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Technologies, Volume 12, Issue 6 (June 2024) – 20 articles

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17 pages, 3975 KiB  
Review
A Review of Automatic Pain Assessment from Facial Information Using Machine Learning
by Najib Ben Aoun
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060092 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 299
Abstract
Pain assessment has become an important component in modern healthcare systems. It aids medical professionals in patient diagnosis and providing the appropriate care and therapy. Conventionally, patients are asked to provide their pain level verbally. However, this subjective method is generally inaccurate, not [...] Read more.
Pain assessment has become an important component in modern healthcare systems. It aids medical professionals in patient diagnosis and providing the appropriate care and therapy. Conventionally, patients are asked to provide their pain level verbally. However, this subjective method is generally inaccurate, not possible for non-communicative people, can be affected by physiological and environmental factors and is time-consuming, which renders it inefficient in healthcare settings. So, there has been a growing need to build objective, reliable and automatic pain assessment alternatives. In fact, due to the efficiency of facial expressions as pain biomarkers that accurately expand the pain intensity and the power of machine learning methods to effectively learn the subtle nuances of pain expressions and accurately predict pain intensity, automatic pain assessment methods have evolved rapidly. This paper reviews recent spatial facial expressions and machine learning-based pain assessment methods. Moreover, we highlight the pain intensity scales, datasets and method performance evaluation criteria. In addition, these methods’ contributions, strengths and limitations will be reported and discussed. Additionally, the review lays the groundwork for further study and improvement for more accurate automatic pain assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medical Imaging & Image Processing III)
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25 pages, 2376 KiB  
Article
A Computational Framework for Enhancing Industrial Operations and Electric Network Management: A Case Study
by André F. V. Pedroso, Francisco J. G. Silva, Raul D. S. G. Campilho, Rita C. M. Sales-Contini, Arnaldo G. Pinto and Renato R. Moreira
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060091 - 19 Jun 2024
Viewed by 196
Abstract
Automotive industries require constant technological development and the capacity to adapt to market needs. Hence, component suppliers must be able to adapt to persistent trend changes and technical improvements, acting in response to customers’ expectations and developing their manufacturing methods to be as [...] Read more.
Automotive industries require constant technological development and the capacity to adapt to market needs. Hence, component suppliers must be able to adapt to persistent trend changes and technical improvements, acting in response to customers’ expectations and developing their manufacturing methods to be as flexible as possible. Concepts such as layout flexibility, management of industrial facilities, and building information modeling (BIM) are becoming ever more addressed within the automotive industry in order to envision and select the necessary information exchanges. Given this question and based on the gap in the literature regarding this subject, this work proposes a solution, developing a novel tool that allows the monitoring and assignment of newer/relocated equipment to the switchboards within a given industrial plant. The solution intends to increase the flexibility of production lines through the assessment, analysis, improvement, and reorganization of the electrical load distribution to develop projects accurately implying layout changes. The tool is validated with an automotive manufacturer. With the implementation of this open-source tool, a detailed electrical flow management system is accomplished, and it has proven successful and essential in raising levels of organizational flexibility. This has guaranteed the company’s competitiveness with effective integrated administration methods and tools, such as a much easier study upon inserting new/relocated equipment without production line breaks. Full article
13 pages, 5825 KiB  
Article
A Modified Criss-Cross-Based T-Type MLI with Reduced Power Components
by Kailash Kumar Mahto, Bidyut Mahato, Bikramaditya Chandan, Durbanjali Das, Priyanath Das, Swati Kumari, Vasiliki Vita, Christos Pavlatos and Georgios Fotis
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060090 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 247
Abstract
Significant advancements in the field of power electronics have created an ideal opportunity to introduce various topologies of multilevel inverters. These multilevel inverter topologies comprise different notable characteristics, such as staircase sinusoidal output voltage with high quality, a lowered number of power switches, [...] Read more.
