy. IoT modules, where data are transmitted to and received from the remote users [...] Read more.
In this study, two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM) based on the internet of things (IoT) is proposed as a remote research equipment sharing system, which enables the remote sharing economy. IoT modules, where data are transmitted to and received from the remote users in the web service via IoT, instead of a data acquisition (DAQ) system embedded in the conventional TPLSM, are installed in the IoT-based TPLSM (IoT-TPLSM). The performance for each IoT module is evaluated independently, and it is confirmed that it works well even in a personal computer-free environment. In addition, a message queuing telemetry transport (MQTT) protocol is applied to the DAQ interface in the web service, and a graphic user interface for enabling the remote users to operate IoT-TPLSM remotely is also designed and implemented. For the image acquisition demonstration, the stained cellular images and the autofluorescent tissue images are obtained in IoT-TPLSM. Lastly, it is confirmed that the comparable performance is provided with the conventional TPLSM by evaluating the imaging conditions and qualities of the three-dimensional image stacks processed in IoT-TPLSM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaging Sensors and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Glacier Geometry Changes in the Western Shore of Admiralty Bay, King George Island over the Last Decades
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1532; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041532 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 165
Abstract
This paper presents changes in the range and thickness of glaciers in Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) No. 128 on King George Island in the period 1956–2015. The research indicates an intensification of the glacial retreat process over the last two decades, with [...] Read more.
This paper presents changes in the range and thickness of glaciers in Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) No. 128 on King George Island in the period 1956–2015. The research indicates an intensification of the glacial retreat process over the last two decades, with the rate depending on the type of glacier front. In the period 2001–2015, the average recession rate of the ice cliffs of the Ecology Glacier and the northern part of the Baranowski Glacier was estimated to be approximately 15–25 m a−1 and 10–20 m a−1, respectively. Fronts of Sphinx Glacier and the southern part of the Baranowski Glacier, characterized by a gentle descent onto land, show a significantly lower rate of retreat (up to 5–10 m a−1 1). From 2001 to 2013, the glacier thickness in these areas decreased at an average rate of 1.7–2.5 m a−1 for the Ecology Glacier and the northern part of the Baranowski Glacier and 0.8–2.5 m a−1 for the southern part of the Baranowski Glacier and Sphinx Glacier. The presented deglaciation processes are related to changes of mass balance caused by the rapid temperature increase (1.0 °C since 1948). The work also contains considerations related to the important role of the longitudinal slope of the glacier surface in the connection of the glacier thickness changes and the front recession. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensors in Polar Regions Land Surface Monitoring)
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Open AccessArticle
Autonomous Ground Vehicle Lane-Keeping LPV Model-Based Control: Dual-Rate State Estimation and Comparison of Different Real-Time Control Strategies
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1531; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041531 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 200
Abstract
In this contribution, we suggest two proposals to achieve fast, real-time lane-keeping control for Autonomous Ground Vehicles (AGVs). The goal of lane-keeping is to orient and keep the vehicle within a given reference path using the front wheel steering angle as the control [...] Read more.
In this contribution, we suggest two proposals to achieve fast, real-time lane-keeping control for Autonomous Ground Vehicles (AGVs). The goal of lane-keeping is to orient and keep the vehicle within a given reference path using the front wheel steering angle as the control action for a specific longitudinal velocity. While nonlinear models can describe the lateral dynamics of the vehicle in an accurate manner, they might lead to difficulties when computing some control laws such as Model Predictive Control (MPC) in real time. Therefore, our first proposal is to use a Linear Parameter Varying (LPV) model to describe the AGV’s lateral dynamics, as a trade-off between computational complexity and model accuracy. Additionally, AGV sensors typically work at different measurement acquisition frequencies so that Kalman Filters (KFs) are usually needed for sensor fusion. Our second proposal is to use a Dual-Rate Extended Kalman Filter (DREFKF) to alleviate the cost of updating the internal state of the filter. To check the validity of our proposals, an LPV model-based control strategy is compared in simulations over a circuit path to another reduced computational complexity control strategy, the Inverse Kinematic Bicycle model (IKIBI), in the presence of process and measurement Gaussian noise. The LPV-MPC controller is shown to provide a more accurate lane-keeping behavior than an IKIBI control strategy. Finally, it is seen that Dual-Rate Extended Kalman Filters (DREKFs) constitute an interesting tool for providing fast vehicle state estimation in an AGV lane-keeping application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Road Vehicles of the Future)
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Open AccessArticle
An Investigation on High-Resolution Temperature Measurement in Precision Fly-Cutting
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1530; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041530 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 173
Abstract
The loads acting on a workpiece during machining processes determine the modification of the surface of the final workpiece and, thus, its functional properties. In this work, a method that uses thermocouples to measure the temperature in precision fly-cutting machining with high spatial [...] Read more.
