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Journal Applied Sciences

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Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072420

Abstract:
Indoor mobile mapping techniques are important for indoor navigation and indoor modeling. As an efficient method, Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) based on Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) has been applied for fast indoor mobile mapping. It can quickly construct high-precision indoor maps in a certain small region. However, with the expansion of the mapping area, SLAM-based mapping methods face many difficulties, such as loop closure detection, large amounts of calculation, large memory occupation, and limited mapping precision. In this paper, we propose a distributed indoor mapping scheme based on control-network-aided SLAM to solve the problem of mapping for large-scale environments. Its effectiveness is analyzed from the relative accuracy and absolute accuracy of the mapping results. The experimental results show that the relative accuracy can reach 0.08 m, an improvement of 49.8% compared to the mapping result without loop closure. The absolute accuracy can reach 0.13 m, which proves the method’s feasibility for distributed mapping. The accuracies under different numbers of control points are also compared to find the suitable structure of the control network.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072421

Abstract:
Recently, graph neural networks (GNNs) have achieved great success in dealing with graph-based data. The basic idea of GNNs is iteratively aggregating the information from neighbors, which is a special form of Laplacian smoothing. However, most of GNNs fall into the over-smoothing problem, i.e., when the model goes deeper, the learned representations become indistinguishable. This reflects the inability of the current GNNs to explore the global graph structure. In this paper, we propose a novel graph neural network to address this problem. A rejection mechanism is designed to address the over-smoothing problem, and a dilated graph convolution kernel is presented to capture the high-level graph structure. A number of experimental results demonstrate that the proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art GNNs, and can effectively overcome the over-smoothing problem.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072422

Abstract:
On the basis of previous study in our research group, the phenomenon of the dynamic tapered angle was founded, the occurrence of atomization is regarded to derive from the combined effects of the dynamic variation of the micro-tapered aperture, and the difference between forward and reverse flow resistance has been explained by both theories and experiments. It has been revealed that the main influencing factors of the atomization rate are driving voltage, driving frequency, and so on, while the root causes of the various atomization rates still need to be further clarified. In this paper, a micro-tapered aperture worked as a micron-sized tapered flow tube valveless piezoelectric pump in periodic variation. The working principle of such a micro-tapered aperture atomizer was analyzed in detail, and the corresponding formula of the atomization rate was also established. Through measuring the atomization rates at different working frequencies (f), it was established that when the f was set as 122 kHz, the atomization rate reached a maximum value. By building the relationship between the atomization rate and voltage at a fixed resonance frequency, it can be seen that the atomization rate increased with the increase of driving voltage. Subsequently, in order to measure their atomization rates, the micro-tapered apertures of three different outlet diameters were applied, so that the atomization rate was enhanced with the increase of the micro-tapered aperture diameter. Moreover, through examining the atomization rates at different temperatures, it was observed that the atomization rate rose with increasing temperature; while changing the liquid concentration, the atomization rate was also enhanced by the increase in its concentration. Apparently, the impact factors including working frequency, driving voltage, outlet diameter, temperature, and liquid concentration all exert some effects on the atomization rate. It is worth noting that at the first stage, these influence factors indirectly work on the micro-tapered aperture structure or flow state, followed by further effects on the flow resistance. As above-mentioned, in this work, we considered that the root cause influencing the atomization rate in a piezoceramic vibrating mesh atomizer can be attributed to the flow resistance.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072425

Abstract:
Many people wishing to learn a musical instrument opt to learn using alternative or informal methods instead of the traditional Master–Apprentice model that requires a greater cognitive load. This paper presents an augmented reality (AR)-based application designed to teach and train guitar chords, with the novelty that it is also used to teach short melodies consisting of four chord transitions so that users have to change hand and finger positions. The app uses high-quality 3D models of an acoustic guitar and animated hand to indicate correct finger positions and the movements required when changing from one chord to another. To follow the animated instructions, the learner overlaps the 3D model onto the neck of the physical guitar and his or her own hand. A system usability scale (SUS) questionnaire was used to measure the usability of the application. A score of 82.0 was obtained, which is higher than the average of 68 points that indicates the application is good from a user experience perspective, thus satisfying the purpose for which it was created. Having analysed the data for both groups—individuals with no prior experience of playing a musical instrument versus individuals with prior experience—it was concluded that the application provided a useful learning approach for all participants involved in the study, regardless of experience. That said, those possessing prior experience of playing an instrument learnt faster. It should be noted that the research revealed significant difference in learning by gender, with male participants learning faster than female participants. Similar results have been detected in other research performed in the field of music, as well as in other fields. As this study required spatial reasoning when viewing the 3D model, the differences identified this case may well have arisen as a consequence of differences in men and women’s spatial awareness, thereby leaving open an alternative line of research.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072427