Significant advancements in the field of power electronics have created an ideal opportunity to introduce various topologies of multilevel inverters. These multilevel inverter topologies comprise different notable characteristics, such as staircase sinusoidal output voltage with high quality, a lowered number of power switches, no filter requirement, etc. In this literature, a new asymmetrical MLI topology is proposed to reduce the number of components of the inverter with admirable voltage-step creation. The proposed topology provides a 17-level, staircase-type, nearly sinusoidal output voltage waveform. The number of switches required for the proposed multilevel inverter topology is fewer compared to the existing topology for the same level. A carrier-based sinusoidal pulse-width modulation technique is used for the proposed topology at a switching frequency of 3 kHz. The functioning of the proposed inverter topology is thoroughly examined. A 17-level asymmetrical inverter is executed; both the MATLAB/SIMULINK as well as the experimental results using dSPACE-1103 controller. The simulation results are verified using the experimental results for the proposed 17-level multilevel inverter for modulation indexes of 1 and 0.6. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Electrical Technologies)
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27 pages, 13538 KiB  
Article
A New LCL Filter Design Method for Single-Phase Photovoltaic Systems Connected to the Grid via Micro-Inverters
by Heriberto Adamas-Pérez, Mario Ponce-Silva, Jesús Darío Mina-Antonio, Abraham Claudio-Sánchez, Omar Rodríguez-Benítez and Oscar Miguel Rodríguez-Benítez
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060089 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 342
Abstract
This paper aims to propose a new sizing approach to reduce the footprint and optimize the performance of an LCL filter implemented in photovoltaic systems using grid-connected single-phase microinverters. In particular, the analysis is carried out on a single-phase full-bridge inverter, assuming the [...] Read more.
This paper aims to propose a new sizing approach to reduce the footprint and optimize the performance of an LCL filter implemented in photovoltaic systems using grid-connected single-phase microinverters. In particular, the analysis is carried out on a single-phase full-bridge inverter, assuming the following two conditions: (1) a unit power factor at the connection point between the AC grid and the LCL filter; (2) a control circuit based on unipolar sinusoidal pulse width modulation (SPWM). In particular, the ripple and harmonics of the LCL filter input current and the current injected into the grid are analyzed. The results of the Simulink simulation and the experimental tests carried out confirm that it is possible to considerably reduce filter volume by optimizing each passive component compared with what is already available in the literature while guaranteeing excellent filtering performance. Specifically, the inductance values were reduced by almost 40% and the capacitor value by almost 100%. The main applications of this new design methodology are for use in single-phase microinverters connected to the grid and for research purposes in power electronics and optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advances in Solar Technologies)
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22 pages, 3149 KiB  
Article
Accurate Surge Arrester Modeling for Optimal Risk-Aware Lightning Protection Utilizing a Hybrid Monte Carlo–Particle Swarm Optimization Algorithm
by Amir Hossein Kimiai Asadi, Mohsen Eskandari and Hadi Delavari
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060088 - 8 Jun 2024
Viewed by 304
Abstract
The application of arresters is critical for the safe operation of electric grids against lightning. Arresters limit the consequences of lightning-induced over-voltages. However, surge arrester protection in electric grids is challenging due to the intrinsic complexities of distribution grids, including overhead lines and [...] Read more.
The application of arresters is critical for the safe operation of electric grids against lightning. Arresters limit the consequences of lightning-induced over-voltages. However, surge arrester protection in electric grids is challenging due to the intrinsic complexities of distribution grids, including overhead lines and power components such as transformers. In this paper, an optimal arrester placement technique is developed by proposing a multi-objective function that includes technical, safety and risk, and economic indices. However, an effective placement model demands a comprehensive and accurate modeling of an electric grid’s components. In this light, appropriate models of a grid’s components including an arrester, the earth, an oil-immersed transformer, overhead lines, and lightning-induced voltage are developed. To achieve accurate models, high-frequency transient mathematical models are developed for the grid’s components. Notably, to have an accurate model of the arrester, which critically impacts the performance of the arrester placement technique, a new arrester model is developed and evaluated based on real technical data from manufacturers such as Pars, Tridelta, and Siemens. Then, the proposed model is compared with the IEEE, Fernandez, and Pinceti models. The arrester model is incorporated in an optimization problem considering the performance of the over-voltage protection and the risk, technical, and economic indices, and it is solved using the particle swarm optimization (PSO) and Monte Carlo (MC) techniques. To validate the proposed arrester model and the placement technique, real data from the Chopoghloo feeder in Bahar, Hamedan, Iran, are simulated. The feeder is expanded over three different geographical areas, including rural, agricultural plain, and mountainous areas. Full article
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13 pages, 1690 KiB  
Article
Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy Method for Thin-Film Thickness Calculations with a Low Incident Energy Electron Beam
by Ahmad M. D. (Assa’d) Jaber, Ammar Alsoud, Saleh R. Al-Bashaish, Hmoud Al Dmour, Marwan S. Mousa, Tomáš Trčka, Vladimír Holcman and Dinara Sobola
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060087 - 7 Jun 2024
Viewed by 324
Abstract
In this study, the thickness of a thin film (tc) at a low primary electron energy of less than or equal to 10 keV was calculated using electron energy-loss spectroscopy. This method uses the ratio of the intensity of the [...] Read more.
