Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Is Urban Household Emergency Preparedness Associated with Short-Term Impact Reduction after a Super Typhoon in Subtropical City?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040596 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Climate change-related extreme events are increasing in frequency and severity. Understanding household emergency preparedness capacity in Health-Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM) for at risk urban communities is limited. The main objective of the study is to explore the association among risk perception, [...] Read more.
Climate change-related extreme events are increasing in frequency and severity. Understanding household emergency preparedness capacity in Health-Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM) for at risk urban communities is limited. The main objective of the study is to explore the association among risk perception, household preparedness, and the self-reported short-term impacts of Typhoons for urban residents. A population-based, cross-sectional telephone survey using random digit-dialling was conducted among Hong Kong adults within 2 weeks following 2018 Typhoon Mangkhut, the most intense typhoon that affected Hong Kong, a subtropical city, in thirty years. Among the 521 respondents, 93.9% and 74.3% reported some form of emergency preparedness and typhoon-specific preparedness measure (TSPM) against Mangkhut, respectively. Respondents who perceived a higher risk at home during typhoons and had practiced routine emergency preparedness measures (during nonemergency periods) were more likely to undertake TSPM. Of the respondents, 33.4% reported some form of impact (11.1% were household-specific) by Typhoon Mangkhut. Practicing TSPM was not associated with the reduction of short-term household impacts. Current preparedness measures may be insufficient to address the impact of super typhoons. Strategies for health-EDRM for urban residents will be needed to cope with increasing climate change-related extreme events. Full article
Open AccessPerspective
Globalization and Biodiversity Conservation Problems: Polycentric REDD+ Solutions
Land 2019, 8(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8020035 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Protected areas are considered the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, but face multiple problems in delivering this core objective. The growing trend of framing biodiversity and protected area values in terms of ecosystem services and human well-being may not always lead to biodiversity conservation. [...] Read more.
Protected areas are considered the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, but face multiple problems in delivering this core objective. The growing trend of framing biodiversity and protected area values in terms of ecosystem services and human well-being may not always lead to biodiversity conservation. Although globalization is often spoken about in terms of its adverse effects to the environment and biodiversity, it also heralds unprecedented and previously inaccessible opportunities linked to ecosystem services. Biodiversity and related ecosystem services are amongst the common goods hardest hit by globalization. Yet, interconnectedness between people, institutions, and governments offers a great chance for globalization to play a role in ameliorating some of the negative impacts. Employing a polycentric governance approach to overcome the free-rider problem of unsustainable use of common goods, we argue here that REDD+, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate change mitigation scheme, could be harnessed to boost biodiversity conservation in the face of increasing globalization, both within classic and novel protected areas. We believe this offers a timely example of how an increasingly globalized world connects hitherto isolated peoples, with the ability to channel feelings and forces for biodiversity conservation. Through the global voluntary carbon market, REDD+ can enable and empower, on the one hand, rural communities in developing countries contribute to mitigation of a global problem, and on the other, individuals or societies in the West to help save species they may never see, yet feel emotionally connected to. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Voltage Multiplier Cell-Based Quasi-Switched Boost Inverter with Low Input Current Ripple
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020227 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A novel single-phase single-stage voltage multiplier cell-based quasi-switched boost inverter (VMC-qSBI) is proposed in this paper. By adding the voltage multiplier cell to the qSBI, the proposed VMC-qSBI has the following merits; a decreased voltage stress on an additional switch, a high voltage [...] Read more.
