Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also referred to as drones, equipped with various kinds of advanced detecting or surveying systems, are effective and low-cost in data acquisition, data delivery and sharing, which can benefit the building of infrastructures. This paper will give an overview of applications of drones in planning, designing, construction and maintenance of infrastructures. The drone platform, detecting and surveying systems, and post-data processing systems will be introduced, followed by cases with details of the applications. Challenges from different aspects will be addressed. Opportunities of drones in infrastructure include but not limited to the following. Firstly, UAVs equipped with high definition cameras or other detecting equipment are capable of inspecting the hard to reach infrastructure assets. Secondly, UAVs can be used as effective tools to survey and map the landscape to collect necessary information before infrastructure construction. Furthermore, an UAV or multi-UVAs are useful in construction management. UVAs can also be used in collecting roads and building information by taking high-resolution photos for future infrastructure planning. UAVs can be used to provide reliable and dynamic traffic information, which is potentially helpful in building smart cities. The main challenges are: limited flight time, the robustness of signal, post data analyze, multi-drone collaboration, weather condition, distractions to the traffic caused by drones. This paper aims to help owners, designers, engineers and architects to improve the building process of infrastructures for higher efficiency and better performance.
The purpose of this research is to develop a real time axial force measurement system for a smart bearing through the use of strain-gauges, whereby the data acquisition is performed by an Arduino microcontroller due to its easy manipulation and low-cost. The measured signal is acquired and then discretized using a Wheatstone Bridge and an Analog-Digital Converter (ADC) respectively. For bearing monitoring, a real time monitoring system based on Internet of things (IoT) and Bluetooth were developed. Experimental tests were performed on a bearing within a force range up to 600 kN. The experimental results show that there is a proportional linear relationship between the applied force and the output voltage, and the error R squared is within 0.9878 based on the regression analysis.
Given the evolution of viaducts, structural health monitoring requires more complex techniques to define their state. two alternatives can be distinguished: experimental and operational modal analysis. Although accelerometers or Global Positioning System (GPS) have been applied for the monitoring of structures under exploitation, the dynamic monitoring during the stage of construction is not common. This research analyzes whether GPS data can be applied to certain dynamic geometric controls of evolving structures. The fundamentals of this work were applied to the New Bridge of Cádiz (Spain), a worldwide milestone in bridge building. GPS data were recorded with an interval of 1 second during the erection of segments and turned to the frequency domain with Fourier transform. The vibration period and amplitude were contrasted with those provided by the finite element model, with differences of less than 10%, which is admissible. This process provides a vibration record of the structure with GPS, avoiding specific equipment.
Road traffic accidents lead to a higher rate of death and injury, especially in vulnerable road users such as pedestrians. Improving the safety of facilities for pedestrians is a major concern for policymakers because of the high number of pedestrian fatalities and direct and indirect costs which are imposed to the society. This study focuses on the idea of determining the willingness to pay of pedestrians for increasing their safety while crossing the street. In this study, three different scenarios including crossing the street with zebra crossing facilities, crossing the street with zebra crossing facilities and installing a pedestrian traffic light and constructing a pedestrian bridge with escalator are presented. The research was conducted based on stated preferences method. The required data were collected from a questionnaire that consisted of three parts: pedestrian’s demographic characteristics, travel characteristics and scenarios. Four different payment amounts are presented for each scenario and a logit model has been built for each proposed payment. The results show that sex, age, education, average household income and individual salary have significant effect on choosing a scenario. Among the policies that have been mentioned through the questionnaire scenarios, the scenario of crossing the street with zebra crossing facilities and installing a traffic lights is the most frequent, with willingness to pay 10,000 Rials and the scenario of crossing the street with a zebra crossing with a willingness to pay 100,000 Rials having the least frequency. For all scenarios, as the payment is increasing, the willingness to pay decreases.
