ISSN / EISSN : 1424-8220 / 1424-8220
Current Publisher: MDPI AG (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 34,629
Latest articles in this journal
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124235
Due to the epidemic threat, more and more companies decide to automate their production lines. Given the lack of adequate security or space, in most cases, such companies cannot use classic production robots. The solution to this problem is the use of collaborative robots (cobots). However, the required equipment (force sensors) or alternative methods of detecting a threat to humans are usually quite expensive. The article presents the practical aspect of collision detection with the use of a simple neural architecture. A virtual force and torque sensor, implemented as a neural network, may be useful in a team of collaborative robots. Four different approaches are compared in this article: auto-regressive (AR), recurrent neural network (RNN), convolutional long short-term memory (CNN-LSTM) and mixed convolutional LSTM network (MC-LSTM). These architectures are analyzed at different levels of input regression (motor current, position, speed, control velocity). This sensor was tested on the original CURA6 robot prototype (Cooperative Universal Robotic Assistant 6) by Intema. The test results indicate that the MC-LSTM architecture is the most effective with the regression level set at 12 samples (at 24 Hz). The mean absolute prediction error obtained by the MC-LSTM architecture was approximately 22 Nm. The conducted external test (72 different signals with collisions) shows that the presented architecture can be used as a collision detector. The MC-LSTM collision detection f1 score with the optimal threshold was 0.85. A well-developed virtual sensor based on such a network can be used to detect various types of collisions of cobot or other mobile or stationary systems operating on the basis of human-machine interaction.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124239
In the context of fashion/textile innovations towards Industry 4.0, a variety of digital technologies, such as 3D garment CAD, have been proposed to automate, optimize design and manufacturing processes in the organizations of involved enterprises and supply chains as well as services such as marketing and sales. However, the current digital solutions rarely deal with key elements used in the fashion industry, including professional knowledge, as well as fashion and functional requirements of the customer and their relations with product technical parameters. Especially, product design plays an essential role in the whole fashion supply chain and should be paid more attention to in the process of digitalization and intelligentization of fashion companies. In this context, we originally developed an interactive fashion and garment design system by systematically integrating a number of data-driven services of garment design recommendation, 3D virtual garment fitting visualization, design knowledge base, and design parameters adjustment. This system enables close interactions between the designer, consumer, and manufacturer around the virtual product corresponding to each design solution. In this way, the complexity of the product design process can drastically be reduced by directly integrating the consumer’s perception and professional designer’s knowledge into the garment computer-aided design (CAD) environment. Furthermore, for a specific consumer profile, the related computations (design solution recommendation and design parameters adjustment) are performed by using a number of intelligent algorithms (BIRCH, adaptive Random Forest algorithms, and association mining) and matching with a formalized design knowledge base. The proposed interactive design system has been implemented and then exposed through the REST API, for designing garments meeting the consumer’s personalized fashion requirements by repeatedly running the cycle of design recommendation—virtual garment fitting—online evaluation of designer and consumer—design parameters adjustment—design knowledge base creation, and updating. The effectiveness of the proposed system has been validated through a business case of personalized men’s shirt design.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124242
Natural vibration characteristics serve as one of the crucial references for bridge monitoring. However, temperature-induced changes in the natural vibration characteristics of bridge structures may exceed the impact of structural damage, thus causing some interference in damage identification. This study analyzed the influence of temperature on the natural vibration characteristics of simply supported beams, which is the most widely used bridge structure. The theoretical formula for the variation of the natural frequency of simply supported beams with temperature was proposed. The elastic modulus of simply supported beams in the range of −40 °C to 60 °C was acquired by means of the falling ball test and the theoretical formula and was compared with the elastic modulus obtained by the three-point bending test at room temperature (20 °C). In addition, the Midas/Civil finite-element simulation was carried out for the natural frequency of simply supported beams at different temperatures. The results showed that temperature was the main factor causing the variation of the natural frequency of simply supported beams. The linear negative correlation between the natural frequency of simply supported beams and their temperature were observed. The natural frequency of simply supported beams decreased by 0.148% for every 1 °C increase. This research contributed to the further understanding of the natural vibration characteristics of simply supported beams under the influence of temperature so as to provide references for natural frequency monitoring and damage identification of beam bridges.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124243
