Research

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  • Using Teachers’ Volunteer Experiences in the Dominican Republic to Develop Social Responsibility in Canadian Middle-School Students: An ‘Authors in the Classroom’ Approach
    Using Teachers’ Volunteer Experiences in the Dominican Republic to Develop Social Responsibility in Canadian Middle-School Students: An ‘Authors in the Classroom’ Approach
    Online version of an article originally published as: Using Teachers’ Volunteer Experiences in the Dominican Republic to Develop Social Responsibility in Canadian Middle-School Students: An ‘Authors in the Classroom’ Approach. Interamerican Journal of Education for Democracy. Vol 2, No 2 (2009). Publisher URL: http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ried/article/view/161
    Using action research to develop human factors approaches to improve assembly quality during early design and ramp-up of an assembly line
    Using action research to develop human factors approaches to improve assembly quality during early design and ramp-up of an assembly line
    Engineers at a large electronics new product initiation site were interested in developing human factors (HF) approaches to help improve assembly quality during two stages of their production assembly design: early design of tasks, fixtures and tooling; and during early ramp-up of new assembly lines at outsourcing sites. Researchers worked in an action research approach with company engineers and er­gonomists to integrate HF into both design stages. This paper presents the human factors approaches and discusses the challenges of using human factors to improve assembly quality. For the first stage of early design, a HF-design for assembly (HF-DFA) scorecard was developed with 22 items scored on a O (no risk or problem) to 2 (high risk or problems) scale. Items included physical risks, such as grip size and force, movement risks, such as re-grasping or re-orienting, visual risks, such as visual accuracy and inspection difficulty, and cognitive issues such as ability to detect a problem and risk of damage to part or component. High scores were associated with assembly tasks that were both reported as difficult by operators, and also had quality problems. The HF-DFA was adopted as a controlled engineering document and used to proactively score assembly tasks prior to final design of tasks, fixtures and tooling. In the second stage of early ramp, researchers combined the HF-DFA and other HF and performance-based metrics into a modified HF-house of quality (HF-HoQ) approach where the focus was on "worker" requirements rather than the traditional customer requirements. The HF-HoQ was evaluated using video of four identical tasks performed at different outsourcing locations that had a seven-fold difference in defect rates. The HF-HoQ successfully detected the site with the highest defect rate, but not the lowest. The authors recommend further testing and development of approaches that attempt to bring insight from HF to the issue of improving assembly quality. Relevance to industry: Human factors is broader than injury prevention, and has been linked to assembly quality. Two HF approaches were developed to help improve quality in early design stages and during early ramp-up of assembly lines . Companies are encouraged to develop and evaluate HF approaches for improving assembly quality., Village, J., Salustri, F. A., & Neumann, W. P. (2017). Using action research to develop human factors approaches to improve assembly quality during early design and ramp-up of an assembly line. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 61, 107-119. doi:10.1016/j.ergon.2017.05.006
    Using knowledge translation as a framework for the design of a research protocol.
    Using knowledge translation as a framework for the design of a research protocol.
    Knowledge translation has been defined as the synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve health, resulting in a stronger health care system. This paper will describe the process of using an integrated knowledge translation approach to design a research protocol that will examine the effectiveness of a web-based patient educational intervention. It will begin with a description of integrative knowledge translation, followed by the presentation of a specific case example, in which integrative knowledge translation was used to develop a nursing intervention. The major elements of integrative knowledge translation that pertain to: need for a knowledge user, identification of the research approach, examination of study feasibility, and the presentation of outcomes will be addressed throughout this discussion., Fredericks, S., Martorella, G. & Catallo, C. (2014). Using knowledge translation as a framework for the design of a research protocol. International Journal of Nursing Practice.
    Using workstation design parameters to predict workload - A proactive assessment approach for light assembly work
    Using workstation design parameters to predict workload - A proactive assessment approach for light assembly work
    Addressing the need for a virtual tool to predict operator load in light assembly work, a method is presented to estimate shoulder load and hand movement from layout parameters. Using three-dimensional representation of a task location relative to the seated workstation, a regression model is used to predict operator shoulder load. Hand locations for each task of the work cycle are used to determine cumulative hand movement and shoulder load. A case application of the virtual tool showed that trends from an observational tool used by Neumann et al. (2002) in a workstation comparison were matched. The virtual tool predicted shoulder load values 19.8-23.8% higher than the observational tool however this was attributed to its use of three-dimensional task analysis and a different shoulder model. Future work for the virtual tool will assess reliability, validity, the effect of underlying tool assumptions, and the incorporation of a movement time prediction method.
    Utility Assessment of a Map-Based Online Geo-Collaboration Tool
    Utility Assessment of a Map-Based Online Geo-Collaboration Tool
    Spatial group decision-making processes often include both informal and analytical components. Discussions among stakeholders or planning experts are an example of an informal component. When participants discuss spatial planning projects they typically express concerns and comments by pointing to places on a map. The Argumentation Map model provides a conceptual basis for collaborative tools that enable explicit linkages of arguments to the places to which they refer. These tools allow for the input of explicitly geo-referenced arguments as well as the visual access to arguments through a map interface. In this paper, we will review previous utility studies in geo-collaboration and evaluate a case study of a Web-based Argumentation Map application. The case study was conducted in the summer of 2005 when student participants discussed planning issues on the University of Toronto St. George campus. During a one-week unmoderated discussion phase, 11 participants wrote 60 comments on issues such as safety, facilities, parking, and building aesthetics. By measuring the participants’ use of geographic references, we draw conclusions on how well the software tool supported the potential of the underlying concept. This research aims to contribute to a scientific approach to geo-collaboration in which the engineering of novel spatial decision support methods is complemented by a critical assessment of their utility in controlled, realistic experiments.
    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