Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 35

Search results for: Alex A. Freitas

35 The Design Process of an Interactive Seat for Improving Workplace Productivity

Authors: Carlos Ferreira, Paulo Freitas, Valentim Freitas

Abstract:

Creative industries’ workers are becoming more prominent as countries move towards intellectual-based economies. Consequently, the nature and essence of the workplace needs to be reconfigured so that creativity and productivity can be better promoted at these spaces. Using a multidisciplinary approach and a user-centered methodology, combining product design, electronic engineering, software and human-computer interaction, we have designed and developed a new seat that uses embedded sensors and actuators to increase the overall well-being of its users, their productivity and their creativity. Our contribution focuses on the parameters that most affect the user’s work on these kinds of spaces, which are, according to our study, noise and temperature. We describe the design process for a new interactive seat targeted at improving workspace productivity.

Keywords: Human-computer interaction, usability, user interface, creativity, ergonomics.

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34 Meta-Learning for Hierarchical Classification and Applications in Bioinformatics

Authors: Fabio Fabris, Alex A. Freitas

Abstract:

Hierarchical classification is a special type of classification task where the class labels are organised into a hierarchy, with more generic class labels being ancestors of more specific ones. Meta-learning for classification-algorithm recommendation consists of recommending to the user a classification algorithm, from a pool of candidate algorithms, for a dataset, based on the past performance of the candidate algorithms in other datasets. Meta-learning is normally used in conventional, non-hierarchical classification. By contrast, this paper proposes a meta-learning approach for more challenging task of hierarchical classification, and evaluates it in a large number of bioinformatics datasets. Hierarchical classification is especially relevant for bioinformatics problems, as protein and gene functions tend to be organised into a hierarchy of class labels. This work proposes meta-learning approach for recommending the best hierarchical classification algorithm to a hierarchical classification dataset. This work’s contributions are: 1) proposing an algorithm for splitting hierarchical datasets into new datasets to increase the number of meta-instances, 2) proposing meta-features for hierarchical classification, and 3) interpreting decision-tree meta-models for hierarchical classification algorithm recommendation.

Keywords: Algorithm recommendation, meta-learning, bioinformatics, hierarchical classification.

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33 A Settlement Strategy for Health Facilities in Emerging Countries: A Case Study in Brazil

Authors: Domenico Chizzoniti, Monica Moscatelli, Letizia Cattani, Piero Favino, Luca Preis

Abstract:

A settlement strategy is to anticipate and respond the needs of existing and future communities through the provision of primary health care facilities in marginalized areas. Access to a health care network is important to improving healthcare coverage, often lacking, in developing countries. The study explores that a good sanitary system strategy of rural contexts brings advantages to an existing settlement: improving transport, communication, water and social facilities. The objective of this paper is to define a possible methodology to implement primary health care facilities in disadvantaged areas of emerging countries. In this research, we analyze the case study of Lauro de Freitas, a municipality in the Brazilian state of Bahia, part of the Metropolitan Region of Salvador, with an area of 57,662 km² and 194.641 inhabitants. The health localization system in Lauro de Freitas is an integrated process that involves not only geographical aspects, but also a set of factors: population density, epidemiological data, allocation of services, road networks, and more. Data were collected also using semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to the local population. Synthesized data suggest that moving away from the coast where there is the greatest concentration of population and services, a network of primary health care facilities is able to improve the living conditions of small-dispersed communities. Based on the health service needs of populations, we have developed a methodological approach that is particularly useful in rural and remote contexts in emerging countries.

Keywords: Primary health care, developing countries, policy health planning, settlement strategy.

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32 Social Marketing and Nonprofit Organizations

Authors: Marconi Freitas-da-Costa, Watsan C. Silva, Thaís S. Paula, Débora O. Silva, Maria G. Vieira

Abstract:

Today the social marketing was constituted as a tool of significant value in what he refers to the promotion of changes of behaviors, attitudes end practices. With the objective of analyzing the benefits that the social marketing can bring for the organizations that use it the research was of the exploratory and descriptive. In the present study the comparative method was used, through a qualitative approach, to analyze the activities developed by three institutions: the Recovery Center Rosa de Saron, the House of Recovery for addicts and Teen Challenge Institute Children's Cancer of the Wasteland (ICIA), kindred of pointing out the benefits of the social marketing in organizations that don-t seek the profit.