Ultimate capacity of large diameter bored piles is usually determined from pile loading tests as recommended by several international codes and foundation design standards. However, loading of this type of piles till achieving apparent failure is practically seldom. In this paper, numerical analyses are carried out to simulate load test of a large diameter bored pile performed at the location of Alzey highway bridge project (Germany). Test results of pile load settlement relationship till failure as well as results of the base and shaft resistances are available. Apparent failure was indicated in this test by the significant increase of the induced settlement during the last load increment applied on the pile head. Measurements of this pile load test are used to assess the quality of the numerical models investigated. Three different material soil models are implemented in the analyses: Mohr coulomb (MC), Soft soil (SS), and Modified Mohr coulomb (MMC). Very good agreement is obtained between the field measured settlement and the calculated settlement using the MMC model. Results of analysis showed also that the MMC constitutive model is superior to MC, and SS models in predicting the ultimate base and shaft resistances of the large diameter bored pile. After calibrating the numerical model, behavior of large diameter bored piles under axial loads is discussed and the formation of the plastic zone around the pile is explored. Results obtained showed that the plastic zone below the base of the pile at failure extended laterally to about four times the pile diameter and vertically to about three times the pile diameter.
Games-based learning (GBL) has become increasingly important in teaching and learning. This paper explains the first two phases (analysis and design) of a GBL development project, ending up with a prototype design based on students’ and teachers’ perceptions. The two phases are part of a full cycle GBL project aiming to help secondary school students in Thailand in their study of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE). In the course of the study, we invited 1,152 students to complete questionnaires and interviewed 12 secondary school teachers in focus groups. This paper found that GBL can serve students in their learning about CSE, enabling them to gain understanding of their sexuality, develop skills, including critical thinking skills and interact with others (peers, teachers, etc.) in a safe environment. The objectives of this paper are to outline the development of GBL variables from the research question(s) into the developers’ flow chart, to be responsive to the GBL beneficiaries’ preferences and expectations, and to help in answering the research questions. This paper details the steps applied to generate GBL variables that can feed into a game flow chart to develop a GBL prototype. In our approach, we detailed two models: (1) Game Elements Model (GEM) and (2) Game Object Model (GOM). There are three outcomes of this research – first, to achieve the objectives and benefits of GBL in learning, game design has to start with the research question(s) and the challenges to be resolved as research outcomes. Second, aligning the educational aims with engaging GBL end users (students) within the data collection phase to inform the game prototype with the game variables is essential to address the answer/solution to the research question(s). Third, for efficient GBL to bridge the gap between pedagogy and technology and in order to answer the research questions via technology (i.e. GBL) and to minimise the isolation between the pedagogists “P” and technologist “T”, several meetings and discussions need to take place within the team.
Lebanon electricity crisis continues to escalate. Rationing hours still apply across the country but with different rates. The capital Beirut is subjected to 3 hours cut while other cities, town and villages may endure 9 to 14 hours of power shortage. To mitigate this situation, private diesel generators distributed illegally all over the country are being used to bridge the gap in power supply. Almost each building in large cities has its own generator and individual villages may have more than one generator supplying their loads. These generators together with their private networks form incomplete and ill-designed and managed microgrids (MG) but can be further developed to become renewable energy-based MG operating in island- or grid-connected modes. This paper will analyze the potential of introducing MG to help resolve the energy crisis in Lebanon. It will investigate the usefulness of developing MG under the prevailing situation of existing private power supply service providers and in light of the developed national energy policy that supports renewable energy development. A case study on a distribution feeder in a rural area will be analyzed using HOMER software to demonstrate the usefulness of introducing photovoltaic (PV) arrays along the existing diesel generators for all the stakeholders; namely, the developers, the customers, the utility and the community at large. Policy recommendations regarding MG development in Lebanon will be presented on the basis of the accumulated experience in private generation and the privatization and public-private partnership laws.
In this paper, a topology for high voltage gain half-bridge z-source inverter with low voltage stress on capacitors is proposed. The proposed inverter has only one impedance network. It can generate symmetric and asymmetric voltages with different magnitudes during both half-cycles. By selecting the duty cycle it can also produce conventional half-bridge inverter characteristics. It is used in special applications like, electrochemical and electro plating applications. Calculations of voltage ripple of capacitors, capacitors voltage stress inductors current ripple are presented. The proposed topology is simulated using PSCAD software and the simulated values are compared with the theoretical values.
