Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 10

Search results for: Apostolos Meliones

10 User Requirements Analysis for the Development of Assistive Navigation Mobile Apps for Blind and Visually Impaired People

Authors: Paraskevi Theodorou, Apostolos Meliones


In the context of the development process of two assistive navigation mobile apps for blind and visually impaired people (BVI) an extensive qualitative analysis of the requirements of potential users has been conducted. The analysis was based on interviews with BVIs and aimed to elicit not only their needs with respect to autonomous navigation but also their preferences on specific features of the apps under development. The elicited requirements were structured into four main categories, namely, requirements concerning the capabilities, functionality and usability of the apps, as well as compatibility requirements with respect to other apps and services. The main categories were then further divided into nine sub-categories. This classification, along with its content, aims to become a useful tool for the researcher or the developer who is involved in the development of digital services for BVI.

Keywords: Accessibility, assistive mobile apps, blind and visually impaired people, user requirements analysis

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9 E-Learning in Life-Long Learning: Best Practices from the University of the Aegean

Authors: Chryssi Vitsilaki, Apostolos Kostas, Ilias Efthymiou


This paper presents selected best practices on online learning and teaching derived from a novel and innovating Lifelong Learning program through e-Learning, which has during the last five years been set up at the University of the Aegean in Greece. The university, capitalizing on an award-winning, decade-long experience in e-learning and blended learning in undergraduate and postgraduate studies, recently expanded into continuous education and vocational training programs in various cutting-edge fields. So, in this article we present: (a) the academic structure/infrastructure which has been developed for the administrative, organizational and educational support of the e-Learning process, including training the trainers, (b) the mode of design and implementation based on a sound pedagogical framework of open and distance education, and (c) the key results of the assessment of the e-learning process by the participants, as they are used to feedback on continuous organizational and teaching improvement and quality control.

Keywords: e-Learning, Distance Education, life-long programs, synchronous/asynchronous learning

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8 Impact of Ship Traffic to PM 2.5 and Particle Number Concentrations in Three Port-Cities of the Adriatic/Ionian Area

Authors: Daniele Contini, Antonio Donateo, Andrea Gambaro, Athanasios Argiriou, Dimitrios Melas, Daniela Cesari, Anastasia Poupkou, Athanasios Karagiannidis, Apostolos Tsakis, Eva Merico, Rita Cesari, Adelaide Dinoi


Emissions of atmospheric pollutants from ships and harbour activities are a growing concern at International level given their potential impacts on air quality and climate. These close-to-land emissions have potential impact on local communities in terms of air quality and health. Recent studies show that the impact of maritime traffic to atmospheric particulate matter concentrations in several coastal urban areas is comparable with the impact of road traffic of a medium size town. However, several different approaches have been used for these estimates making difficult a direct comparison of results. In this work an integrated approach based on emission inventories and dedicated measurement campaigns has been applied to give a comparable estimate of the impact of maritime traffic to PM2.5 and particle number concentrations in three major harbours of the Adriatic/Ionian Seas. The influences of local meteorology and of the logistic layout of the harbours are discussed.

Keywords: PM2.5, ship emissions, particle number concentrations, impact of shipping to atmospheric aerosol

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7 Evaluating the Performance of 28 EU Member Countries on Health2020: A Data Envelopment Analysis Evaluation of the Successful Implementation of Policies

Authors: Elias K. Maragos, Petros E. Maravelakis, Apostolos I. Linardis


Health2020 is a promising framework of policies provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) and aiming to diminish the health and well-being inequalities among the citizens of the European Union (EU) countries. The major demographic, social and environmental changes, in addition to the resent economic crisis prevent the unobstructed and successful implementation of this framework. The unemployment rates and the percentage of people at risk of poverty have increased among the citizens of EU countries. At the same time, the adopted fiscal, economic policies do not help governments to serve their social role and mitigate social and health inequalities. In those circumstances, there is a strong pressure to organize all health system resources efficiently and wisely. In order to provide a unified and value-based framework of valuation, we propose a valuation framework using data envelopment analysis (DEA) and dynamic DEA. We believe that the adopted methodology could provide a robust tool which can capture the degree of success with which policies have been implemented and is capable to determine which of the countries developed the requested policies efficiently and which of the countries have been lagged. Using the proposed methodology, we evaluated the performance of 28 EU member-countries in relation to the Health2020 peripheral targets. We adopted several versions of evaluation, measuring the effectiveness and the efficiency of EU countries from 2011 to 2016. Our results showed stability in technological changes and revealed a group of countries which were benchmarks in most of the years for the inefficient countries.