Keywords: Social marketing, organizations of the third section, social changes

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31 Sigma-Delta ADCs Converter a Study Case

Authors: Thiago Brito Bezerra, Mauro Lopes de Freitas, Waldir Sabino da Silva Júnior

Abstract:

The Sigma-Delta A/D converters have been proposed as a practical application for A/D conversion at high rates because of its simplicity and robustness to imperfections in the circuit, also because the traditional converters are more difficult to implement in VLSI technology. These difficulties with conventional conversion methods need precise analog components in their filters and conversion circuits, and are more vulnerable to noise and interference. This paper aims to analyze the architecture, function and application of Analog-Digital converters (A/D) Sigma-Delta to overcome these difficulties, showing some simulations using the Simulink software and Multisim.

Keywords: Analysis, Oversampling Modulator, A/D converters, Sigma-Delta.

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30 Optical Fiber Sensor for Detection of Carbon Nanotubes

Authors: C. I. L. Justino, A. C. Freitas, T. A. P. Rocha-Santos, A. C. Duarte

Abstract:

This work relates the development of an optical fiber (OF) sensor for the detection and quantification of single walled carbon nanotubes in aqueous solutions. The developed OF displays a compact design, it requires less expensive materials and equipment as well as low volume of sample (0.2 mL). This methodology was also validated by the comparison of its analytical performance with that of a standard methodology based on ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. The developed OF sensor follows the general SDS calibration proposed for OF sensors as a more suitable calibration fitting compared with classical calibrations.

Keywords: Optical fiber sensor, single-walled carbon nanotubes, SDS calibration model, UV-Vis spectroscopy

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29 Technology and Its Social Implications: Myths and Realities in the Interpretation of the Concept

Authors: E. V. Veraszto, J. T. F. Camargo, D. Silva, N. A. Miranda, F. O. Simon, S. F. Amaral, L. V. Freitas

Abstract:

The concept of technology as well as itself has evolved continuously over time, such that, nowadays, this concept is still marked by myths and realities. Even the concept of science is frequently misunderstood as technology. In this way, this paper presents different forms of interpretation of the concept of technology in the course of history, as well as the social and cultural aspects associated with it, through an analysis made by means of insights from sociological studies of science and technology and its multiple relations with society. Through the analysis of contents, the paper presents a classification of how technology is interpreted in the social sphere and search channel efforts to show how a broader understanding can contribute to better interpretations of how scientific and technological development influences the environment in which we operate. The text also presents a particular point of view for the interpretation of the concept from the analysis throughout the whole work.

Keywords: Technology, conceptions of technology, technological myths, definition of technology.

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28 Walkability as a Strategy towards Inclusive Communities: Case of a Portuguese Small Town

Authors: Miguel Amado, João Freitas, Eveline Rodrigues, Rosario Ribeiro

Abstract:

The United Nations has defined the inclusive community as “…promoting growth with equity, a place where everyone, regardless of their economic means, gender, race, ethnicity or religion, is enabled and empowered to fully participate in the social, economic and political opportunities that cities have to offer”. In this paper, the concept of walkability is viewed as an important tool towards the planning and future development of more inclusive communities. Walking is the cheapest and cleanest mode of travel available to all providing large benefits to both health and local economic development. To demonstrate the validity of this strategy a set of parameters, selected from existing research, were measure, compared and discussed in the existing and proposed scenarios of a Portuguese small town using GIS software.

Keywords: GIS, Inclusiveness, Planning, Sustainability, Walkability.

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27 Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds in Human Breath by Optical Fiber Sensing

Authors: C. I. L. Justino, L. I. B. Silva, K. Duarte, A. C. Freitas, T. A. P. Rocha-Santos, A. C. Duarte

Abstract:

This work proposes an optical fiber system (OF) for sensing various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in human breath for the diagnosis of some metabolic disorders as a non-invasive methodology. The analyzed VOCs are alkanes (i.e., ethane, pentane, heptane, octane, and decane), and aromatic compounds (i.e., benzene, toluene, and styrene). The OF displays high analytical performance since it provides near real-time responses, rapid analysis, and low instrumentation costs, as well as it exhibits useful linear range and detection limits; the developed OF sensor is also comparable to a reference methodology (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) for the eight tested VOCs.