Bidirectional energy transfer capability with high efficiency and reduced cost is fast gaining prominence in the central part of a lot of power conversion systems in Direct Current (DC) microgrid. Preferably, under the economics constraints, these systems utilise a single high efficiency power electronics conversion system and a dual active bridge converter. In this paper, modeling and performance of Dual Active Bridge (DAB) converter with Extended Phase Shift (EPS) is evaluated with two batteries on both sides of DC bus and bidirectional energy transfer is facilitated and this is further compared with the Single Phase Shift (SPS) mode of operation. Optimum operating zone is identified through exhaustive simulations using MATLAB/Simulink and SimPowerSystem software. Reduced rules based fuzzy logic controller is implemented for closed loop control of DAB converter. The control logic enables the bidirectional energy transfer within the batteries even at lower duty ratios. Charging and discharging of batteries is supervised by the fuzzy logic controller. State of charge, current and voltage for both the batteries are plotted in the battery characteristics. Power characteristics of batteries are also obtained using MATLAB simulations.
In this paper, selective harmonic elimination pulse width modulation technique is employed to eliminate lower order harmonics like third by determination of solving non-linear equations. The cascaded H-bridge five level inverter is driven by the Peripheral Interface Controlled (PIC) Microcontroller 16F877A. The performance of single phase cascaded H-bridge five level inverter with relevant to harmonics and a variety of switches with solar cell as its input source is simulated by employing MATLAB/Simulink. A hardware model is developed to verify the performance of the developed system.
Elastomeric bearings (EB) are used in many applications, such as base isolation of bridges, seismic protection and vibration control of other structures and machinery. Their versatility is due to their particular behavior since they have different stiffness in the vertical and horizontal directions, allowing to sustain vertical loads and at the same time horizontal displacements. Therefore, vertical, horizontal and bending stiffnesses are important parameters to take into account in the design of EB. In order to acquire a proper design methodology of EB all three, theoretical, finite element analysis and experimental, approaches should be taken into account to assess stability due to different loading states, predict their behavior and consequently their effects on the dynamic response of structures, and understand complex behavior and properties of rubber-like materials respectively. In particular, the recent large-displacement theory on the stability of EB formulated by Forcellini and Kelly is validated with both numerical simulations using the finite element method, and experimental results set at the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia. In this regard, this study reproduces the behavior of EB under compression loads and investigates the stability behavior with the three mentioned points of view.
The paper presents design and production of thin-walled U-profile footbridge made of UHPFRC. The main structure of the bridge is one prefabricated shell structure made of UHPFRC with dispersed steel fibers without any conventional reinforcement. The span of the bridge structure is 10 m and the clear width of 1.5 m. The thickness of the UHPFRC shell structure oscillated in an interval of 30-45 mm. Several calculations were made during the bridge design and compared with the experiments. For the purpose of verifying the calculations, a segment of 1.5 m was first produced, followed by the whole footbridge for testing. After the load tests were done, the design was optimized to cast the final footbridge.
This paper attempts to develop a wireless feedback control system as a primary step eventually toward a bio-inspired structure system where inanimate structure behaves like a life form autonomously. It is a standalone wireless control system which is supposed to measure externally caused structural responses, analyze structural state from acquired data, and take its own action on the basis of the analysis with an embedded logic. For an experimental examination of its effectiveness, we applied it on a model of two-span bridge and performed a wireless control test. Experimental tests have been conducted for comparison on both the wireless and the wired system under the conditions of Un-control, Passive-off, Passive-on, and Lyapunov control algorithm. By proving the congruence of the test result of the wireless feedback control system with the wired control system, its control performance was proven to be effective. Besides, it was found to be economical in energy consumption and also autonomous by means of a command algorithm embedded into it, which proves its basic capacity as a bio-inspired system.
This study investigates the benefits of implementing the semi-active devices in relation to passive viscous damping in the context of seismically isolated bridge structures. Since the intrinsically nonlinear nature of semi-active devices prevents the direct evaluation of Laplace transforms, frequency response functions are compiled from the computed time history response to sinusoidal and pulse-like seismic excitation. A simple semi-active control policy is used in regard to passive linear viscous damping and an optimal non-causal semi-active control strategy. The control strategy requires optimization. Euler-Lagrange equations are solved numerically during this procedure. The optimal closed-loop performance is evaluated for an idealized controllable dash-pot. A simplified single-degree-of-freedom model of an isolated bridge is used as numerical example. Two bridge cases are investigated. These cases are; bridge deck without the isolation bearing and bridge deck with the isolation bearing. To compare the performances of the passive and semi-active control cases, frequency dependent acceleration, velocity and displacement response transmissibility ratios Ta(w), Tv(w), and Td(w) are defined. To fully investigate the behavior of the structure subjected to the sinusoidal and pulse type excitations, different damping levels are considered. Numerical results showed that, under the effect of external excitation, bridge deck with semi-active control showed better structural performance than the passive bridge deck case.