A novel single-phase single-stage voltage multiplier cell-based quasi-switched boost inverter (VMC-qSBI) is proposed in this paper. By adding the voltage multiplier cell to the qSBI, the proposed VMC-qSBI has the following merits; a decreased voltage stress on an additional switch, a high voltage gain, a continuous input current, shoot through immunity, and a high modulation index. A new pulse-width modulation (PWM) control strategy is presented for the proposed inverter to reduce the input current ripple. To improve the voltage gain of the proposed inverter, an extension is addressed by adding the VMCs. The operating principle, steady-state analysis, and impedance parameter design guideline of the proposed inverter are presented. A comparison between the proposed inverter and other impedance source-based high-voltage gain inverters is shown. Simulation and experimental results are provided to confirm the theoretical analysis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Commenting on the “Great Debate”: General Abilities, Specific Abilities, and the Tools of the Trade
J. Intell. 2019, 7(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence7010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We review papers in the special issue regarding the great debate on general and specific abilities. Papers in the special issue either provided an empirical examination of the debate using a uniform dataset or they provided a debate commentary. Themes that run through [...] Read more.
We review papers in the special issue regarding the great debate on general and specific abilities. Papers in the special issue either provided an empirical examination of the debate using a uniform dataset or they provided a debate commentary. Themes that run through the papers and that are discussed further here are that: (1) the importance of general and specific ability predictors will largely depend on the outcome to be predicted, (2) the effectiveness of both general and specific predictors will largely depend on the quality and breadth of how the manifest indicators are measured, and (3) research on general and specific ability predictors is alive and well and more research is warranted. We conclude by providing a review of potentially fruitful areas of future research. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Multi-Beam Massive MIMO Considering MAC Layer Using IEEE802.11ac and FDD-LTE
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020225 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) transmission has attracted attention as a key technology for use in fifth-generation mobile communication systems. Multi-beam massive MIMO systems that apply beam selection in analog components and blind algorithms in digital components to eliminate the requirement for channel state [...] Read more.
Massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) transmission has attracted attention as a key technology for use in fifth-generation mobile communication systems. Multi-beam massive MIMO systems that apply beam selection in analog components and blind algorithms in digital components to eliminate the requirement for channel state information have been proposed as a method for reducing overhead. In this study, we developed an adaptive modulation scheme for implementing multi-beam massive MIMO and used computer simulation to compare it with digital and analog–digital hybrid beam-forming methods. The effectiveness of the proposed system was verified in a medium access control layer based on the IEEE802.11ac and frequency division duplex-LTE representative wireless communication standards. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Awareness and Perception of Botnet Activity within Consumer Internet-of-Things (IoT) Networks
Informatics 2019, 6(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/informatics6010008 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and demand for low-cost, easy-to-deploy devices, has led to the production of swathes of insecure Internet-connected devices. Many can be exploited and leveraged to perform large-scale attacks on the Internet, such as those seen by [...] Read more.
The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and demand for low-cost, easy-to-deploy devices, has led to the production of swathes of insecure Internet-connected devices. Many can be exploited and leveraged to perform large-scale attacks on the Internet, such as those seen by the Mirai botnet. This paper presents a cross-sectional study of how users value and perceive security and privacy in smart devices found within the IoT. It analyzes user requirements from IoT devices, and the importance placed upon security and privacy. An experimental setup was used to assess user ability to detect threats, in the context of technical knowledge and experience. It clearly demonstrated that without any clear signs when an IoT device was infected, it was very difficult for consumers to detect and be situationally aware of threats exploiting home networks. It also demonstrated that without adequate presentation of data to users, there is no clear correlation between level of technical knowledge and ability to detect infected devices. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Pansharpening with a Gradient Domain GIF Based on NSST
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020229 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In order to improve the fusion quality of multispectral (MS) and panchromatic (PAN) images, a pansharpening method with a gradient domain guided image filter (GIF) that is based on non-subsampled shearlet transform (NSST) is proposed. First, multi-scale decomposition of MS and PAN images [...] Read more.