Keywords: Breath analysis, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, optical fiber sensor, volatile organic compounds

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26 Poverty: Its Causes and Solutions

Authors: Alex Hou Hong Ng, Abdul Ghani Farinda, Fock Kui Kan, Ai Ling Lim, Teo Ming Ting

Abstract:

Poverty is a multi-facet phenomenon in today’s globalised world. It is rooted in various causes and there are also multiple ways to do away with it. This paper begins with a review on the definitions and measurement of poverty and followed by discussing the various causes of poverty. This paper specifically identifies corruption, education, political instability, geographical characteristics, ineffective local governance and government policies as the causes of poverty. It then suggests possible solutions or recommendations to eradicate poverty based on the causes discussed earlier. Some of the suggestions include strengthening democratic transparency and government budget transparency, public awareness, creation of a framework for economic growth and transformation, and ways to increase the ability of the poor to raise their income.

Keywords: Economic Policy, Government Policy, Poverty Eradication, Sustainable Development.

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25 Overview of CARDIOSENSOR Project on the Development of a Nanosensor for Assessing the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Authors: A.C. Duarte, C.I.L. Justino, K. Duarte, A.C. Freitas, R. Pereira, P. Chaves, P. Bettencourt, S. Cardoso, T.A.P. Rocha-Santos

Abstract:

This paper aims at overviewing the topics of a research project (CARDIOSENSOR) on the field of health sciences (biomaterials and biomedical engineering). The project has focused on the development of a nanosensor for the assessment of the risk of cardiovascular diseases by the monitoring of C-reactive protein (CRP), which has been currently considered as the best validated inflammatory biomarker associated to cardiovascular diseases. The project involves tasks such as: 1) the development of sensor devices based on field effect transistors (FET): assembly, optimization and validation; 2) application of sensors to the detection of CRP in standard solutions and comparison with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); and 3) application of sensors to real samples such as blood and saliva and evaluation of their ability to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Keywords: Carbon nanotubes field effect transistors, cardiovascular diseases, C-reactive protein, sensor.

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24 Biodegradation Behavior of Cellulose Acetate with DS 2.5 in Simulated Soil

Authors: Roberta Ranielle M. de Freitas, Vagner R. Botaro

Abstract:

The relationship between biodegradation and mechanical behavior is fundamental for studies of the application of cellulose acetate films as a possible material for biodegradable packaging. In this work, the biodegradation of cellulose acetate (CA) with DS 2.5 was analyzed in simulated soil. CA films were prepared by casting and buried in the simulated soil. Samples were taken monthly and analyzed, the total time of biodegradation was 6 months. To characterize the biodegradable CA, the DMA technique was employed. The main result showed that the time of exposure to the simulated soil affects the mechanical properties of the films and the values of crystallinity. By DMA analysis, it was possible to conclude that as the CA is biodegraded, its mechanical properties were altered, for example, storage modulus has increased with biodegradation and the modulus of loss has decreased. Analyzes of DSC, XRD, and FTIR were also carried out to characterize the biodegradation of CA, which corroborated with the results of DMA. The observation of the carbonyl band by FTIR and crystalline indices obtained by XRD were important to evaluate the degradation of CA during the exposure time.

Keywords: Biodegradation, cellulose acetate, DMA, simulated soil.

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23 Advanced Simulation of Power Consumption of Electric Vehicles

Authors: Ilya Kavalchuk, Hayrettin Arisoy, Alex Stojcevski, Aman Maun Than Oo

Abstract:

Electric vehicles are one of the most complicated electric devices to simulate due to the significant number of different processes involved in electrical structure of it. There are concurrent processes of energy consumption and generation with different onboard systems, which make simulation tasks more complicated to perform. More accurate simulation on energy consumption can provide a better understanding of all energy management for electric transport. As a result of all those processes, electric transport can allow for a more sustainable future and become more convenient in relation to the distance range and recharging time. This paper discusses the problems of energy consumption simulations for electric vehicles using different software packages to provide ideas on how to make this process more precise, which can help engineers create better energy management strategies for electric vehicles.

