Research

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  • Validating an infrared thermal switch as a novel access technology
    Validating an infrared thermal switch as a novel access technology
    Background Recently, a novel single-switch access technology based on infrared thermography was proposed. The technology exploits the temperature differences between the inside and surrounding areas of the mouth as a switch trigger, thereby allowing voluntary switch activation upon mouth opening. However, for this technology to be clinically viable, it must be validated against a gold standard switch, such as a chin switch, that taps into the same voluntary motion. Methods In this study, we report an experiment designed to gauge the concurrent validity of the infrared thermal switch. Ten able-bodied adults participated in a series of 3 test sessions where they simultaneously used both an infrared thermal and conventional chin switch to perform multiple trials of a number identification task with visual, auditory and audiovisual stimuli. Participants also provided qualitative feedback about switch use. User performance with the two switches was quantified using an efficiency measure based on mutual information. Results User performance (p = 0.16) and response time (p = 0.25) with the infrared thermal switch were comparable to those of the gold standard. Users reported preference for the infrared thermal switch given its non-contact nature and robustness to changes in user posture. Conclusions Thermal infrared access technology appears to be a valid single switch alternative for individuals with disabilities who retain voluntary mouth opening and closing., Memarian, N., Venetsanopoulos, A. N., & Chau, T. (2010). Validating an infrared thermal switch as a novel access technology. Biomedical Engineering Online, 9(1), 38-38. doi:10.1186/1475-925X-9-38
    Validity of a theoretical model to examine blood oxygenation dependent optoacoustics
    Validity of a theoretical model to examine blood oxygenation dependent optoacoustics
    A theoretical model investigating the dependence of optoacoustic (OA) signal on blood oxygen saturation (SO2) is discussed. The derivations for the nonbandlimited and bandlimited OA signals from many red blood cells (RBCs) are presented. The OA field generated by many RBCs was obtained by summing the OA field emitted by each RBC approximated as a fluid sphere. A Monte Carlo technique was employed generating the spatial organizations of RBCs in two-dimensional. The RBCs were assumed to have the same SO2 level in a simulated configuration. The fractional number of oxyhemoglobin molecules, confined in a cell, determined the cellular SO2 and also defined the blood SO2. For the nonbandlimited case, the OA signal amplitude decreased and increased linearly with blood SO2 when illuminated by 700 and 1000 nm radiations, respectively. The power spectra exhibited similar trends over the entire frequency range (MHz to GHz). For the bandlimited case, three acoustic receivers with 2, 10, and 50 MHz as the center frequencies were considered. The linear variations of the OA amplitude with blood SO2 were also observed for each receiver at those laser sources. The good agreement between simulated and published experimental results validates the model qualitatively., Saha, R. (2012). Validity of a theoretical model to examine blood oxygenation dependent optoacoustics. J. Biomed. Opt, 17(5), p.055002.
    Vasculotide, an Angiopoietin-1 mimetic, reduces acute skin ionizing radiation damage in a preclinical mouse model
    Vasculotide, an Angiopoietin-1 mimetic, reduces acute skin ionizing radiation damage in a preclinical mouse model
    Background Most cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy, but the treatment can also damage the surrounding normal tissue. Acute skin damage from cancer radiotherapy diminishes patients’ quality of life, yet effective biological interventions for this damage are lacking. Protecting microvascular endothelial cells from irradiation-induced perturbations is emerging as a targeted damage-reduction strategy. Since Angiopoetin-1 signaling through the Tie2 receptor on endothelial cells opposes microvascular perturbations in other disease contexts, we used a preclinical Angiopoietin-1 mimic called Vasculotide to investigate its effect on skin radiation toxicity using a preclinical model. Methods Athymic mice were treated intraperitoneally with saline or Vasculotide and their flank skin was irradiated with a single large dose of ionizing radiation. Acute cutaneous damage and wound healing were evaluated by clinical skin grading, histology and immunostaining. Diffuse reflectance optical spectroscopy, myeloperoxidase-dependent bioluminescence imaging of neutrophils and a serum cytokine array were used to assess inflammation. Microvascular endothelial cell response to radiation was tested with in vitro clonogenic and Matrigel tubule formation assays. Tumour xenograft growth delay experiments were also performed. Appreciable differences between treatment groups were assessed mainly using parametric and non-parametric statistical tests comparing areas under curves, followed by post-hoc comparisons. Results In vivo, different schedules of Vasculotide treatment reduced the size of the irradiation-induced wound. Although skin damage scores remained similar on individual days, Vasculotide administered post irradiation resulted in less skin damage overall. Vasculotide alleviated irradiation-induced inflammation in the form of reduced levels of oxygenated hemoglobin, myeloperoxidase bioluminescence and chemokine MIP-2. Surprisingly, Vasculotide-treated animals also had higher microvascular endothelial cell density in wound granulation tissue. In vitro, Vasculotide enhanced the survival and function of irradiated endothelial cells. Conclusions Vasculotide administration reduces acute skin radiation damage in mice, and may do so by affecting several biological processes. This radiation protection approach may have clinical impact for cancer radiotherapy patients by reducing the severity of their acute skin radiation damage., Korpela, E., Yohan, D., Chin, L. C., Kim, A., Huang, X., Sade, S.. . Liu, S. K. (2014). Vasculotide, an angiopoietin-1 mimetic, reduces acute skin ionizing radiation damage in a preclinical mouse model. BMC Cancer, 14(1), 614-614. doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-614
    Vehicle path planning for complete field coverage using genetic algorithms
    Vehicle path planning for complete field coverage using genetic algorithms