Rice yields among agro-ecological zones are heterogeneous. Farmers, researchers and policy makers are making frantic efforts to bridge rice yield gaps between agro-ecological zones through the promotion of improved agricultural technologies (IATs). Farmers are also modifying these IATs and blending them with indigenous farming practices (IFPs) to form farmer innovation systems (FISs). Also, different metafrontier models have been used in estimating productivity performances and their drivers. This study used the two-step stochastic metafrontier model to estimate the productivity performances of rice farmers and their determining factors in GSZ, FSTZ and CSZ. The study used both primary and secondary data. Farmers in CSZ are the most technically efficient. Technical inefficiencies of farmers are negatively influenced by age, sex, household size, education years, extension visits, contract farming, access to improved seeds, access to irrigation, high rainfall amount, less lodging of rice, and well-coordinated and synergized adoption of technologies. Albeit farmers in CSZ are doing well in terms of rice yield, they still have the highest potential of increasing rice yield since they had the lowest TGR. It is recommended that government through the ministry of food and agriculture, development partners and individual private companies promote the adoption of IATs as well as educate farmers on how to coordinate and synergize the adoption of the whole package. Contract farming concept and agricultural extension intensification should be vigorously pursued to the latter.
In care for older adults, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) like agitation and aggression are distressing for patients and their caretakers, often resulting in premature institutionalization with increased costs of care. To improve mood and mitigate symptoms, as a non-pharmaceutical approach, emotion-oriented therapy like reminiscence work is adopted in face-to-face communication. Telecommunication support is expected to be provided by robotic media as a bridge for digital divide for those with dementia and facilitate social interaction both verbally and nonverbally. The purpose of this case study is to explore the conditions in which robotic media can effectively attract attention from older adults with dementia and promote their well-being. As a pilot study, we introduced the pillow-phone Hugvie®, a huggable humanly shaped communication medium to five residents with dementia at a care facility, to investigate how the following conditions work for the elderly when they use the medium; 1) no sound, 2) radio, non-interactive, 3) daily conversation, and 4) reminiscence work. As a result, under condition 4, reminiscence work, the five participants kept concentration in interacting with the medium for a longer duration than other conditions. In condition 4, they also showed larger amount of utterances than under other conditions. These results indicate that providing topics related to personal histories through robotic media could affect communication positively and should, therefore, be further investigated. In addition, the issue of ethical implications by using persuasive technology that affects emotions and behaviors of older adults is also discussed.
Hand gesture recognition is a technique used to locate, detect, and recognize a hand gesture. Detection and recognition are concepts of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI concepts are applicable in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Expert systems (ES), etc. Hand gesture recognition can be used in sign language interpretation. Sign language is a visual communication tool. This tool is used mostly by deaf societies and those with speech disorder. Communication barriers exist when societies with speech disorder interact with others. This research aims to build a hand recognition system for Lesotho’s Sesotho and English language interpretation. The system will help to bridge the communication problems encountered by the mentioned societies. The system has various processing modules. The modules consist of a hand detection engine, image processing engine, feature extraction, and sign recognition. Detection is a process of identifying an object. The proposed system uses Canny pruning Haar and Haarcascade detection algorithms. Canny pruning implements the Canny edge detection. This is an optimal image processing algorithm. It is used to detect edges of an object. The system employs a skin detection algorithm. The skin detection performs background subtraction, computes the convex hull, and the centroid to assist in the detection process. Recognition is a process of gesture classification. Template matching classifies each hand gesture in real-time. The system was tested using various experiments. The results obtained show that time, distance, and light are factors that affect the rate of detection and ultimately recognition. Detection rate is directly proportional to the distance of the hand from the camera. Different lighting conditions were considered. The more the light intensity, the faster the detection rate. Based on the results obtained from this research, the applied methodologies are efficient and provide a plausible solution towards a light-weight, inexpensive system which can be used for sign language interpretation.