Keywords: Electric Vehicles, EV, Power Consumption, Power Management, Simulation.

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22 Design and Control Algorithms for Power Electronic Converters for EV Applications

Authors: Ilya Kavalchuk, Mehdi Seyedmahmoudian, Ben Horan, Aman Than Oo, Alex Stojcevski

Abstract:

The power electronic components within Electric Vehicles (EV) need to operate in several important modes. Some modes directly influence safety, while others influence vehicle performance. Given the variety of functions and operational modes required of the power electronics, it needs to meet efficiency requirements to minimize power losses. Another challenge in the control and construction of such systems is the ability to support bidirectional power flow. This paper considers the construction, operation, and feasibility of available converters for electric vehicles with feasible configurations of electrical buses and loads. This paper describes logic and control signals for the converters for different operations conditions based on the efficiency and energy usage bases.

Keywords: Electric Vehicles, Electrical Machines Control, Power Electronics, Powerflow Regulations.

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21 Computing a Time Based Effective Radius-of-Curvature for Roadways

Authors: Gary D. Cantrell, E. Alex Baylot

Abstract:

The radius-of-curvature (ROC) defines the degree of curvature along the centerline of a roadway whereby a travelling vehicle must follow. Roadway designs must encompass ROC in mitigating the cost of earthwork associated with construction while also allowing vehicles to travel at maximum allowable design speeds. Thus, a road will tend to follow natural topography where possible, but curvature must also be optimized to permit fast, but safe vehicle speeds. The more severe the curvature of the road, the slower the permissible vehicle speed. For route planning, whether for urban settings, emergency operations, or even parcel delivery, ROC is a necessary attribute of road arcs for computing travel time. It is extremely rare for a geo-spatial database to contain ROC. This paper will present a procedure and mathematical algorithm to calculate and assign ROC to a segment pair and/or polyline.

Keywords: linear features, radius-of-curvature, roads, routing, traffic, turning

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20 The Design, Development, and Optimization of a Capacitive Pressure Sensor Utilizing an Existing 9 DOF Platform

Authors: Andrew Randles, Ilker Ocak, Cheam Daw Don, Navab Singh, Alex Gu

Abstract:

Nine Degrees of Freedom (9 DOF) systems are already in development in many areas. In this paper, an integrated pressure sensor is proposed that will make use of an already existing monolithic 9 DOF inertial MEMS platform. Capacitive pressure sensors can suffer from limited sensitivity for a given size of membrane. This novel pressure sensor design increases the sensitivity by over 5 times compared to a traditional array of square diaphragms while still fitting within a 2 mm x 2 mm chip and maintaining a fixed static capacitance. The improved design uses one large diaphragm supported by pillars with fixed electrodes placed above the areas of maximum deflection. The design optimization increases the sensitivity from 0.22 fF/kPa to 1.16 fF/kPa. Temperature sensitivity was also examined through simulation.

Keywords: Capacitive pressure sensor, 9 DOF, 10 DOF, sensor, capacitive, inertial measurement unit, IMU, inertial navigation system, INS.

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19 Low-Cost Space-Based Geoengineering: An Assessment Based on Self-Replicating Manufacturing of in-Situ Resources on the Moon

Authors: Alex Ellery

Abstract:

Geoengineering approaches to climate change mitigation are unpopular and regarded with suspicion. Of these, space-based approaches are regarded as unworkable and enormously costly. Here, a space-based approach is presented that is modest in cost, fully controllable and reversible, and acts as a natural spur to the development of solar power satellites over the longer term as a clean source of energy. The low-cost approach exploits self-replication technology which it is proposed may be enabled by 3D printing technology. Self-replication of 3D printing platforms will enable mass production of simple spacecraft units. Key elements being developed are 3D-printable electric motors and 3D-printable vacuum tube-based electronics. The power of such technologies will open up enormous possibilities at low cost including space-based geoengineering.

