Sensors2015, 15(8), 18901-18933; doi:10.3390/s150818901 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Advances in mobile technology have led to the emergence of the “smartphone”, a new class of device with more advanced connectivity features that have quickly made it a constant presence in our lives. Smartphones are equipped with comparatively advanced computing capabilities, a global positioning system (GPS) receivers, and sensing capabilities (i.e., an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and more recently magnetometer and barometer) which can be found in wearable ambulatory monitors (WAMs). As a result, algorithms initially developed for WAMs that “count” steps (i.e., pedometers); gauge physical activity levels; indirectly estimate energy expenditure and monitor human movement can be utilised on the smartphone. These algorithms may enable clinicians to “close the loop” by prescribing timely interventions to improve or maintain wellbeing in populations who are at risk of falling or suffer from a chronic disease whose progression is linked to a reduction in movement and mobility. The ubiquitous nature of smartphone technology makes it the ideal platform from which human movement can be remotely monitored without the expense of purchasing, and inconvenience of using, a dedicated WAM. In this paper, an overview of the sensors that can be found in the smartphone are presented, followed by a summary of the developments in this field with an emphasis on the evolution of algorithms used to classify human movement. The limitations identified in the literature will be discussed, as well as suggestions about future research directions.
Sensors2015, 15(8), 18887-18900; doi:10.3390/s150818887 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The development of portable sensors that can be used outside the lab is an active area of research in the electroanalytical field. A major focus of such research is the development of low-cost electrodes for use in these sensors. Current electrodes, such as glassy-carbon electrodes (GCEs), are costly and require time-consuming preparation. Alternatives have been proposed, including mechanical pencil-lead electrodes (MPEs). However, MPEs themselves possess numerous drawbacks, particularly structural fragility. In this paper, we present a novel pencil-graphite electrode (PGE) fabricated from a regular HB#2 pencil. This PGE is a simple, disposable, extremely low-cost alternative to GCEs ($0.30 per PGE, vs. $190 + per GCE), and possesses the structural stability that MPEs lack. PGEs were characterized by square-wave voltammetry of ferricyanide, gallic acid, uric acid, dopamine, and several foodstuffs. In all cases, PGEs demonstrated sensitivities comparable or superior to those of the GCE and MPE (LOD = 5.62 × 10−4 M PGE, 4.80 × 10−4 M GCE, 2.93 × 10−4 M MPE). Signal areas and peak heights were typically four to ten times larger for the PGE relative to the GCE.
Sensors2015, 15(8), 18865-18886; doi:10.3390/s150818865 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The reflectance of the Earth’s surface is significantly influenced by atmospheric conditions such as water vapor content and aerosols. Particularly, the absorption and scattering effects become stronger when the target features are non-bright objects, such as in aqueous or vegetated areas. For any remote-sensing approach, atmospheric correction is thus required to minimize those effects and to convert digital number (DN) values to surface reflectance. The main aim of this study was to test the three most popular atmospheric correction models, namely (1) Dark Object Subtraction (DOS); (2) Fast Line-of-sight Atmospheric Analysis of Spectral Hypercubes (FLAASH) and (3) the Second Simulation of Satellite Signal in the Solar Spectrum (6S) and compare them with Top of Atmospheric (TOA) reflectance. By using the k-Nearest Neighbor (kNN) algorithm, a series of experiments were conducted for above-ground forest biomass (AGB) estimations of the Gongju and Sejong region of South Korea, in order to check the effectiveness of atmospheric correction methods for Landsat ETM+. Overall, in the forest biomass estimation, the 6S model showed the bestRMSE’s, followed by FLAASH, DOS and TOA. In addition, a significant improvement of RMSE by 6S was found with images when the study site had higher total water vapor and temperature levels. Moreover, we also tested the sensitivity of the atmospheric correction methods to each of the Landsat ETM+ bands. The results confirmed that 6S dominates the other methods, especially in the infrared wavelengths covering the pivotal bands for forest applications. Finally, we suggest that the 6S model, integrating water vapor and aerosol optical depth derived from MODIS products, is better suited for AGB estimation based on optical remote-sensing data, especially when using satellite images acquired in the summer during full canopy development.
Sensors2015, 15(8), 18851-18864; doi:10.3390/s150818851 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper presents the development of a piezoelectric artificial cochlea (PAC) device capable of analyzing vibratory signal inputs and converting them into electrical signal outputs without an external power source by mimicking the function of human cochlea within an audible frequency range. The PAC consists of an artificial basilar membrane (ABM) part and an implantable packaged part. The packaged part provides a liquid environment through which incoming vibrations are transmitted to the membrane part. The membrane part responds to the transmitted signal, and the local area of the ABM part vibrates differently depending on its local resonant frequency. The membrane was designed to have a logarithmically varying width from 0.97 mm to 8.0 mm along the 28 mm length. By incorporating a micro-actuator in an experimental platform for the package part that mimics the function of a stapes bone in the middle ear, we created a similar experimental environment to cochlea where the human basilar membrane vibrates. The mechanical and electrical responses of fabricated PAC were measured with a laser Doppler vibrometer and a data acquisition system, and were compared with simulation results. Finally, the fabricated PAC in a biocompatible package was developed and its mechanical and electrical characteristics were measured. The experimental results shows successful frequency separation of incoming mechanical signal from micro-actuator into frequency bandwidth within the 0.4 kHz–5 kHz range.
Sensors2015, 15(8), 18834-18850; doi:10.3390/s150818834 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) sensor array was developed for multi-purpose human respiration assessment. The sensor system was designed to provide feedback for human respiration. Thorough optimization of measurement conditions: air flow, temperature in the QCM chamber, frequency measurement rate, and electrode position regarding to the gas flow—was performed. As shown, acquisition of respiratory parameters (rate and respiratory pattern) could be achieved even with a single electrode used in the system. The prototype system contains eight available QCM channels that can be potentially used for selective responses to certain breath chemicals. At present, the prototype machine is ready for the assessment of respiratory functions in larger populations in order to gain statistical validation. To the best of our knowledge, the developed prototype is the only respiratory assessment system based on surface modified QCM sensors.
Sensors2015, 15(8), 18813-18833; doi:10.3390/s150818813 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Magneto-Inertial Measurement Unit sensors (MIMU) display high potential for the quantitative evaluation of upper limb kinematics, as they allow monitoring ambulatory measurements. The sensor-to-segment calibration step, consisting of establishing the relation between MIMU sensors and human segments, plays an important role in the global accuracy of joint angles. The aim of this study was to compare sensor-to-segment calibrations for the MIMU-based estimation of wrist, elbow, and shoulder joint angles, by examining trueness (“close to the reference”) and precision (reproducibility) validity criteria. Ten subjects performed five sessions with three different operators. Three classes of calibrations were studied: segment axes equal to technical MIMU axes (TECH), segment axes generated during a static pose (STATIC), and those generated during functional movements (FUNCT). The calibrations were compared during the maximal uniaxial movements of each joint, plus an extra multi-joint movement. Generally, joint angles presented good trueness and very good precision in the range 5°–10°. Only small discrepancy between calibrations was highlighted, with the exception of a few cases. The very good overall accuracy (trueness and precision) of MIMU-based joint angle data seems to be more dependent on the level of rigor of the experimental procedure (operator training) than on the choice of calibration itself.