In order to improve the fusion quality of multispectral (MS) and panchromatic (PAN) images, a pansharpening method with a gradient domain guided image filter (GIF) that is based on non-subsampled shearlet transform (NSST) is proposed. First, multi-scale decomposition of MS and PAN images is performed by NSST. Second, different fusion rules are designed for high- and low-frequency coefficients. A fusion rule that is based on morphological filter-based intensity modulation (MFIM) technology is proposed for the low-frequency coefficients, and the edge refinement is carried out based on a gradient domain GIF to obtain the fused low-frequency coefficients. For the high-frequency coefficients, a fusion rule based on an improved pulse coupled neural network (PCNN) is adopted. The gradient domain GIF optimizes the firing map of the PCNN model, and then the fusion decision map is calculated to guide the fusion of the high-frequency coefficients. Finally, the fused high- and low-frequency coefficients are reconstructed with inverse NSST to obtain the fusion image. The proposed method was tested using the WorldView-2 and QuickBird data sets; the subjective visual effects and objective evaluation demonstrate that the proposed method is superior to the state-of-the-art pansharpening methods, and it can efficiently improve the spatial quality and spectral maintenance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
LS-Solar-PV System Impact on Line Protection
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020226 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Large-scale photovoltaic power station access to the grid will profoundly change the fault current characteristics of the power station’s outgoing lines. This change results in adaptive problems in traditional protection phase selection components, which may cause incorrect actions in reclosing, protection ranging, and [...] Read more.
Large-scale photovoltaic power station access to the grid will profoundly change the fault current characteristics of the power station’s outgoing lines. This change results in adaptive problems in traditional protection phase selection components, which may cause incorrect actions in reclosing, protection ranging, and distance protection. Based on the fault current characteristics of the large-scale photovoltaic power station transmission line, this paper analyzes the adaptability of the phase current difference mutation and the sequence component phase selection component in protecting the Photovoltaic (PV) power plant side of the transmission line. Based on the fault current analytical formula, the phase relationship between the phase current difference and the current sequence component under different control targets, such as suppressing negative sequence current, suppressing the active power fluctuation, and suppressing the reactive power fluctuation, is derived. The operational performances of the phase–phase current difference of the abrupt phase selection component and the sequence component phase selection component of the power station side are degraded, which may cause incorrect operation of the phase selection component. Based on the actual engineering parameters of a PV power plant, a simulation model was built in Power System Computer Aided Design (PSCAD) to verify the correctness of the theoretical analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transferring Know-How for an Autonomous Camera Robotic Assistant
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020224 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Robotic platforms are taking their place in the operating room because they provide more stability and accuracy during surgery. Although most of these platforms are teleoperated, a lot of research is currently being carried out to design collaborative platforms. The objective is to [...] Read more.
Robotic platforms are taking their place in the operating room because they provide more stability and accuracy during surgery. Although most of these platforms are teleoperated, a lot of research is currently being carried out to design collaborative platforms. The objective is to reduce the surgeon workload through the automation of secondary or auxiliary tasks, which would benefit both surgeons and patients by facilitating the surgery and reducing the operation time. One of the most important secondary tasks is the endoscopic camera guidance, whose automation would allow the surgeon to be concentrated on handling the surgical instruments. This paper proposes a novel autonomous camera guidance approach for laparoscopic surgery. It is based on learning from demonstration (LfD), which has demonstrated its feasibility to transfer knowledge from humans to robots by means of multiple expert showings. The proposed approach has been validated using an experimental surgical robotic platform to perform peg transferring, a typical task that is used to train human skills in laparoscopic surgery. The results show that camera guidance can be easily trained by a surgeon for a particular task. Later, it can be autonomously reproduced in a similar way to one carried out by a human. Therefore, the results demonstrate that the use of learning from demonstration is a suitable method to perform autonomous camera guidance in collaborative surgical robotic platforms. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Inhibitory Effect of Ionizing Radiation on Echinococcus granulosus Hydatid Cyst
Diseases 2019, 7(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/diseases7010023 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: Heavy ion radiation has more advantages than traditional radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer, mainly because of its superior biological effects. However, there is currently no reliable evidence that heavy ion radiation can induce cell death in hydatid cysts at the [...] Read more.