Keywords: 3D printing, in-situ resource utilization, self-replication technology, space-based geoengineering.

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18 Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Young Asthmatic Children Ages 6-10 Years Old

Authors: Yen-Ting Wang, Kenny Wen-Chyuan Chen, I-Tsun Chiang, Lung-Ching Liang, Alex J.Y. Lee

Abstract:

The aim of this study was to establish the feasibility of a minute incremental exercise testing protocol in young asthma children. Twenty-two children with clinically diagnosed mild to moderate asthma volunteered to participate. The maximum incremental exercise test was performed using a cycle ergometer with an electromagnetic braking. A warm-up unloaded for 2 minutes then the workload was started at 40 watts for 2 minutes, and then stepwise increments of 8 watts per 2 minutes were applied. The pedaling frequency was set at 50 rpm. Ventilation and gas exchange were measured with a breath-by-breath automatic metabolic measurement system. Results showed that this test was well tolerated by all asthmatic children. Most of the children reached the VO2 plateau and satisfied the criteria for maximal respiratory exchange ratio of ≥ 1. This Study demonstrated that this testing protocol was suitable for young asthmatic children.

Keywords: Asthma, Child, Exercise, Pediatrics.

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17 The Effects of Eight-Week Pilates Training on Limits of Stability and Abdominal Muscle Strength in Young Dancers

Authors: Yen-Ting Wang, Pao-Cheng Lin, Chen-Fu Huang, Lung-Ching Liang, Alex J.Y. Lee

Abstract:

This study examined the effects of 8-week Pilates training program on limits of stability (LOS) and abdominal muscle strength in young dancers. Twenty-four female volunteered and randomly assigned as experimental group (EG) or control group (CG). All subjects received the same dance lessons but the EG underwent an extra Pilates mat exercises for 40 minutes, three times a week, for 8 weeks. LOS was evaluated by the Biodex Balance System and the abdominal strength was measured by 30/60 seconds sit-ups test. One factor ANCOVA was used to examine the differences between groups after training. The results showed that the overall LOS scores at levels 2/8 and the 30/60 seconds sit-ups for the EG group pre- and post-training were changed from 22/38 % to 31/51 % and 20/33 times to 24/42 times, respectively. The study demonstrated that 8-week Pilates training can improve the LOS performance and abdominal strength in young dancers.

Keywords: Balance, Core Strength Exercise Training, and Posture Stability.

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16 Studies on Bioaccumulation of 51Cr by Ulva sp. and Ruppia maritima

Authors: Clarissa L. de Araujo, Kátia N. Suzuki, Wilson T. V. Machado, Luis F. Bellido, Alfredo V.B. Bellido

Abstract:

This study aims at contributing to the characterization of the process of biological incorporation of chromium by two benthonic species, the macroalgae Ulva sp. and the aquatic macrophyte Ruppia maritima, to subsidize future activities of monitoring the contamination of aquatic biota. This study is based on laboratory experiments to characterize the incorporation kinetics of the radiotracer 51Cr in two oxidation states (III and VI), under different salinities (7, 15, and 21 ‰). Samples of two benthonic species were collected on the margins of Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), acclimated in the laboratory and subsequently subjected to experiments. In tests with 51Cr (III and IV), it was observed that accumulation of the metal in Ulva sp. has inverse relationship with salinity, while for R. maritima, the maximum accumulation occurs in salinity 21‰. In experiments with Cr(III), increases in the uptake of ion by both species were verified. The activity of Cr(III) was up to 19 times greater than the Cr(VI). As regards the potential for accumulation of metals, a better sensitivity of Ulva sp. for any chromium tri or hexavalent forms was verified, while for the Cr(VI) it will require low salinities and longer exposure (>24h). For R. maritima, the results showed the uptake of Cr(VI) increase along with time (>20h), because this species is more resistant for the hexavalent form and useful for any salinity as well.

Keywords: Chromium, Cr-51, macroalgae, macrophyte, uptake.