The loads acting on a workpiece during machining processes determine the modification of the surface of the final workpiece and, thus, its functional properties. In this work, a method that uses thermocouples to measure the temperature in precision fly-cutting machining with high spatial and temporal resolution is presented. Experiments were conducted for various materials and machining parameters. We compare experimental measurement data with results from modern and advanced machining process simulation and find a good match between experimental and simulation results. Therefore, the simulation is validated by experimental data and can be used to calculate realistic internal loads of machining processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Shape-Based Alignment of the Scanned Objects Concerning Their Asymmetric Aspects
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1529; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041529 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 193
Abstract
We introduce an integrated method for processing depth maps measured by a laser profile sensor. It serves for the recognition and alignment of an object given by a single example. Firstly, we look for potential object contours, mainly using the Retinex filter. Then, [...] Read more.
We introduce an integrated method for processing depth maps measured by a laser profile sensor. It serves for the recognition and alignment of an object given by a single example. Firstly, we look for potential object contours, mainly using the Retinex filter. Then, we select the actual object boundary via shape comparison based on Triangle Area Representation (TAR). We overcome the limitations of the TAR method by extension of its shape descriptor. That is helpful mainly for objects with symmetric shapes but other asymmetric aspects like squares with asymmetric holes. Finally, we use point-to-point pairing, provided by the extended TAR method, to calculate the 3D rigid affine transform that aligns the scanned object to the given example position. For the transform calculation, we design an algorithm that overcomes the Kabsch point-to-point algorithm’s accuracy and accommodates it for a precise contour-to-contour alignment. In this way, we have implemented a pipeline with features convenient for industrial use, namely production inspection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Data Processing in Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle
Generating Datasets for Anomaly-Based Intrusion Detection Systems in IoT and Industrial IoT Networks
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1528; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041528 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 204
Abstract
Over the past few years, we have witnessed the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT networks that bring significant benefits to citizens, society, and industry. However, their heterogeneous and resource-constrained nature makes them vulnerable to a wide range of threats. [...] Read more.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT networks that bring significant benefits to citizens, society, and industry. However, their heterogeneous and resource-constrained nature makes them vulnerable to a wide range of threats. Therefore, there is an urgent need for novel security mechanisms such as accurate and efficient anomaly-based intrusion detection systems (AIDSs) to be developed before these networks reach their full potential. Nevertheless, there is a lack of up-to-date, representative, and well-structured IoT/IIoT-specific datasets which are publicly available and constitute benchmark datasets for training and evaluating machine learning models used in AIDSs for IoT/IIoT networks. Contribution to filling this research gap is the main target of our recent research work and thus, we focus on the generation of new labelled IoT/IIoT-specific datasets by utilising the Cooja simulator. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the Cooja simulator is used, in a systematic way, to generate comprehensive IoT/IIoT datasets. In this paper, we present the approach that we followed to generate an initial set of benign and malicious IoT/IIoT datasets. The generated IIoT-specific information was captured from the Contiki plugin “powertrace” and the Cooja tool “Radio messages”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors: 20th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
ARTYCUL: A Privacy-Preserving ML-Driven Framework to Determine the Popularity of a Cultural Exhibit on Display
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1527; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041527 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 295
Abstract
We present ARTYCUL (ARTifact popularitY for CULtural heritage), a machine learning(ML)-based framework that graphically represents the footfall around an artifact on display at a museum or a heritage site. The driving factor of this framework was the fact that the presence of security [...] Read more.