Keywords: Well-being, Health Inequalities, DEA, malmquist index, Health2020, policies evaluation

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6 A Semidefinite Model to Quantify Dynamic Forces in the Powertrain of Torque Regulated Bascule Bridge Machineries

Authors: Kodo Sektani, Apostolos Tsouvalas, Andrei Metrikine


The reassessment of existing movable bridges in The Netherlands has created the need for acceptance/rejection criteria to assess whether the machineries are meet certain design demands. However, the existing design code defines a different limit state design, meant for new machineries which is based on a simple linear spring-mass model. Observations show that existing bridges do not confirm the model predictions. In fact, movable bridges are nonlinear systems consisting of mechanical components, such as, gears, electric motors and brakes. Next to that, each movable bridge is characterized by a unique set of parameters. However, in the existing code various variables that describe the physical characteristics of the bridge are neglected or replaced by partial factors. For instance, the damping ratio ζ, which is different for drawbridges compared to bascule bridges, is taken as a constant for all bridge types. In this paper, a model is developed that overcomes some of the limitations of existing modelling approaches to capture the dynamics of the powertrain of a class of bridge machineries First, a semidefinite dynamic model is proposed, which accounts for stiffness, damping, and some additional variables of the physical system, which are neglected by the code, such as nonlinear braking torques. The model gives an upper bound of the peak forces/torques occurring in the powertrain during emergency braking. Second, a discrete nonlinear dynamic model is discussed, with realistic motor torque characteristics during normal operation. This model succeeds to accurately predict the full time history of the occurred stress state of the opening and closing cycle for fatigue purposes.

Keywords: Dynamics of movable bridges, Bridge machinery, Powertrains, Torque measurements

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5 Detection of Flood Prone Areas Using Multi Criteria Evaluation, Geographical Information Systems and Fuzzy Logic. The Ardas Basin Case

Authors: Vasileiou Apostolos, Theodosiou Chrysa, Tsitroulis Ioannis, Maris Fotios


The severity of extreme phenomena is due to their ability to cause severe damage in a small amount of time. It has been observed that floods affect the greatest number of people and induce the biggest damage when compared to the total of annual natural disasters. The detection of potential flood-prone areas constitutes one of the fundamental components of the European Natural Disaster Management Policy, directly connected to the European Directive 2007/60. The aim of the present paper is to develop a new methodology that combines geographical information, fuzzy logic and multi-criteria evaluation methods so that the most vulnerable areas are defined. Therefore, ten factors related to geophysical, morphological, climatological/meteorological and hydrological characteristics of the basin were selected. Afterwards, two models were created to detect the areas pronest to flooding. The first model defined the gravitas of each factor using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) and the final map of possible flood spots were created using GIS and Boolean Algebra. The second model made use of the fuzzy logic and GIS combination and a respective map was created. The application area of the aforementioned methodologies was in Ardas basin due to the frequent and important floods that have taken place these last years. Then, the results were compared to the already observed floods. The result analysis shows that both models can detect with great precision possible flood spots. As the fuzzy logic model is less time-consuming, it is considered the ideal model to apply to other areas. The said results are capable of contributing to the delineation of high risk areas and to the creation of successful management plans dealing with floods.

Keywords: Fuzzy Logic, Geographic Information System, analytical hierarchy process, flood prone areas

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4 Hypersonic Propulsion Requirements for Sustained Hypersonic Flight for Air Transportation