Abstract:
We demonstrate terahertz single-pixel imaging is improved by using a photomodulator based on silicon passivated with SiO 2 . By exploring various SiO 2 thicknesses, we show that the modulation factor of the as-fabricated terahertz photomodulator can reach 0.9, three times that based on bare silicon. This improvement originates from chemical passivation, as well as anti-reflection. Single-pixel imaging experiments based on the compressed sensing method show that reconstructed images adopting the new photomodulator have better quality than the conventional terahertz modulator based on bare silicon. Since the passivation process is routine and low cost, we expect this work will reduce the cost of terahertz photomodulator and single-pixel THz imaging, and advance their applications.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072426

Abstract:
Traditional propulsion systems for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have several deficiencies, such as the invasion of the aquatic environment through the generation of noise and damage to the ecosystem, higher energy consumption, and a unidirectional thruster vector. The last characteristic constrains the maneuverability of the vehicle. This paper proposes a 3-DOF spherical 3 universal–cylindrical–universal and 1 spherical joint (3UCU-1S) parallel mechanism coupled to an artificial caudal fin to produce a vectored thruster for a biomimetic AUV (BAUV). First, the design and construction of the prototype are described. Then, the kinematics and dynamics analysis of the parallel mechanism is presented. Finally, a motion study shows the types of movements that can be achieved with the mechanism to perform flapping of the caudal fin in different directions.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072423

Abstract:
The effect of using a pulse shaper technique, such as rounding a striker or applying a pulse shaper on the signals recorded with the split Hopkinson pressure bar (SHPB) technique, when the striker and the input bar are in an imperfect position, was investigated. Two of the most common cases have been analyzed: an offset of the symmetry axes of the striker and the input bar; and an inclination angle between the striker and the input bar. LS-Dyna software was used to examine this problem numerically. The inclination angle imperfection has a significant impact on signal disturbances, whereas the use of a rounded striker significantly affects the limitation of the vibration flexural modes. In all considered cases, a slight imperfection causes a reduction in the high-frequency Pochhammer–Chree oscillations.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072424

Abstract:
(1) Background: In the case of quick picking and heavy lifting, the carrying action results in a much more active myoelectric signal in the lower back than in an upright stationary one, and there is a high risk of back muscle injury without proper handling skills and equipment. (2) Methods: To reduce the risk of LBP during manual handing tasks, a hip active exoskeleton is designed to assist human manual lifting. A power control method is introduced into the control loop in the process of assisting human transportation. The power curve imitates the semi-squat movement of the human body as the output power of the hip joint. (3) Results: According to the test, the torque can be output according to the wearer’s movement. During the semi-squat lifting process, the EMG (electromyogram) signal of the vertical spine at L5/S1 was reduced by 30%–48% and the metabolic cost of energy was reduced by 18% compared the situation of without EXO. (4) Conclusion: The exoskeleton joint output torque can change in an adaptive manner according to the angular velocity of the wearer’s joint. The exoskeleton can assist the waist muscles and the hip joint in the case of the reciprocating semi-squat lifting movement.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072429

Abstract:
Stable radiation pattern, high gain, and miniaturization are necessary for the ultra-wideband antennas in the 2G/3G/4G/5G base station applications. Here, an ultrawideband and miniaturized spoof plasmonic antipodal Vivaldi antenna (AVA) is proposed, which is composed of the AVA and the loaded periodic grooves. The designed operating frequency band is from 1.8 GHz to 6 GHz, and the average gain is 7.24 dBi. Furthermore, the measured results show that the radiation patterns of the plasmonic AVA are stable. The measured results are in good agreement with the simulation results.
Published: 2 April 2020
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/app10072430

Abstract:
A point spread function evaluation method for a microscope on the object plane that is perpendicular to the optical axis is proposed. The measurement of the incident beam direction from the dual position-sensitive-detector (PSD)-based units, the determination of the object plane perpendicularity and the paraxial region, and evaluation methods for the point spread function (PSF) are presented and integrated into the proposed method. The experimental verification demonstrates that the proposed method can achieve a 3D PSF on the perpendicular object plane, as well as magnification, paraxial region evaluation, and confirmation for any microscopic system.
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