We present ARTYCUL (ARTifact popularitY for CULtural heritage), a machine learning(ML)-based framework that graphically represents the footfall around an artifact on display at a museum or a heritage site. The driving factor of this framework was the fact that the presence of security cameras has become universal, including at sites of cultural heritage. ARTYCUL used the video streams of closed-circuit televisions (CCTV) cameras installed in such premises to detect human figures, and their coordinates with respect to the camera frames were used to visualize the density of visitors around the specific display items. Such a framework that can display the popularity of artifacts would aid the curators towards a more optimal organization. Moreover, it could also help to gauge if a certain display item were neglected due to incorrect placement. While items of similar interest can be placed in vicinity of each other, an online recommendation system may also use the reputation of an artifact to catch the eye of the visitors. Artificial intelligence-based solutions are well suited for analysis of internet of things (IoT) traffic due to the inherent veracity and volatile nature of the transmissions. The work done for the development of ARTYCUL provided a deeper insight into the avenues for applications of IoT technology to the cultural heritage domain, and suitability of ML to process real-time data at a fast pace. While we also observed common issues that hinder the utilization of IoT in the cultural domain, the proposed framework was designed keeping in mind the same obstacles and a preference for backward compatibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue AI for IoT)
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Open AccessArticle
DANAE++: A Smart Approach for Denoising Underwater Attitude Estimation
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1526; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041526 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 295
Abstract
One of the main issues for the navigation of underwater robots consists in accurate vehicle positioning, which heavily depends on the orientation estimation phase. The systems employed to this end are affected by different noise typologies, mainly related to the sensors and to [...] Read more.
One of the main issues for the navigation of underwater robots consists in accurate vehicle positioning, which heavily depends on the orientation estimation phase. The systems employed to this end are affected by different noise typologies, mainly related to the sensors and to the irregular noise of the underwater environment. Filtering algorithms can reduce their effect if opportunely configured, but this process usually requires fine techniques and time. This paper presents DANAE++, an improved denoising autoencoder based on DANAE (deep Denoising AutoeNcoder for Attitude Estimation), which is able to recover Kalman Filter (KF) IMU/AHRS orientation estimations from any kind of noise, independently of its nature. This deep learning-based architecture already proved to be robust and reliable, but in its enhanced implementation significant improvements are obtained in terms of both results and performance. In fact, DANAE++ is able to denoise the three angles describing the attitude at the same time, and that is verified also using the estimations provided by an extended KF. Further tests could make this method suitable for real-time applications in navigation tasks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Learning Analytics Framework to Analyze Corporal Postures in Students Presentations
Sensors 2021, 21(4), 1525; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21041525 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 273
Abstract
Communicating in social and public environments are considered professional skills that can strongly influence career development. Therefore, it is important to proper train and evaluate students in this kind of abilities so that they can better interact in their professional relationships, during the [...] Read more.
Communicating in social and public environments are considered professional skills that can strongly influence career development. Therefore, it is important to proper train and evaluate students in this kind of abilities so that they can better interact in their professional relationships, during the resolution of problems, negotiations and conflict management. This is a complex problem as it involves corporal analysis and the assessment of aspects that until recently were almost impossible to quantitatively measure. Nowadays, a number of new technologies and sensors have being developed for the capture of different kinds of contextual and personal information, but these technologies were not yet fully integrated inside learning settings. In this context, this paper presents a framework to facilitate the analysis and detection of patterns of students in oral presentations. Four steps are proposed for the given framework: Data collection, Statistical Analysis, Clustering, and Sequential Pattern Mining. Data Collection step is responsible for the collection of students interactions during presentations and the arrangement of data for further analysis. Statistical Analysis provides a general understanding of the data collected by showing the differences and similarities of the presentations along the semester. The Clustering stage segments students into groups according to well-defined attributes helping to observe different corporal patterns of the students. Finally, Sequential Pattern Mining step complements the previous stages allowing the identification of sequential patterns of postures in the different groups. The framework was tested in a case study with data collected from 222 freshman students of Computer Engineering (CE) course at three different times during two different years. The analysis made it possible to segment the presenters into three distinct groups according to their corporal postures. The statistical analysis helped to assess how the postures of the students evolved throughout each year. The sequential pattern mining provided a complementary perspective for data evaluation and helped to observe the most frequent postural sequences of the students. Results show the framework could be used as a guidance to provide students automated feedback throughout their presentations and can serve as background information for future comparisons of students presentations from different undergraduate courses. Full article
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