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15 Business-Intelligence Mining of Large Decentralized Multimedia Datasets with a Distributed Multi-Agent System

Authors: Karima Qayumi, Alex Norta

Abstract:

The rapid generation of high volume and a broad variety of data from the application of new technologies pose challenges for the generation of business-intelligence. Most organizations and business owners need to extract data from multiple sources and apply analytical methods for the purposes of developing their business. Therefore, the recently decentralized data management environment is relying on a distributed computing paradigm. While data are stored in highly distributed systems, the implementation of distributed data-mining techniques is a challenge. The aim of this technique is to gather knowledge from every domain and all the datasets stemming from distributed resources. As agent technologies offer significant contributions for managing the complexity of distributed systems, we consider this for next-generation data-mining processes. To demonstrate agent-based business intelligence operations, we use agent-oriented modeling techniques to develop a new artifact for mining massive datasets.

Keywords: Agent-oriented modeling, business Intelligence management, distributed data mining, multi-agent system.

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14 Automatic Detection of Defects in Ornamental Limestone Using Wavelets

Authors: Maria C. Proença, Marco Aniceto, Pedro N. Santos, José C. Freitas

Abstract:

A methodology based on wavelets is proposed for the automatic location and delimitation of defects in limestone plates. Natural defects include dark colored spots, crystal zones trapped in the stone, areas of abnormal contrast colors, cracks or fracture lines, and fossil patterns. Although some of these may or may not be considered as defects according to the intended use of the plate, the goal is to pair each stone with a map of defects that can be overlaid on a computer display. These layers of defects constitute a database that will allow the preliminary selection of matching tiles of a particular variety, with specific dimensions, for a requirement of N square meters, to be done on a desktop computer rather than by a two-hour search in the storage park, with human operators manipulating stone plates as large as 3 m x 2 m, weighing about one ton. Accident risks and work times are reduced, with a consequent increase in productivity. The base for the algorithm is wavelet decomposition executed in two instances of the original image, to detect both hypotheses – dark and clear defects. The existence and/or size of these defects are the gauge to classify the quality grade of the stone products. The tuning of parameters that are possible in the framework of the wavelets corresponds to different levels of accuracy in the drawing of the contours and selection of the defects size, which allows for the use of the map of defects to cut a selected stone into tiles with minimum waste, according the dimension of defects allowed.

Keywords: Automatic detection, wavelets, defects, fracture lines.

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13 The Effects of Neuromuscular Training on Limits of Stability in Female Individuals

Authors: Yen-Ting Wang, Yu-Tien Tsai, Tzuhui A. Tseng, I-Tsun Chiang, Alex J.Y. Lee

Abstract:

This study examined the effects of neuromuscular training (NT) on limits of stability (LOS) in female individuals. Twenty female basketball amateurs were assigned into NT experimental group or control group by volunteer. All the players were underwent regular basketball practice, 90 minutes, 3 times per week for 6 weeks, but the NT experimental group underwent extra NT with plyometric and core training, 50 minutes, 3 times per week for 6 weeks during this period. Limits of stability (LOS) were evaluated by the Biodex Balance System. One factor ANCOVA was used to examine the differences between groups after training. The significant level for statistic was set at p<.05. Results showed that the right direction LOS scores at level 3 indicated a significant interaction between the trained/untrained groups × pre/post repeated measures with post-training scores higher than pre-training scores in the NT experimental group. The study demonstrated that Six weeks NT can improve the postural stability in young female individuals.

Keywords: Balance control, neuromuscular control and posture stability.

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12 Efficiency Based Model for Solar Urban Planning

Authors: Amado, M. P., Amado, A., Poggi, F., Correia de Freitas, J.

Abstract:

Today is widely understood that global energy consumption patterns are directly related to the urban expansion and development process. This expansion is based on the natural growth of human activities and has left most urban areas totally dependent on fossil fuel derived external energy inputs. This status-quo of production, transportation, storage and consumption of energy has become inefficient and is set to become even more so when the continuous increases in energy demand are factored in. The territorial management of land use and related activities is a central component in the search for more efficient models of energy use, models that can meet current and future regional, national and European goals.