In this study, the thickness of a thin film (tc) at a low primary electron energy of less than or equal to 10 keV was calculated using electron energy-loss spectroscopy. This method uses the ratio of the intensity of the transmitted background spectrum to the intensity of the transmission electrons with zero-loss energy (elastic) in the presence of an accurate average inelastic free path length (λ). The Monte Carlo model was used to simulate the interaction between the electron beam and the tested thin films. The total background of the transmitted electrons is considered to be the electron transmitting the film with an energy above 50 eV to eliminate the effect of the secondary electrons. The method was used at low primary electron energy to measure the thickness (t) of C, Si, Cr, Cu, Ag, and Au films below 12 nm. For the C and Si films, the accuracy of the thickness calculation increased as the energy of the primary electrons and thickness of the film increased. However, for heavy elements, the accuracy of the film thickness calculations increased as the primary electron energy increased and the film thickness decreased. High accuracy (with 2% uncertainty) in the measurement of C and Si thin films was observed at large thicknesses and 10 keV, where tλ1. However, in the case of heavy-element films, the highest accuracy (with an uncertainty below 8%) was found for thin thicknesses and 10 keV, where tλ0.29. The present results show that an accurate film thickness measurement can be obtained at primary electron energy equal to or less than 10 keV and a ratio of tλ2. This method demonstrates the potential of low-loss electron energy-loss spectroscopy in transmission electron microscopy as a fast and straightforward method for determining the thin-film thickness of the material under investigation at low primary electron energies. Full article
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71 pages, 13628 KiB  
Review
Advancements in 3D Printing: Directed Energy Deposition Techniques, Defect Analysis, and Quality Monitoring
by Muhammad Mu’az Imran, Azam Che Idris, Liyanage Chandratilak De Silva, Yun-Bae Kim and Pg Emeroylariffion Abas
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060086 - 7 Jun 2024
Viewed by 499
Abstract
This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of recent advancements in additive manufacturing, a transformative approach to industrial production that allows for the layer-by-layer construction of complex parts directly from digital models. Focusing specifically on Directed Energy Deposition, it begins by clarifying the fundamental [...] Read more.
This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of recent advancements in additive manufacturing, a transformative approach to industrial production that allows for the layer-by-layer construction of complex parts directly from digital models. Focusing specifically on Directed Energy Deposition, it begins by clarifying the fundamental principles of metal additive manufacturing as defined by International Organization of Standardization and American Society for Testing and Materials standards, with an emphasis on laser- and powder-based methods that are pivotal to Directed Energy Deposition. It explores the critical process mechanisms that can lead to defect formation in the manufactured parts, offering in-depth insights into the factors that influence these outcomes. Additionally, the unique mechanisms of defect formation inherent to Directed Energy Deposition are examined in detail. The review also covers the current landscape of process evaluation and non-destructive testing methods essential for quality assurance, including both traditional and contemporary in situ monitoring techniques, with a particular focus given to advanced machine-vision-based methods for geometric analysis. Furthermore, the integration of process monitoring, multiphysics simulation models, and data analytics is discussed, charting a forward-looking roadmap for the development of Digital Twins in Laser–Powder-based Directed Energy Deposition. Finally, this review highlights critical research gaps and proposes directions for future research to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of Directed Energy Deposition systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing Technologies II)
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11 pages, 2465 KiB  
Article
Behind the Door: Practical Parameterization of Propagation Parameters for IEEE 802.11ad Use Cases
by Luciano Ahumada, Erick Carreño, Albert Anglès, Diego Dujovne and Pablo Palacios Játiva
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060085 - 7 Jun 2024
Viewed by 367
Abstract
The integration of the 60 GHz band into the IEEE 802.11 standard has revolutionized indoor wireless services. However, this band presents unique challenges to indoor wireless communication infrastructure, originally designed to handle data traffic in residential and office environments. Estimating 60 GHz signal [...] Read more.