Asymmetric metal-semiconductor-metal (MSM) aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) UV sensors with 24% Al were fabricated using a selective annealing technique that dramatically reduced the dark current density and improved the ohmic behavior and performance compared to a non-annealed sensor. Its dark current density at a bias of −2.0 V and UV-to-visible rejection ratio (UVRR) at a bias of −7.0 V were 8.5 × 10−10 A/cm2 and 672, respectively, which are significant improvements over a non-annealed sensor with a dark current density of 1.3 × 10−7 A/cm2 and UVRR of 84, respectively. The results of a transmission electron microscopy analysis demonstrate that the annealing process caused interdiffusion between the metal layers; the contact behavior between Ti/Al/Ni/Au and AlGaN changed from rectifying to ohmic behavior. The findings from an X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis revealed that the O 1s binding energy peak intensity associated with Ga oxide, which causes current leakage from the AlGaN surface, decreased from around 846 to 598 counts/s after selective annealing.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124245
Wireless body area networks (WBANs) have strong potential in the field of health monitoring. However, the energy consumption required for accurate monitoring determines the time between battery charges of the wearable sensors, which is a key performance factor (and can be critical in the case of implantable devices). In this paper, we study the inherent trade-off between the power consumption of the sensors and the probability of misclassifying a patient’s health state. We formulate this trade-off as a dynamic problem, in which at each step, we can choose to activate a subset of sensors that provide noisy measurements of the patient’s health state. We assume that the (unknown) health state follows a Markov chain, so our problem is formulated as a partially observable Markov decision problem (POMDP). We show that all the past measurements can be summarized as a belief state on the true health state of the patient, which allows tackling the POMDP problem as an MDP on the belief state. Then, we empirically study the performance of a greedy one-step look-ahead policy compared to the optimal policy obtained by solving the dynamic program. For that purpose, we use an open-source Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) dataset of 232 patients over six months and extract the transition matrix and sensor accuracies from the data. We find that the greedy policy saves ≈50% of the energy costs while reducing the misclassification costs by less than 2% compared to the most accurate policy possible that always activates all sensors. Our sensitivity analysis reveals that the greedy policy remains nearly optimal across different cost parameters and a varying number of sensors. The results also have practical importance, because while the optimal policy is too complicated, a greedy one-step look-ahead policy can be easily implemented in WBAN systems.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124241
Since photoplethysmography (PPG) sensors are usually placed on open skin areas, temperature interference can be an issue. Currently, green light is the most widely used in the reflectance PPG for its relatively low artifact susceptibility. However, it has been known that hemoglobin absorption peaks at the blue part of the spectrum. Despite this fact, blue light has received little attention in the PPG field. Blue wavelengths are commonly used in phototherapy. Combining blue light-based treatments with simultaneous blue PPG acquisition could be potentially used in patients monitoring and studying the biological effects of light. Previous studies examining the PPG in blue light compared to other wavelengths employed photodetectors with inherently lower sensitivity to blue, thereby biasing the results. The present study assessed the accuracy of heartbeat intervals (HBIs) estimation from blue and green PPG signals, acquired under baseline and cold temperature conditions. Our PPG system is based on TCS3472 Color Sensor with equal sensitivity to both parts of the light spectrum to ensure unbiased comparison. The accuracy of the HBIs estimates, calculated with five characteristic points (PPG systolic peak, maximum of the first PPG derivative, maximum of the second PPG derivative, minimum of the second PPG derivative, and intersecting tangents) on both PPG signal types, was evaluated based on the electrocardiographic values. The statistical analyses demonstrated that in all cases, the HBIs estimation accuracy of blue PPG was nearly equivalent to the G PPG irrespective of the characteristic point and measurement condition. Therefore, blue PPG can be used for cardiovascular parameter acquisition. This paper is an extension of work originally presented at the 42nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124249