In this paper, a planar monopole antenna for multi band applications is proposed. The antenna structure operates at three operating frequencies at 3.7, 6.2, and 13.5 GHz which cover different communication frequency ranges. The antenna consists of a quasi-modified rectangular radiating patch with a partial ground plane and two parasitic elements (open-loop-ring resonators) to serve as coupling-bridges. A stepped cut at lower corners of the radiating patch and the partial ground plane are used, to achieve the multiband features. The proposed antenna is manufactured on the FR4 substrate and is simulated and optimized using High Frequency Simulation System (HFSS). The antenna topology possesses an area of 30.5 x 30 x 1.6 mm3. The measured results demonstrate that the candidate antenna has impedance bandwidths for 10 dB return loss and operates from 3.80 – 3.90 GHz, 4.10 – 5.20 GHz, 11.2 – 11.5 GHz and from 12.5 – 14.0 GHz, which meet the requirements of the wireless local area network (WLAN), worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX), C- (Uplink) and Ku- (Uplink) band applications. Acceptable agreement is obtained between measurement and simulation results. Experimental results show that the antenna is successfully simulated and measured, and the tri-band antenna can be achieved by adjusting the lengths of the three elements and it gives good gains across all the operation bands.
A very large percentage of bridge failures are attributed to scouring around bridge piers and this directly influences public safety. Experiments are carried out in a 12-m long rectangular open channel flume made of transparent tempered glass. A 300 mm thick bed made up of sand particles is leveled horizontally to create the test bed and a 50 mm hollow plastic cylinder is used as a model bridge pier. Tests are carried out with varying flow depths and velocities. Data points of various scour parameters such as scour depth, width, and length are collected based on different flow conditions and visual observations of changes in the stream bed downstream the bridge pier are also made as the scour progresses. Result shows that all three major flow characteristics (flow depth, Froude number and densimetric Froude number) have one way or other affect the scour profile.
The hi-tech industries in the Science Park at southern Taiwan were heavily damaged by a strong earthquake early 2016. The financial loss in this event was attributed primarily to the automated stocker system handling fully processed products, and recovery of the automated stocker system from the aftermath proved to contribute major lead time. Therefore, development of effective means for protection of stockers against earthquakes has become the highest priority for risk minimization and business continuity. This study proposes to mitigate the seismic response of the stockers by introducing viscous fluid dampers in between the ceiling and the top of the stockers. The stocker is expected to vibrate less violently with a passive control force on top. Linear damper is considered in this application with an optimal damping coefficient determined from a preliminary parametric study. The damper is small in size in comparison with those adopted for building or bridge applications. Component test of the dampers has been carried out to make sure they meet the design requirement. Shake table tests have been further conducted to verify the proposed scheme under realistic earthquake conditions. Encouraging results have been achieved by effectively reducing the seismic responses of up to 60% and preventing the FOUPs from falling off the shelves that would otherwise be the case if left unprotected. Effectiveness of adopting a viscous fluid damper for seismic control of the stocker on top against the ceiling has been confirmed. This technique has been adopted by Macronix International Co., LTD for seismic retrofit of existing stockers. Demonstrative projects on the application of the proposed technique are planned underway for other companies in the display industry as well.
This paper is aimed at creating an Automatic Java X-Machine testing tool for software development. The nature of software development is changing; thus, the type of software testing tools required is also changing. Software is growing increasingly complex and, in part due to commercial impetus for faster software releases with new features and value, increasingly in danger of containing faults. These faults can incur huge cost for software development organisations and users; Cambridge Judge Business School’s research estimated the cost of software bugs to the global economy is $312 billion. Beyond the cost, faster software development methodologies and increasing expectations on developers to become testers is driving demand for faster, automated, and effective tools to prevent potential faults as early as possible in the software development lifecycle. Using X-Machine theory, this paper will explore a new tool to address software complexity, changing expectations on developers, faster development pressures and methodologies, with a view to reducing the huge cost of fixing software bugs.