In this paper a methodology is developed and discussed with the aim of improving energy efficiency at the municipal level. The development of this methodology is based on the monitoring of energy consumption and its use patterns resulting from the natural dynamism of human activities in the territory and can be utilized to assess sustainability at the local scale. A set of parameters and indicators are defined with the objective of constructing a systemic model based on the optimization, adaptation and innovation of the current energy framework and the associated energy consumption patterns. The use of the model will enable local governments to strike the necessary balance between human activities and economic development and the local and global environment while safeguarding fairness in the energy sector.

Keywords: Solar urban planning, solar smart city, urban development, energy efficiency.

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11 Application and Assessment of Artificial Neural Networks for Biodiesel Iodine Value Prediction

Authors: Raquel M. de Sousa, Sofiane Labidi, Allan Kardec D. Barros, Alex O. Barradas Filho, Aldalea L. B. Marques

Abstract:

Several parameters are established in order to measure biodiesel quality. One of them is the iodine value, which is an important parameter that measures the total unsaturation within a mixture of fatty acids. Limitation of unsaturated fatty acids is necessary since warming of higher quantity of these ones ends in either formation of deposits inside the motor or damage of lubricant. Determination of iodine value by official procedure tends to be very laborious, with high costs and toxicity of the reagents, this study uses artificial neural network (ANN) in order to predict the iodine value property as an alternative to these problems. The methodology of development of networks used 13 esters of fatty acids in the input with convergence algorithms of back propagation of back propagation type were optimized in order to get an architecture of prediction of iodine value. This study allowed us to demonstrate the neural networks’ ability to learn the correlation between biodiesel quality properties, in this caseiodine value, and the molecular structures that make it up. The model developed in the study reached a correlation coefficient (R) of 0.99 for both network validation and network simulation, with Levenberg-Maquardt algorithm.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Networks, Biodiesel, Iodine Value, Prediction.

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10 In Search of Zero Beta Assets: Evidence from the Sukuk Market

Authors: Andrea Paltrinieri, Alberto Dreassi, Stefano Miani, Alex Sclip

Abstract:

The financial crises caused a collapse in prices of most asset classes, raising the attention on alternative investments such as sukuk, a smaller, fast growing but often misunderstood market. We study diversification benefits of sukuk, their correlation with other asset classes and the effects of their inclusion in investment portfolios of institutional and retail investors, through a comprehensive comparison of their risk/return profiles during and after the financial crisis. We find a beneficial performance adjusted for the specific volatility together with a lower correlation especially during the financial crisis. The distribution of sukuk returns is positively skewed and leptokurtic, with a risk/return profile similarly to high yield bonds. Overall, our results suggest that sukuk present diversification opportunities, a significant volatility-adjusted performance and lower correlations especially during the financial crisis. Our findings are relevant for a number of institutional investors. Long term investors, such as life insurers would benefit from sukuk’s protective features during financial crisis yet keeping return and growth opportunities, whereas banks would gain due to their role of placers, advisors, market makers or underwriters.

Keywords: Asset allocation, asset performance, sukuk, zero beta asset.

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9 Critical Approach to Define the Architectural Structure of a Health Prototype in a Rural Area of Brazil

Authors: Domenico Chizzoniti, Monica Moscatelli, Letizia Cattani, Luca Preis

Abstract:

A primary healthcare facility in developing countries should be a multifunctional space able to respond to different requirements: Flexibility, modularity, aggregation and reversibility. These basic features could be better satisfied if applied to an architectural artifact that complies with the typological, figurative and constructive aspects of the context in which it is located. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to identify a procedure that can define the figurative aspects of the architectural structure of the health prototype for the marginal areas of developing countries through a critical approach. The application context is the rural areas of the Northeast of Bahia in Brazil. The prototype should be located in the rural district of Quingoma, in the municipality of Lauro de Freitas, a particular place where there is still a cultural fusion of black and indigenous populations. Based on the historical analysis of settlement strategies and architectural structures in spaces of public interest or collective use, this paper aims to provide a procedure able to identify the categories and rules underlying typological and figurative aspects, in order to detect significant and generalizable elements, as well as materials and constructive techniques typically adopted in the rural areas of Brazil. The object of this work is therefore not only the recovery of certain constructive approaches but also the development of a procedure that integrates the requirements of the primary healthcare prototype with its surrounding economic, social, cultural, settlement and figurative conditions.