The integration of the 60 GHz band into the IEEE 802.11 standard has revolutionized indoor wireless services. However, this band presents unique challenges to indoor wireless communication infrastructure, originally designed to handle data traffic in residential and office environments. Estimating 60 GHz signal propagation in indoor settings is particularly complicated due to dynamic contextual factors, making it essential to ensure adequate coverage for all connected devices. Consequently, empirical channel modeling plays a pivotal role in understanding real-world behavior, which is characterized by a complex interplay of stationary and mobile elements. Given the highly directional nature of 60 GHz propagation, this study addresses a seemingly simple but important question: what is the impact of employing highly directive antennas when deviating from the line of sight? To address this question, we conducted an empirical measurement campaign of wireless channels within an office environment. Our assessment focused on power losses and distribution within an angular range while an indoor base station served indoor users, simulating the operation of an IEEE 802.11ad high-speed WLAN at 60 GHz. Additionally, we explored scenarios with and without pedestrian movement in the vicinity of wireless terminals. Our observations reveal the presence of significant antenna lobes even in obstructed links, indicating potential opportunities to use angular combiners or beamformers to enhance link availability and the data rate. This empirical study provides valuable information and channel parameters to simulate 60 GHz millimeter wave (mm-wave) links in indoor environments, paving the way for more efficient and robust wireless communication systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Information and Communication Technologies)
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23 pages, 7417 KiB  
Article
Dual-Band Antenna at 28 and 38 GHz Using Internal Stubs and Slot Perturbations
by Parveez Shariff Bhadravathi Ghouse, Pradeep Kumar, Pallavi R. Mane, Sameena Pathan, Tanweer Ali, Alexandros-Apostolos A. Boulogeorgos and Jaume Anguera
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060084 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 405
Abstract
A double-stub matching technique is used to design a dual-band monopole antenna at 28 and 38 GHz. The transmission line stubs represent the matching elements. The first matching network comprises series capacitive and inductive stubs, causing impedance matching at the 28 GHz band [...] Read more.
A double-stub matching technique is used to design a dual-band monopole antenna at 28 and 38 GHz. The transmission line stubs represent the matching elements. The first matching network comprises series capacitive and inductive stubs, causing impedance matching at the 28 GHz band with a wide bandwidth. On the other hand, the second matching network has two shunt inductive stubs, generating resonance at 38 GHz. A Smith chart is utilized to predict the stub lengths. While incorporating their dimensions physically, some of the stub lengths are fine-tuned. The proposed antenna is compact with a profile of 0.75λ1×0.66λ1 (where λ1 is the free-space wavelength at 28 GHz). The measured bandwidths are 27–28.75 GHz and 36.20–42.43 GHz. Although the physical series capacitance of the first matching network is a slot in the ground plane, the antenna is able to achieve a good gain of 7 dBi in both bands. The proposed antenna has a compact design, good bandwidth and gain, making it a candidate for 5G wireless applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces for 5G and Beyond Volume II)
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13 pages, 4208 KiB  
Article
Data Readout Techniques on FPGA for the ATLAS RPC-BIS78 Detectors
by Andreas Vgenopoulos, Kostas Kordas, Federico Lasagni, Sabrina Perrella, Alessandro Polini and Riccardo Vari
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060083 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 767
Abstract
The firmware developed for the readout and trigger processing of the information emerging from the BIS78-RPC Muon Spectrometer chambers in the ATLAS experiment at CERN is presented here, together with data processing techniques, data acquisition software, and tests of the readout chain system, [...] Read more.
The firmware developed for the readout and trigger processing of the information emerging from the BIS78-RPC Muon Spectrometer chambers in the ATLAS experiment at CERN is presented here, together with data processing techniques, data acquisition software, and tests of the readout chain system, which represent efforts to make these chambers operational in the ATLAS experiment. This work is performed in the context of the BIS78-RPC project, which deals with the pilot deployment of a new generation of sMDT+RPCs in the experiment. Such chambers are planned to be fully deployed in the whole barrel inner layer of the Muon Spectrometer during the Phase II upgrade of the ATLAS experiment. On-chamber front-ends include an amplifier, a discriminator ASIC, and an LVDS transmitter. The signal is digitized by CERN HPTDC chips and then processed by an FPGA, which is the heart of the readout and trigger processing, using various techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOCAST 2023)
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24 pages, 8552 KiB  
Article
Path Planning for Autonomous Mobile Robot Using Intelligent Algorithms
by Jorge Galarza-Falfan, Enrique Efrén García-Guerrero, Oscar Adrian Aguirre-Castro, Oscar Roberto López-Bonilla, Ulises Jesús Tamayo-Pérez, José Ricardo Cárdenas-Valdez, Carlos Hernández-Mejía, Susana Borrego-Dominguez and Everardo Inzunza-Gonzalez
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060082 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Machine learning technologies are being integrated into robotic systems faster to enhance their efficacy and adaptability in dynamic environments. The primary goal of this research was to propose a method to develop an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) that integrates Simultaneous Localization and Mapping [...] Read more.