Authors: James Rate, Apostolos Pesiridis


In this paper, the propulsion requirements required to achieve sustained hypersonic flight for commercial air transportation are evaluated. In addition, a design methodology is developed and used to determine the propulsive capabilities of both ramjet and scramjet engines. Twelve configurations are proposed for hypersonic flight using varying combinations of turbojet, turbofan, ramjet and scramjet engines. The optimal configuration was determined based on how well each of the configurations met the projected requirements for hypersonic commercial transport. The configurations were separated into four sub-configurations each comprising of three unique derivations. The first sub-configuration comprised four afterburning turbojets and either one or two ramjets idealised for Mach 5 cruise. The number of ramjets required was dependent on the thrust required to accelerate the vehicle from a speed where the turbojets cut out to Mach 5 cruise. The second comprised four afterburning turbojets and either one or two scramjets, similar to the first configuration. The third used four turbojets, one scramjet and one ramjet to aid acceleration from Mach 3 to Mach 5. The fourth configuration was the same as the third, but instead of turbojets, it implemented turbofan engines for the preliminary acceleration of the vehicle. From calculations which determined the fuel consumption at incremental Mach numbers this paper found that the ideal solution would require four turbojet engines and two Scramjet engines. The ideal mission profile was determined as being an 8000km sortie based on an averaging of popular long haul flights with strong business ties, which included Los Angeles to Tokyo, London to New York and Dubai to Beijing. This paper deemed that these routes would benefit from hypersonic transport links based on the previously mentioned factors. This paper has found that this configuration would be sufficient for the 8000km flight to be completed in approximately two and a half hours and would consume less fuel than Concord in doing so. However, this propulsion configuration still result in a greater fuel cost than a conventional passenger. In this regard, this investigation contributes towards the specification of the engine requirements throughout a mission profile for a hypersonic passenger vehicle. A number of assumptions have had to be made for this theoretical approach but the authors believe that this investigation lays the groundwork for appropriate framing of the propulsion requirements for sustained hypersonic flight for commercial air transportation. Despite this, it does serve as a crucial step in the development of the propulsion systems required for hypersonic commercial air transportation. This paper provides a methodology and a focus for the development of the propulsion systems that would be required for sustained hypersonic flight for commercial air transportation.

Keywords: Hypersonic, Propulsion, turbofan, scramjet, ramjet, Turbojet

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3 Aorta Adhesion Molecules in Cholesterol-Fed Rats Supplemented with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil, in Either Commercial or Modified Forms

Authors: Ageliki I. Katsarou, Andriana C. Kaliora, Antonia Chiou, Apostolos Papalois, Nick Kalogeropoulos, Nikolaos K. Andrikopoulos


Chronic inflammation plays a pivotal role in CVD development, while phytochemicals have been shown to reduce CVD risk. Several studies have correlated olive oil consumption with CVD prevention and CVD risk reduction. However, the effect of individual olive oil macro- or micro-constituents and possible synergisms among them needs to be further elucidated. Herein, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) lipidic and polar phenolics fractions were evaluated for their effect on inflammatory markers in cholesterol-fed rats. Oils combining different characteristics as to their polar phenolic content and lipid profile were used. Male Wistar rats were fed for 9 weeks on either a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) or a HCD supplemented with oils, either commercially available, i.e. EVOO, sunflower oil (SO), or modified as to their polar phenol content, i.e. phenolics deprived-EVOO (EVOOd), SO enriched with the EVOO phenolics (SOe). Post-intervention, aorta and blood samples were collected. HCD induced dyslipidemia, manifested by serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol elevation. Additionally, HCD resulted in higher adhesion molecules’ levels in rat aorta. In the case of E-selectin, this increase was attenuated by HCD supplementation with EVOO and EVOOd, while no alterations were observed in SO and SOe groups. No differences were observed between pairs of commercial and modified oils, indicating that oleates may be the components responsible for aorta E-selectin levels lowering. The same was true for vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1); augmentation in cholesterol-fed animals was attenuated by EVOO and EVOOd diets, highlighting oleates effect. In addition, VCAM-1 levels were higher in SO group compared to the respective SOe, indicating that in the presence of phenolic compounds linoleic acid have become less prone to oxidation. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) levels were higher in cholesterol-fed rats, however not affected by any of the oils supplemented during the intervention. Overall, EVOO was found superior in regulating adhesion molecule levels in rat aorta compared to SO. EVOO and EVOOd exhibited analogous effects on all adhesion molecules assessed, indicating that EVOO major constituents (oleates) improve E-selectin and VCAM-1 levels in rat aorta, independently from phenolics presence. Further research is needed to elucidate the effect of phenolics and oleates in other tissues.

Keywords: extra virgin olive oil, cholesterol-fed rats, polar phenolics, adhesion molecules

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2 TNF-Alpha and MDA Levels in Hearts of Cholesterol-Fed Rats Supplemented with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil, in Either Commercial or Modified Forms

Authors: Ageliki I. Katsarou, Andriana C. Kaliora, Antonia Chiou, Apostolos Papalois, Nick Kalogeropoulos, Nikolaos K. Andrikopoulos