Background: Heavy ion radiation has more advantages than traditional radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer, mainly because of its superior biological effects. However, there is currently no reliable evidence that heavy ion radiation can induce cell death in hydatid cysts at the cellular and molecular level. In addition, we believe heavy ion therapy could be a potential alternative approach for the treatment of hydatid cysts. Methodology/Principal Finding: The hydatid cysts and protoscolices were obtained from an experimentally infected KunMing mice. LD50 was used to evaluate the death of the protoscolex. The cellular and ultrastructure of the parasites were observed under light and electron microscopes, the damage and copy numbers of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) were decided by QPCR. The apoptosis was evaluated by the expression and activity of caspase3. Dose-dependent ionizing radiation induced damage to the initial mtDNA. Echinococcosis cyst after ionizing radiation showed sparse cytoplasm, disorganized and clumped organelles, huge vacuoles, and villus deletions. The kinetic of DNA repair activity after X-ray irradiation was faster than those after carbon-ion irradiation. High doses of carbon ion radiation caused irreversible attenuation of mitochondrial DNA. Cysts showed obvious reduction in size after radiation. Carbon ion radiation was more effective than X-ray radiation in inhibiting hydatid cysts. Conclusions: These studies provide evidence that heavy-ion radiation can cause the extinction of hydatid cysts in vitro. The carbon-ion radiation is more advantageous than X-ray radiation in suppress hydatid cyst. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Surface Structuring of Diamond-Like Carbon Films by Chemical Etching of Zinc Inclusions
Coatings 2019, 9(2), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9020125 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A diamond-like carbon (DLC) film with a nanostructured surface can be produced in a two-step process. At first, a metal-containing DLC film is deposited. Here, the combination of plasma source ion implantation using a hydrocarbon gas and magnetron sputtering of a zinc target [...] Read more.
A diamond-like carbon (DLC) film with a nanostructured surface can be produced in a two-step process. At first, a metal-containing DLC film is deposited. Here, the combination of plasma source ion implantation using a hydrocarbon gas and magnetron sputtering of a zinc target was used. Next, the metal particles within the surface are dissolved by an etchant (HNO3:H2O solution in this case). Since Zn particles in the surface of Zn-DLC films have a diameter of 100–200 nm, the resulting surface structures possess the same dimensions, thus covering a range that is accessible neither by mask deposition techniques nor by etching of other metal-containing DLC films, such as Cu-DLC. The surface morphology of the etched Zn-DLC films depends on the initial metal content of the film. With a low zinc concentration of about 10 at.%, separate holes are produced within the surface. Higher zinc concentrations (40 at.% or above) lead to a surface with an intrinsic roughness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Impact of Cu-In-Ga-S Nanoparticles Compactness on Holes Transfer of Perovskite Solar Cells
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(2), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9020286 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Although a compact holes-transport-layer (HTL) film has always been deemed mandatory for perovskite solar cells (PSCs), the impact their compactness on the device performance has rarely been studied in detail. In this work, based on a device structure of FTO/CIGS/perovskite/PCBM/ZrAcac/Ag, that effect was [...] Read more.
Although a compact holes-transport-layer (HTL) film has always been deemed mandatory for perovskite solar cells (PSCs), the impact their compactness on the device performance has rarely been studied in detail. In this work, based on a device structure of FTO/CIGS/perovskite/PCBM/ZrAcac/Ag, that effect was systematically investigated with respect to device performance along with photo-physics characterization tools. Depending on spin-coating speed, the grain size and coverage ratio of those CIGS films on FTO substrates can be tuned, and this can result in different hole transfer efficiencies at the anode interface. At a speed of 4000 r.p.m., the band level offset between the perovskite and CIGS modified FTO was reduced to a minimum of 0.02 eV, leading to the best device performance, with conversion efficiency of 15.16% and open-circuit voltage of 1.04 V, along with the suppression of hysteresis. We believe that the balance of grain size and coverage ratio of CIGS interlayers can be tuned to an optimal point in the competition between carrier transport and recombination at the interface based on the proposed mechanism. This paper definitely deepens our understanding of the hole transfer mechanism at the interface of PSC devices, and facilitates future design of high-performance devices. Full article
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