Machine learning technologies are being integrated into robotic systems faster to enhance their efficacy and adaptability in dynamic environments. The primary goal of this research was to propose a method to develop an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) that integrates Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), odometry, and artificial vision based on deep learning (DL). All are executed on a high-performance Jetson Nano embedded system, specifically emphasizing SLAM-based obstacle avoidance and path planning using the Adaptive Monte Carlo Localization (AMCL) algorithm. Two Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) were selected due to their proven effectiveness in image and pattern recognition tasks. The ResNet18 and YOLOv3 algorithms facilitate scene perception, enabling the robot to interpret its environment effectively. Both algorithms were implemented for real-time object detection, identifying and classifying objects within the robot’s environment. These algorithms were selected to evaluate their performance metrics, which are critical for real-time applications. A comparative analysis of the proposed DL models focused on enhancing vision systems for autonomous mobile robots. Several simulations and real-world trials were conducted to evaluate the performance and adaptability of these models in navigating complex environments. The proposed vision system with CNN ResNet18 achieved an average accuracy of 98.5%, a precision of 96.91%, a recall of 97%, and an F1-score of 98.5%. However, the YOLOv3 model achieved an average accuracy of 96%, a precision of 96.2%, a recall of 96%, and an F1-score of 95.99%. These results underscore the effectiveness of the proposed intelligent algorithms, robust embedded hardware, and sensors in robotic applications. This study proves that advanced DL algorithms work well in robots and could be used in many fields, such as transportation and assembly. As a consequence of the findings, intelligent systems could be implemented more widely in the operation and development of AMRs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advances in Mobile Robotics Navigation, 2nd Volume)
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34 pages, 1315 KiB  
Review
A Survey of Machine Learning in Edge Computing: Techniques, Frameworks, Applications, Issues, and Research Directions
by Oumayma Jouini, Kaouthar Sethom, Abdallah Namoun, Nasser Aljohani, Meshari Huwaytim Alanazi and Mohammad N. Alanazi
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060081 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 658
Abstract
Internet of Things (IoT) devices often operate with limited resources while interacting with users and their environment, generating a wealth of data. Machine learning models interpret such sensor data, enabling accurate predictions and informed decisions. However, the sheer volume of data from billions [...] Read more.
Internet of Things (IoT) devices often operate with limited resources while interacting with users and their environment, generating a wealth of data. Machine learning models interpret such sensor data, enabling accurate predictions and informed decisions. However, the sheer volume of data from billions of devices can overwhelm networks, making traditional cloud data processing inefficient for IoT applications. This paper presents a comprehensive survey of recent advances in models, architectures, hardware, and design requirements for deploying machine learning on low-resource devices at the edge and in cloud networks. Prominent IoT devices tailored to integrate edge intelligence include Raspberry Pi, NVIDIA’s Jetson, Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense, STM32 Microcontrollers, SparkFun Edge, Google Coral Dev Board, and Beaglebone AI. These devices are boosted with custom AI frameworks, such as TensorFlow Lite, OpenEI, Core ML, Caffe2, and MXNet, to empower ML and DL tasks (e.g., object detection and gesture recognition). Both traditional machine learning (e.g., random forest, logistic regression) and deep learning methods (e.g., ResNet-50, YOLOv4, LSTM) are deployed on devices, distributed edge, and distributed cloud computing. Moreover, we analyzed 1000 recent publications on “ML in IoT” from IEEE Xplore using support vector machine, random forest, and decision tree classifiers to identify emerging topics and application domains. Hot topics included big data, cloud, edge, multimedia, security, privacy, QoS, and activity recognition, while critical domains included industry, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, smart homes and cities, and assisted living. The major challenges hindering the implementation of edge machine learning include encrypting sensitive user data for security and privacy on edge devices, efficiently managing resources of edge nodes through distributed learning architectures, and balancing the energy limitations of edge devices and the energy demands of machine learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue IoT-Enabling Technologies and Applications)
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26 pages, 1662 KiB  
Article
Applications of Brain Wave Classification for Controlling an Intelligent Wheelchair
by Maria Carolina Avelar, Patricia Almeida, Brigida Monica Faria and Luis Paulo Reis
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060080 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 249
Abstract
The independence and autonomy of both elderly and disabled people have been a growing concern in today’s society. Therefore, wheelchairs have proven to be fundamental for the movement of these people with physical disabilities in the lower limbs, paralysis, or other type of [...] Read more.