    In farming operations, one of the fundamental issues facing farmer is the cost of running the farm. If the equipment the farmer is using can be made more efficient, the cost of farming will be reduced. One way of making agricultural equipment more efficient is to develop automated or autonomous functions for the equipment. One of the fundamental tasks for autonomous equipment is to plan the path for the equipment to travel. This paper reports the research on the feasibility of creating an automated method of path planning for autonomous agricultural equipment. Genetic algorithms were chosen to plan the paths with a primary goal of creating an optimal path guiding the equipment to completely cover a field while avoiding all known obstacles. Two example fields were designed for evaluating the feasibility of this concept on simple problems. While simulation results verified the feasibility of this conceptual path planning method, they also indicated that further development would be required before the algorithm could actually be implemented on agricultural equipment for real-world field applications. Keywords: Automonous equipment, genetic algorithms, off-road vehicle, path planning, Ryerson, A. F., & Zhang, Q. (2007, July). Vehicle Path Planning for Complete Field Coverage Using Genetic Algorithms. Agricultural Engineering International: The CIGR Ejournal, IX.
    Vertical phosphorus migration in a biosolids-amended sandy loam soil in laboratory settings: concentrations in soils and leachates
    Vertical phosphorus migration in a biosolids-amended sandy loam soil in laboratory settings: concentrations in soils and leachates
    The impacts of biosolids land application on soil phosphorus and subsequent vertical migration to tile drainage were assessed in a laboratory setup. Soil, representing typical “nonresponse” Ontario soil as specified by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), was amended with anaerobically digested biosolids at a rate of 8Mgha−1 (dry weight). Over five months, these amended soil samples from two different depths were sequentially fractionated to determine various inorganic and organic phosphorus pools in order to evaluate phosphorus vertical migration within a soil profile. Soil leachate was analyzed for soluble reactive phosphorus.The results indicated that biosolids application did not significantly affect phosphorus concentrations in soil and did not cause phosphorus vertical migration. The concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus also were not significantly affected by biosolids., Markunas, Y., Bostan, V., Laursen, A., Payne, M., & McCarthy, L. (2016). Vertical phosphorus migration in a biosolids-amended sandy loam soil in laboratory settings: Concentrations in soils and leachates. Applied and Environmental Soil Science, 2016 doi:10.1155/2016/3460939
    Virtual Tools for Assessing Human and Organisational Factors in Production System Design
    Virtual Tools for Assessing Human and Organisational Factors in Production System Design
    This paper describes two approaches for integrating human factors into discrete event simulations of production systems. In the first, biomechanical loading information was integrated with a simulation model in a car dismantling operation. In the second study, the productivity sensitivity of three systems with varying parallelisation was tested with respect to a) allowing operators to take breaks ‘as desired’, and b) having ‘reduced capacity’ operators at work. Both methods provided insight into design options that gave superior performance with improved ergonomics. Such ‘virtual ergonomics’ approaches can help establish boundary crossing discussions to support ergonomics application in early design stages., For a more in-depth look on this subject, please see: Kazmierczak, K., Neumann, W.P. and Winkel, J., 2007. A case study of serial-flow car disassembly: ergonomics, productivity, and potential system performance. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 17(4): 331-351. DOI: 10.1002/hfm.20078 Neumann, W.P. and Medbo, P., 2009. Integrating human factors into discrete event simulations of parallel and serial flow strategies. Production Planning & Control, 20(1): 3-16. DOI: 10.1080/09537280802601444 Perez, J. and Neumann, W.P., 2010. The Use of Virtual Human Factors Tools in Industry – A Workshop Investigation, Ryerson University, Toronto.http://digitalcommons.ryerson.ca/ie/1/
    Virtual identity: applying narrative theory to online character development
    Virtual identity: applying narrative theory to online character development
    This paper will explore the realm of virtual identity within the context of the online virtual world, Second Life. The creation of virtual identities involves the complex process of constructing an online self-presentation. With the prevalence of online forums and virtual reality, ordinary people are crafting identities online and digressing from their actual identities in real life. In order to explain this phenomenon, I draw on narrative theory’s conceptualization of character in order to understand how people craft online identities., Yumansky, S. (2008, Spring). Virtual identity: applying narrative theory to online character development. Stream: Culture/Politics/Technology, 1(1). Retrieved from http://journals.sfu.ca/stream/index.php/stream/article/view/4/4
    Visualising early engineering design information with diagrams
    Visualising early engineering design information with diagrams
    The authors report on their development of computer-based diagramming tools to support the early stages of engineering design and to improve the capacity to innovate. We believe that the human brain is currently the best available device to perform early designing. Thus, good tools will facilitate designers' abilities to “see” information patterns, reflect on them, and achieve insights they may not have achieved otherwise. Our work suggests that diagram layout and style are at least as important as the textual content for their rapid comprehension. These features can be easier to manage in software than in textual descriptions, leading to tools that are more robust and usable. We are working along several lines of inquiry intended to explore particular aspects of the matter, including using existent tools such as concept maps, and developing alternative tools to test ideas about supporting early design by diagramming. While we have not formally evaluated much of our work, anecdotal evidence is encouraging.