Keywords: Architectural typology, Developing countries, Local construction techniques, Primary health care.

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8 Model of High-Speed Train Energy Consumption

Authors: Romain Bosquet, Pierre-Olivier Vandanjon, Alex Coiret, Tristan Lorino

Abstract:

In the hardening energy context, the transport sector which constitutes a large worldwide energy demand has to be improving for decrease energy demand and global warming impacts. In a controversial situation where subsists an increasing demand for long-distance and high-speed travels, high-speed trains offer many advantages, as consuming significantly less energy than road or air transports. At the project phase of new rail infrastructures, it is nowadays important to characterize accurately the energy that will be induced by its operation phase, in addition to other more classical criteria as construction costs and travel time. Current literature consumption models used to estimate railways operation phase are obsolete or not enough accurate for taking into account the newest train or railways technologies. In this paper, an updated model of consumption for high-speed is proposed, based on experimental data obtained from full-scale tests performed on a new high-speed line. The assessment of the model is achieved by identifying train parameters and measured power consumptions for more than one hundred train routes. Perspectives are then discussed to use this updated model for accurately assess the energy impact of future railway infrastructures.

Keywords: High-speed train, energy, model, track profile, infrastructure

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7 Experimental Characterization of the Thermal Behavior of a Sawdust Mortar

Authors: F. Taouche-Kheloui, O. Fedaoui-Akmoussi, K. Ait tahar, Li. Alex

Abstract:

Currently, the reduction of energy consumption, through the use of abundant and recyclable natural materials, for better thermal insulation represents an important area of research. To this end, the use of bio-sourced materials has been identified as one of the green sectors with a very high economic development potential for the future. Because of its role in reducing the consumption of fossil-based raw materials, it contributes significantly to the storage of atmospheric carbon, limits greenhouse gas emissions and creates new economic opportunities. This study constitutes a contribution to the elaboration and the experimental characterization of the thermal behavior of a sawdust-reduced mortar matrix. We have taken into account the influence of the size of the grain fibers of sawdust, hence the use of three different ranges and also different percentage in the different confections. The intended practical application consists of producing a light weight compound at a lower cost to ensure a better thermal and acoustic behavior compared to that existing in the field, in addition to the desired resistances. Improving energy performance, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector, is amongst the objectives to be achieved. The results are very encouraging and highlight the value of the proposed design of organic-source mortar panels which have specific mechanical properties acceptable for their use, low densities, lower cost of manufacture and labor, and above all a positive impact on the environment.

Keywords: Mortar, sawdust waste, thermal, experimental, analysis.

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6 The Effects of Whole-Body Vibration Training on Jump Performance in Handball Athletes

Authors: Yen-Ting Wang, Shou-Jing Guo, Hsiu-Kuang Chang, Kenny Wen-Chyuan Chen, Alex J.Y. Lee

Abstract:

This study examined the effects of eight weeks of whole-body vibration training (WBVT) on vertical and decuple jump performance in handball athletes. Sixteen collegiate Level I handball athletes volunteered for this study. They were divided equally as control group and experimental group (EG). During the period of the study, all athletes underwent the same handball specific training, but the EG received additional WBVT (amplitude: 2 mm, frequency: 20 - 40 Hz) three time per week for eight consecutive weeks. The vertical jump performance was evaluated according to the maximum height of squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ). Single factor ANCOVA was used to examine the differences in each parameter between the groups after training with the pretest values as a covariate. The statistic significance was set at p < .05. After 8 weeks WBVT, the EG had significantly improved the maximal height of SJ (40.92 ± 2.96 cm vs. 48.40 ± 4.70 cm, F = 5.14, p < .05) and the maximal height CMJ (47.25 ± 7.48 cm vs. 52.20 ± 6.25 cm, F = 5.31, p < .05). 8 weeks of additional WBVT could improve the vertical and decuple jump performance in handball athletes. Enhanced motor unit synchronization and firing rates, facilitated muscular contraction stretch-shortening cycle, and improved lower extremity neuromuscular coordination could account for these enhancements.

Keywords: Muscle strength, explosive power, squat jump, and countermovement jump.

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