Alzheimer’s disease is a lifelong progressive neurological disorder. It is associated with high disease management and caregiver costs. Intelligent sensing systems have the capability to provide context-aware adaptive feedback. These can assist Alzheimer’s patients with, continuous monitoring, functional support and timely therapeutic interventions for whom these are of paramount importance. This review aims to present a summary of such systems reported in the extant literature for the management of Alzheimer’s disease. Four databases were searched, and 253 English language articles were identified published between the years 2015 to 2020. Through a series of filtering mechanisms, 20 articles were found suitable to be included in this review. This study gives an overview of the depth and breadth of the efficacy as well as the limitations of these intelligent systems proposed for Alzheimer’s. Results indicate two broad categories of intelligent technologies, distributed systems and self-contained devices. Distributed systems base their outcomes mostly on long-term monitoring activity patterns of individuals whereas handheld devices give quick assessments through touch, vision and voice. The review concludes by discussing the potential of these intelligent technologies for clinical practice while highlighting future considerations for improvements in the design of these solutions for Alzheimer’s disease.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124250
To achieve optimal mobility, visually impaired people have to deal with obstacle detection and avoidance challenges. Aside from the broadly adopted white cane, electronic aids have been developed. However, available electronic devices are not extensively used due to their complexity and price. As an effort to improve the existing ones, this work presents the design of a low-cost aid for blind people. A standard low-cost HC-SRF04 ultrasonic range is modified by adding phase modulation in the ultrasonic pulses, allowing it to detect the origin of emission, thus discriminating if the echo pulses come from the same device and avoiding false echoes due to interference from other sources. This improves accuracy and security in areas where different ultrasonic sensors are working simultaneously. The final device, based on users and trainers feedback for the design, works with the user’s own mobile phone, easing utilization and lowering manufacturing costs. The device was tested with a set of twenty blind persons carrying out a travel experiment and satisfaction survey. The main results showed a change in total involuntary contacts with unknown obstacles and high user satisfaction. Hence, we conclude that the device can fill a gap in the mobility aids and reduce feelings of insecurity amongst the blind.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124238
In this work, we discuss the idea and practical implementation of an integrated photonic circuit-based interrogator of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors dedicated to monitoring the condition of the patients exposed to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) diagnosis. The presented solution is based on an Arrayed Waveguide Grating (AWG) demultiplexer fabricated in generic indium phosphide technology. We demonstrate the consecutive steps of development of the device from design to demonstrator version of the system with confirmed functionality of monitoring the respiratory rate of the patient. The results, compared to those obtained using commercially available bulk interrogator, confirmed both the general concept and proper operation of the device.
Sensors, Volume 21; doi:10.3390/s21124236
The ability to predict heat transfer during hyperthermal and ablative techniques for cancer treatment relies on understanding the thermal properties of biological tissue. In this work, the thermal properties of ex vivo liver, pancreas and brain tissues are reported as a function of temperature. The thermal diffusivity, thermal conductivity and volumetric heat capacity of these tissues were measured in the temperature range from 22 to around 97 °C. Concerning the pancreas, a phase change occurred around 45 °C; therefore, its thermal properties were investigated only until this temperature. Results indicate that the thermal properties of the liver and brain have a non-linear relationship with temperature in the investigated range. In these tissues, the thermal properties were almost constant until 60 to 70 °C and then gradually changed until 92 °C. In particular, the thermal conductivity increased by 100% for the brain and 60% for the liver up to 92 °C, while thermal diffusivity increased by 90% and 40%, respectively. However, the heat capacity did not significantly change in this temperature range. The thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity were dramatically increased from 92 to 97 °C, which seems to be due to water vaporization and state transition in the tissues. Moreover, the measurement uncertainty, determined at each temperature, increased after 92 °C. In the temperature range of 22 to 45 °C, the thermal properties of pancreatic tissue did not change significantly, in accordance with the results for the brain and liver. For the three tissues, the best fit curves are provided with regression analysis based on measured data to predict the tissue thermal behavior. These curves describe the temperature dependency of tissue thermal properties in a temperature range relevant for hyperthermia and ablation treatments and may help in constructing more accurate models of bioheat transfer for optimization and pre-planning of thermal procedures.