    Visualization of Apoptotic Cells using Scanning Acoustic Microscopy and High Frequency Ultrasound
    Visualization of Apoptotic Cells using Scanning Acoustic Microscopy and High Frequency Ultrasound
    Online version of a conference paper originally published as: Visualization of Apoptotic Cells using Scanning Acoustic Microscopy and high frequency ultrasound, S. Brand*, G. J. Czarnota, E. C. Weiss, R. Lemor and M.C.Kolios, In Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, Volume 2, Page(s):882 - 885 Publisher URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=1602991
    Visualization of Lake Mead Surface Area Changes from 1972 to 2009
    Visualization of Lake Mead Surface Area Changes from 1972 to 2009
    For most of the last decade, the south-western portion of the United States has experienced a severe and enduring drought. This has caused serious concerns about water supply and management in the region. In this research, 30 orthorectified Landsat satellite images from the United States Geological Service (USGS) Earth Explorer archive were analyzed for the 1972 to 2009 period. The images encompassed Lake Mead (a major reservoir in this region) and were examined for changes in water surface area. Decadal lake area minimums/maximums were achieved in 1972/1979, 1981/1988, 1991/1998, and 2009/2000. The minimum lake area extent occurred in 2009 (356.4 km2), while the maximum occurred in 1998 (590.6 km2). Variable trends in water level and lake area were observed throughout the analysis period, however progressively lower values were observed since 2000. The Landsat derived lake areas show a very strong relationship with actual measured water levels at the Hoover Dam. Yearly water level variations at the dam vary minimally from the satellite derived estimates. A complete (yearly) record of satellite images may have helped to reduce the slight deviations in the time series., Forsythe, K. W., Schatz, B., Swales, S. J., Ferrato, L., & Atkinson, D. M. (2012). Visualization of lake mead surface area changes from 1972 to 2009. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 1(3), 108-119. doi:10.3390/ijgi1020108
    Visualizing Information in the Early Stages of Engineering Design
    Visualizing Information in the Early Stages of Engineering Design
    The early stages of engineering design are the most crucial for successful product development, yet they are not well supported with computer tools compared to other, downstream stages. This paper will discuss recent efforts by the authors to create visual representations of, and tools for, the non geometric, qualitative information typical in the early stages of engineering design. It appears evident that there is tremendous opportunity to improve the capacity of designers to think both critically and creatively through diagramming in early design, but the field is still embryonic and much work remains to be done., Salustri, F. A., Eng, N. L., & Weerasinghe, J. S. (2008). Visualizing Information in the Early Stages of Engineering Design. Computer-Aided Design and Applications, 5((1-4)), 1-18. doi:10.3722/cadaps.2008.xxx-yyy
    Wait times for publicly funded addiction and problem gambling treatment agencies in Ontario, Canada
    Wait times for publicly funded addiction and problem gambling treatment agencies in Ontario, Canada
    Background This study describes the definitions of wait times and intake processes used by drug and problem gambling treatment agencies in Ontario, Canada, as well as the various strategies employed to ameliorate client backlog. Methods An online survey was developed and distributed to 203 publicly-funded, provincial substance use and problem gambling treatment agencies from June to August, 2011. All aspects of the intake process were covered in the survey. Results Based on 139 responses, six different wait time periods were identified. Additional analyses were completed by type of service offered. Suggestions for effective interventions to shorten wait times and recommendations for future research are provided. Conclusion The results of this study highlight a need for standardized definitions of wait times across substance use and problem gambling treatment services., Pascoe, R. V., Rush, B., & Rotondi, N. K. (2013). Wait times for publicly funded addiction and problem gambling treatment agencies in ontario, canada. BMC Health Services Research, 13, 483. doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-483