Oxidative stress is a major mechanism underlying CVDs while inflammation, an intertwined process with oxidative stress, is also linked to CVDs. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is widely known to play a pivotal role in CVD prevention and CVD reduction. However, in most studies, olive oil constituents are evaluated individually and not as part of the native food, hence potential synergistic effects as drivers of EVOO beneficial properties may be underestimated. In this study, EVOO lipidic and polar phenolics fractions were evaluated for their effect on inflammatory (TNF-alpha) and oxidation (malondialdehyde/MDA) markers, in cholesterol-fed rats. Thereat, oils with discernible lipidic profile and polar phenolic content were used. Wistar rats were fed on either a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) or a HCD supplemented with oils, either commercially available, i.e. EVOO, sunflower oil (SO), or modified as to their polar phenol content, i.e. phenolics deprived-EVOO (EVOOd), SO enriched with the EVOO phenolics (SOe). After 9 weeks of dietary intervention, heart and blood samples were collected. HCD induced dylipidemia shown by increase in serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) and triacylglycerols. Heart tissue has been affected by dyslipidemia; oxidation was indicated by increase in MDA in cholesterol-fed rats and inflammation by increase in TNF-alpha. In both cases, this augmentation was attenuated in EVOO and SOe diets. With respect to oxidation, SO enrichment with the EVOO phenolics brought its lipid peroxidation levels as low as in EVOO-fed rats. This suggests that phenolic compounds may act as antioxidant agents in rat heart. A possible mechanism underlying this activity may be the protective effect of phenolics in mitochondrial membrane against oxidative damage. This was further supported by EVOO/EVOOd comparison with the former presenting lower heart MDA content. As for heart inflammation, phenolics naturally present in EVOO as well as phenolics chemically added in SO, exhibited quenching abilities in heart TNF-alpha levels of cholesterol-fed rats. TNF-alpha may have played a causative role in oxidative stress induction while the opposite may have also happened, hence setting up a vicious cycle. Overall, diet supplementation with EVOO or SOe attenuated hypercholesterolemia-induced increase in MDA and TNF-alpha in Wistar rat hearts. This is attributed to phenolic compounds either naturally existing in olive oil or as fortificants in seed oil.

Keywords: MDA, TNF-Alpha, extra virgin olive oil, polar phenolics, hypercholesterolemic rats

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1 Forecasting Thermal Energy Demand in District Heating and Cooling Systems Using Long Short-Term Memory Neural Networks

Authors: Kostas Kouvaris, Anastasia Eleftheriou, Georgios A. Sarantitis, Apostolos Chondronasios


To achieve the objective of almost zero carbon energy solutions by 2050, the EU needs to accelerate the development of integrated, highly efficient and environmentally friendly solutions. In this direction, district heating and cooling (DHC) emerges as a viable and more efficient alternative to conventional, decentralized heating and cooling systems, enabling a combination of more efficient renewable and competitive energy supplies. In this paper, we develop a forecasting tool for near real-time local weather and thermal energy demand predictions for an entire DHC network. In this fashion, we are able to extend the functionality and to improve the energy efficiency of the DHC network by predicting and adjusting the heat load that is distributed from the heat generation plant to the connected buildings by the heat pipe network. Two case-studies are considered; one for Vransko, Slovenia and one for Montpellier, France. The data consists of i) local weather data, such as humidity, temperature, and precipitation, ii) weather forecast data, such as the outdoor temperature and iii) DHC operational parameters, such as the mass flow rate, supply and return temperature. The external temperature is found to be the most important energy-related variable for space conditioning, and thus it is used as an external parameter for the energy demand models. For the development of the forecasting tool, we use state-of-the-art deep neural networks and more specifically, recurrent networks with long-short-term memory cells, which are able to capture complex non-linear relations among temporal variables. Firstly, we develop models to forecast outdoor temperatures for the next 24 hours using local weather data for each case-study. Subsequently, we develop models to forecast thermal demand for the same period, taking under consideration past energy demand values as well as the predicted temperature values from the weather forecasting models. The contributions to the scientific and industrial community are three-fold, and the empirical results are highly encouraging. First, we are able to predict future thermal demand levels for the two locations under consideration with minimal errors. Second, we examine the impact of the outdoor temperature on the predictive ability of the models and how the accuracy of the energy demand forecasts decreases with the forecast horizon. Third, we extend the relevant literature with a new dataset of thermal demand and examine the performance and applicability of machine learning techniques to solve real-world problems. Overall, the solution proposed in this paper is in accordance with EU targets, providing an automated smart energy management system, decreasing human errors and reducing excessive energy production.

Keywords: Machine Learning, LSTMs, district heating and cooling system, thermal demand

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