The independence and autonomy of both elderly and disabled people have been a growing concern in today’s society. Therefore, wheelchairs have proven to be fundamental for the movement of these people with physical disabilities in the lower limbs, paralysis, or other type of restrictive diseases. Various adapted sensors can be employed in order to facilitate the wheelchair’s driving experience. This work develops the proof concept of a brain–computer interface (BCI), whose ultimate final goal will be to control an intelligent wheelchair. An event-related (de)synchronization neuro-mechanism will be used, since it corresponds to a synchronization, or desynchronization, in the mu and beta brain rhythms, during the execution, preparation, or imagination of motor actions. Two datasets were used for algorithm development: one from the IV competition of BCIs (A), acquired through twenty-two Ag/AgCl electrodes and encompassing motor imagery of the right and left hands, and feet; and the other (B) was obtained in the laboratory using an Emotiv EPOC headset, also with the same motor imaginary. Regarding feature extraction, several approaches were tested: namely, two versions of the signal’s power spectral density, followed by a filter bank version; the use of respective frequency coefficients; and, finally, two versions of the known method filter bank common spatial pattern (FBCSP). Concerning the results from the second version of FBCSP, dataset A presented an F1-score of 0.797 and a rather low false positive rate of 0.150. Moreover, the correspondent average kappa score reached the value of 0.693, which is in the same order of magnitude as 0.57, obtained by the competition. Regarding dataset B, the average value of the F1-score was 0.651, followed by a kappa score of 0.447, and a false positive rate of 0.471. However, it should be noted that some subjects from this dataset presented F1-scores of 0.747 and 0.911, suggesting that the movement imagery (MI) aptness of different users may influence their performance. In conclusion, it is possible to obtain promising results, using an architecture for a real-time application. Full article
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13 pages, 13200 KiB  
Article
Comparison of a Custom-Made Inexpensive Air Permeability Tester with a Standardized Measurement Instrument
by Dietrich Spädt, Niclas Richter, Cornelia Golle, Andrea Ehrmann and Lilia Sabantina
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060079 - 2 Jun 2024
Viewed by 312
Abstract
The air permeability of a textile fabric belongs to the parameters which characterize its potential applications as garments, filters, airbags, etc. Calculating the air permeability is complicated due to its dependence on many other fabric parameters, such as porosity, thickness, weaving parameters and [...] Read more.
The air permeability of a textile fabric belongs to the parameters which characterize its potential applications as garments, filters, airbags, etc. Calculating the air permeability is complicated due to its dependence on many other fabric parameters, such as porosity, thickness, weaving parameters and others, which is why the air permeability is usually measured. Standardized measurement instruments according to EN ISO 9237, however, are expensive and complex, prohibiting small companies or many universities from using them. This is why a simpler and inexpensive test instrument was suggested in a previous paper. Here, we show correlations between the results of the standardized and the custom-made instrument and verify this correlation using fluid dynamics calculations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Innovations in Materials Processing)
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28 pages, 1067 KiB  
Article
Smart Energy Systems Based on Next-Generation Power Electronic Devices
by Nikolay Hinov
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060078 - 1 Jun 2024
Viewed by 339
Abstract
Power electronics plays a key role in the management and conversion of electrical energy in a variety of applications, including the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydrogen energy, as well as in electric vehicles, industrial technologies, homes and [...] Read more.
