Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Search results for: I. Jaco Van der Walt

4 Mathematical Description of Functional Motion and Application as a Feeding Mode for General Purpose Assistive Robots

Authors: Martin Leroux, Sylvain Brisebois

Abstract:

Eating a meal is among the Activities of Daily Living, but it takes a lot of time and effort for people with physical or functional limitations. Dedicated technologies are cumbersome and not portable, while general-purpose assistive robots such as wheelchair-based manipulators are too hard to control for elaborate continuous motion like eating. Eating with such devices has not previously been automated, since there existed no description of a feeding motion for uncontrolled environments. In this paper, we introduce a feeding mode for assistive manipulators, including a mathematical description of trajectories for motions that are difficult to perform manually such as gathering and scooping food at a defined/desired pace. We implement these trajectories in a sequence of movements for a semi-automated feeding mode which can be controlled with a very simple 3-button interface, allowing the user to have control over the feeding pace. Finally, we demonstrate the feeding mode with a JACO robotic arm and compare the eating speed, measured in bites per minute of three eating methods: a healthy person eating unaided, a person with upper limb limitations or disability using JACO with manual control, and a person with limitations using JACO with the feeding mode. We found that the feeding mode allows eating about 5 bites per minute, which should be sufficient to eat a meal under 30min.

Keywords: Assistive robotics, Automated feeding, Elderly care, Trajectory design, Human-Robot Interaction.

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3 Comparison of Cyclone Design Methods for Removal of Fine Particles from Plasma Generated Syngas

Authors: Mareli Hattingh, I. Jaco Van der Walt, Frans B. Waanders

Abstract:

A waste-to-energy plasma system was designed by Necsa for commercial use to create electricity from unsorted municipal waste. Fly ash particles must be removed from the syngas stream at operating temperatures of 1000 °C and recycled back into the reactor for complete combustion. A 2D2D high efficiency cyclone separator was chosen for this purpose. During this study, two cyclone design methods were explored: The Classic Empirical Method (smaller cyclone) and the Flow Characteristics Method (larger cyclone). These designs were optimized with regard to efficiency, so as to remove at minimum 90% of the fly ash particles of average size 10 μm by 50 μm. Wood was used as feed source at a concentration of 20 g/m3 syngas. The two designs were then compared at room temperature, using Perspex test units and three feed gases of different densities, namely nitrogen, helium and air. System conditions were imitated by adapting the gas feed velocity and particle load for each gas respectively. Helium, the least dense of the three gases, would simulate higher temperatures, whereas air, the densest gas, simulates a lower temperature. The average cyclone efficiencies ranged between 94.96% and 98.37%, reaching up to 99.89% in individual runs. The lowest efficiency attained was 94.00%. Furthermore, the design of the smaller cyclone proved to be more robust, while the larger cyclone demonstrated a stronger correlation between its separation efficiency and the feed temperatures. The larger cyclone can be assumed to achieve slightly higher efficiencies at elevated temperatures. However, both design methods led to good designs. At room temperature, the difference in efficiency between the two cyclones was almost negligible. At higher temperatures, however, these general tendencies are expected to be amplified so that the difference between the two design methods will become more obvious. Though the design specifications were met for both designs, the smaller cyclone is recommended as default particle separator for the plasma system due to its robust nature.

Keywords: Cyclone, design, plasma, renewable energy, solid separation, waste processing.

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2 Fe3O4 and [email protected] Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Functionalisation for Biomolecular Attachment

Authors: Hendriëtte van der Walt, Lesley Chown, Richard Harris, Ndabenhle Sosibo, Robert Tshikhudo

Abstract:

The use of magnetic and magnetic/gold core/shell nanoparticles in biotechnology or medicine has shown good promise due to their hybrid nature which possesses superior magnetic and optical properties. Some of these potential applications include hyperthermia treatment, bio-separations, diagnostics, drug delivery and toxin removal. Synthesis refinement to control geometric and magnetic/optical properties, and finding functional surfactants for biomolecular attachment, are requirements to meet application specifics. Various high-temperature preparative methods were used for the synthesis of iron oxide and gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles. Different surface functionalities, such as 11-aminoundecanoic and 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid, were introduced on the surface of the particles to facilitate further attachment of biomolecular functionality and drug-like molecules. Nanoparticle thermal stability, composition, state of aggregation, size and morphology were investigated and the results from techniques such as Fourier Transform-Infra Red spectroscopy (FT-IR), Ultraviolet visible spectroscopy (UV-vis), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and thermal analysis are discussed.

Keywords: Core/shell, Iron oxide, Gold coating, Nanoparticles.

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1 Juxtaposing South Africa’s Private Sector and Its Public Service Regarding Innovation Diffusion, to Explore the Obstacles to E-Governance

Authors: Petronella Jonck, Freda van der Walt

Abstract:

Despite the benefits of innovation diffusion in the South African public service, implementation thereof seems to be problematic, particularly with regard to e-governance which would enhance the quality of service delivery, especially accessibility, choice, and mode of operation. This paper reports on differences between the public service and the private sector in terms of innovation diffusion. Innovation diffusion will be investigated to explore identified obstacles that are hindering successful implementation of e-governance. The research inquiry is underpinned by the diffusion of innovation theory, which is premised on the assumption that innovation has a distinct channel, time, and mode of adoption within the organisation. A comparative thematic document analysis was conducted to investigate organisational differences with regard to innovation diffusion. A similar approach has been followed in other countries, where the same conceptual framework has been used to guide document analysis in studies in both the private and the public sectors. As per the recommended conceptual framework, three organisational characteristics were emphasised, namely the external characteristics of the organisation, the organisational structure, and the inherent characteristics of the leadership. The results indicated that the main difference in the external characteristics lies in the focus and the clientele of the private sector. With regard to organisational structure, private organisations have veto power, which is not the case in the public service. Regarding leadership, similarities were observed in social and environmental responsibility and employees’ attitudes towards immediate supervision. Differences identified included risk taking, the adequacy of leadership development, organisational approaches to motivation and involvement in decision making, and leadership style. Due to the organisational differences observed, it is recommended that differentiated strategies be employed to ensure effective innovation diffusion, and ultimately e-governance. It is recommended that the results of this research be used to stimulate discussion on ways to improve collaboration between the mentioned sectors, to capitalise on the benefits of each sector.

Keywords: E-governance, ICT, innovation diffusion, comparative analysis.

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