Power electronics plays a key role in the management and conversion of electrical energy in a variety of applications, including the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydrogen energy, as well as in electric vehicles, industrial technologies, homes and smart grids. These technologies are essential for the successful implementation of the green transition, as they help reduce carbon emissions and promote the production and consumption of cleaner and more sustainable energy. The present work presents a new generation of power electronic devices and systems, which includes the following main aspects: advances in semiconductor technologies, such as the use of silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN); nanomaterials for the realization of magnetic components; using a modular principle to construct power electronic devices; applying artificial intelligence techniques to device lifecycle design; and the environmental aspects of design. The new materials allow the devices to operate at higher voltages, temperatures and frequencies, making them ideal for high-power applications and high-frequency operation. In addition, the development of integrated and modular power electronic systems that combine energy management, diagnostics and communication capabilities contributes to the more intelligent and efficient management of energy resources. This includes integration with the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) for automated task solving and work optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Systems (SmaSys2023))
23 pages, 5805 KiB  
Article
Deep Learning Approaches for Water Stress Forecasting in Arboriculture Using Time Series of Remote Sensing Images: Comparative Study between ConvLSTM and CNN-LSTM Models
by Ismail Bounoua, Youssef Saidi, Reda Yaagoubi and Mourad Bouziani
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060077 - 1 Jun 2024
Viewed by 379
Abstract
Irrigation is crucial for crop cultivation and productivity. However, traditional methods often waste water and energy due to neglecting soil and crop variations, leading to inefficient water distribution and potential crop water stress. The crop water stress index (CWSI) has become a widely [...] Read more.
Irrigation is crucial for crop cultivation and productivity. However, traditional methods often waste water and energy due to neglecting soil and crop variations, leading to inefficient water distribution and potential crop water stress. The crop water stress index (CWSI) has become a widely accepted index for assessing plant water status. However, it is necessary to forecast the plant water stress to estimate the quantity of water to irrigate. Deep learning (DL) models for water stress forecasting have gained prominence in irrigation management to address these needs. In this paper, we present a comparative study between two deep learning models, ConvLSTM and CNN-LSTM, for water stress forecasting using remote sensing data. While these DL architectures have been previously proposed and studied in various applications, our novelty lies in studying their effectiveness in the field of water stress forecasting using time series of remote sensing images. The proposed methodology involves meticulous preparation of time series data, where we calculate the crop water stress index (CWSI) using Landsat 8 satellite imagery through Google Earth Engine. Subsequently, we implemented and fine-tuned the hyperparameters of the ConvLSTM and CNN-LSTM models. The same processes of model compilation, optimization of hyperparameters, and model training were applied for the two architectures. A citrus farm in Morocco was chosen as a case study. The analysis of the results reveals that the CNN-LSTM model excels over the ConvLSTM model for long sequences (nine images) with an RMSE of 0.119 and 0.123, respectively, while ConvLSTM provides better results for short sequences (three images) than CNN-LSTM with an RMSE of 0.153 and 0.187, respectively. Full article
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18 pages, 26070 KiB  
Article
Vertical Balance of an Autonomous Two-Wheeled Single-Track Electric Vehicle
by David Rodríguez-Rosa, Andrea Martín-Parra, Andrés García-Vanegas, Francisco Moya-Fernández, Ismael Payo-Gutiérrez and Fernando J. Castillo-García
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060076 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 551
Abstract
In the dynamic landscape of autonomous transport, the integration of intelligent transport systems and embedded control technology is pivotal. While strides have been made in the development of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems, the unique challenges posed by two-wheeled vehicles remain largely unaddressed. [...] Read more.
In the dynamic landscape of autonomous transport, the integration of intelligent transport systems and embedded control technology is pivotal. While strides have been made in the development of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems, the unique challenges posed by two-wheeled vehicles remain largely unaddressed. Dedicated control strategies for these vehicles have yet to be developed. The vertical balance of an autonomous two-wheeled single-track vehicle is a challenge for engineering. This type of vehicle is unstable and its dynamic behaviour changes with the forward velocity. We designed a scheduled-gain proportional–integral controller that adapts its gains to the forward velocity, maintaining the vertical balance of the vehicle by means of the steering front-wheel angle. The control law was tested with a prototype designed by the authors under different scenarios, smooth and uneven floors, maintaining the vertical balance in all cases. Full article
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19 pages, 3842 KiB  
Article
Intelligent Cane for Assisting the Visually Impaired
by Claudiu-Eugen Panazan and Eva-Henrietta Dulf
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060075 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 920
Abstract
Those with visual impairments, including complete blindness or partial sight loss, constitute a significant global population. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are at least 2.2 billion people worldwide who have near or distance vision disorders. Addressing their needs [...] Read more.
Those with visual impairments, including complete blindness or partial sight loss, constitute a significant global population. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are at least 2.2 billion people worldwide who have near or distance vision disorders. Addressing their needs is crucial. Introducing a smart cane tailored for the blind can greatly improve their daily lives. This paper introduces a significant technical innovation, presenting a smart cane equipped with dual ultrasonic sensors for obstacle detection, catering to the visually impaired. The primary focus is on developing a versatile device capable of operating in diverse conditions, ensuring efficient obstacle alerts. The strategic placement of ultrasonic sensors facilitates the emission and measurement of high-frequency sound waves, calculating obstacle distances and assessing potential threats to the user. Addressing various obstacle types, two ultrasonic sensors handle overhead and ground-level barriers, ensuring precise warnings. With a detection range spanning 2 to 400 cm, the device provides timely information for user reaction. Dual alert methods, including vibrations and audio signals, offer flexibility to users, controlled through intuitive switches. Additionally, a Bluetooth-connected mobile app enhances functionality, activating audio alerts if the cane is misplaced or too distant. Cost-effective implementation enhances accessibility, supporting a broader user base. This innovative smart cane not only represents a technical achievement but also significantly improves the quality of life for visually impaired individuals, emphasizing the social impact of technology. The research underscores the importance of technological research in addressing societal challenges and highlights the need for solutions that positively impact vulnerable communities, shaping future directions in research and technological development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Assistive Technologies)
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12 pages, 4704 KiB  
Article
Effect of Oscillating Area on Generating Microbubbles from Hollow Ultrasonic Horn
by Kodai Hasegawa, Nobuhiro Yabuki and Toshinori Makuta
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060074 - 25 May 2024
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Microbubbles, which are tiny bubbles with a diameter of less than 100 µm, have been attracting attention in recent years. Conventional methods of microbubble generation using porous material and swirling flows have problems such as large equipment size and non-uniform bubble generation. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Microbubbles, which are tiny bubbles with a diameter of less than 100 µm, have been attracting attention in recent years. Conventional methods of microbubble generation using porous material and swirling flows have problems such as large equipment size and non-uniform bubble generation. Therefore, we have been developing a hollow ultrasonic horn with an internal flow path as a microbubble-generating device. By supplying gas and ultrasonic waves simultaneously, the gas–liquid interface is violently disturbed to generate microbubbles. Although this device can generate microbubbles even in highly viscous fluids and high-temperature fluids such as molten metals, it has the problem of generating many relatively large bubbles of 1 mm or more. Since the generation of a large amount of microbubbles in a short period of time is required to realize actual applications in agriculture, aquaculture, and medicine, conventional research has tried to solve this problem by increasing the amplitude of the ultrasonic oscillation. However, it is difficult to further increase the amplitude due to the structural reasons of the horn and the behavior of bubbles at the horn tip; therefore, the oscillating area of the tip of the horn, which had not received attention before, was enlarged by a factor of 2.94 times to facilitate the ultrasonic wave transmission to the bubbles, and the effect of this was investigated. As a result, a large number of gases were miniaturized, especially at high gas flow rates, leading to an increase in the amount of microbubbles generated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Systems (SmaSys2023))
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21 pages, 6557 KiB  
Article
Gamified VR Storytelling for Cultural Tourism Using 3D Reconstructions, Virtual Humans, and 360° Videos
by Emmanouil Kontogiorgakis, Emmanouil Zidianakis, Eirini Kontaki, Nikolaos Partarakis, Constantina Manoli, Stavroula Ntoa and Constantine Stephanidis
Technologies 2024, 12(6), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/technologies12060073 - 22 May 2024
Viewed by 600
Abstract
This work addresses the lack of methodologies for the seamless integration of 360° videos, 3D digitized artifacts, and virtual human agents within a virtual reality environment. The proposed methodology is showcased in the context of a tour guide application and centers around the [...] Read more.
This work addresses the lack of methodologies for the seamless integration of 360° videos, 3D digitized artifacts, and virtual human agents within a virtual reality environment. The proposed methodology is showcased in the context of a tour guide application and centers around the innovative use of a central hub, metaphorically linking users to various historical locations. Leveraging a treasure hunt metaphor and a storytelling approach, this combination of digital structures is capable of building an exploratory learning experience. Virtual human agents contribute to the scenario by offering personalized narratives and educational content, contributing to an enriched cultural heritage journey. Key contributions of this research include the exploration of the symbolic use of the central hub, the application of a gamified approach through the treasure hunt metaphor, and the seamless integration of various technologies to enhance user engagement. This work contributes to the understanding of context-specific cultural heritage applications and their potential impact on cultural tourism. The output of this research work is the reusable methodology and its demonstration in the implemented showcase application that was assessed by a heuristic evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Information and Communication Technologies)
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