Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30

Search results for: Jessica B. Lopes

30 A Methodology for Definition of Road Networks in Rural Areas of Nepal

Authors: J. K. Shrestha, A. Benta, R. B. Lopes, N. Lopes

Abstract:

This work provides a practical method for the development of rural road networks in rural areas of developing countries. The proposed methodology enables to determine obligatory points in the rural road network maximizing the number of settlements that have access to basic services within a given maximum distance. The proposed methodology is simple and practical, hence, highly applicable to real-world scenarios, as demonstrated in the definition of the road network for the rural areas of Nepal.

Keywords: Minimum spanning tree, nodal points, rural road network.

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29 Multi-Objective Analysis of Cost and Social Benefits in Rural Road Networks

Authors: J. K. Shrestha, A. Benta, R. B. Lopes, N. Lopes

Abstract:

This paper presents a multi-objective model for addressing two main objectives in designing rural roads networks: minimization of user operation costs and maximization of population covered. As limited budgets often exist, a reasonable trade-off must be obtained in order to account for both cost and social benefits in this type of networks. For a real-world rural road network, the model is solved, where all non-dominated solutions were obtained. Afterwards, an analysis is made on the (possibly) most interesting solutions (the ones providing better trade-offs). This analysis, coupled with the knowledge of the real world scenario (typically provided by decision makers) provides a suitable method for the evaluation of road networks in rural areas of developing countries.

Keywords: Multi-objective, user operation cost, population covered, rural road network.

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28 Emotion Regulation: An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study on the Change and Grow Therapeutic Model

Authors: Eduardo da Silva, Tânia Caetano, Jessica B. Lopes

Abstract:

Emotion dysregulation has been linked to psychopathology in general and, in particular, to substance abuse and other addiction-related disorders, such as eating disorders, impulsive disorder, and gambling. It has been proposed that a lessening of the difficulties in emotion regulation can have a significant positive impact on the treatment of these disorders. The present study explores the association between the progress in the Change & Grow® therapeutic model (5 stages of treatment), and the decrease in the difficulties related to emotion regulation. The Change & Grow® model has five stages of treatment according to the model’s five principles (Truth, Acceptance, Gratitude, Love and Responsibility) and incorporates different therapeutic approaches such as positive psychology, cognitive and behavioral therapy and third generation therapies. The main objective is to understand the impact of the presented therapeutic model on difficulties in emotion regulation in patients with addiction-related disorders. The exploratory study has a cross-sectional design. Participants were 44 (15 women and 29 men) Portuguese patients in the residential Villa Ramadas International Treatment Centre. The instrument used was the Portuguese version of the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), which measures six dimensions of emotion regulation (Strategies, Non-acceptance, Awareness, Impulse, Goals, and Clarity). The mean rank scores for both the DERS total score and the Impulse subscale showed statistically significant differences according to Stage of Treatment/Principles. Furthermore, Stage of Treatment/Principles held a negative correlation with the scores of the Non-acceptance and Impulse subscales, as well as the DERS total score. The results indicate that the Change & Grow® model seems to have an impact in lessening the patient’s difficulties in emotion regulation. The Impulse dimension suffered the greater impact, which supports the well-known relevance of impulse control, or related difficulties, in addiction-related disorders.

Keywords: Addiction, Change & Grow®, emotion regulation, psychopathology.

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27 Using Textual Pre-Processing and Text Mining to Create Semantic Links

Authors: Ricardo Avila, Gabriel Lopes, Vania Vidal, Jose Macedo

Abstract:

This article offers a approach to the automatic discovery of semantic concepts and links in the domain of Oil Exploration and Production (E&P). Machine learning methods combined with textual pre-processing techniques were used to detect local patterns in texts and, thus, generate new concepts and new semantic links. Even using more specific vocabularies within the oil domain, our approach has achieved satisfactory results, suggesting that the proposal can be applied in other domains and languages, requiring only minor adjustments.

Keywords: Semantic links, data mining, linked data, SKOS.

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26 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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25 Emissions of Euro 3-5 Passenger Cars Measured Over Different Driving Cycles

Authors: C. A. Alves, A. I. Calvo, D. J. Lopes, T. Nunes, A. Charron, M. Goriaux, P. Tassel, P. Perret

Abstract:

The reduction in vehicle exhaust emissions achieved in the last two decades is offset by the growth in traffic, as well as by changes in the composition of emitted pollutants. The present investigation illustrates the emissions of in-use gasoline and diesel passenger cars using the official European driving cycle and the ARTEMIS real-world driving cycle. It was observed that some of the vehicles do not comply with the corresponding regulations. Significant differences in emissions were observed between driving cycles. Not all pollutants showed a tendency to decrease from Euro 3 to Euro 5.

Keywords: Chassis dynamometer, driving cycles, emission factors, exhaust emissions, light-duty vehicles.

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24 Design and Study of a DC/DC Converter for High Power, 14.4 V and 300 A for Automotive Applications

Authors: Julio Cesar Lopes de Oliveira, Carlos Henrique Gonc¸alves Treviso

Abstract:

The shortage of the automotive market in relation to options for sources of high power car audio systems, led to development of this work. Thus, we developed a source with stabilized voltage with 4320 W effective power. Designed to the voltage of 14.4 V and a choice of two currents: 30 A load option in battery banks and 300 A at full load. This source can also be considered as a source of general use dedicated commercial with a simple control circuit in analog form based on discrete components. The assembly of power circuit uses a methodology for higher power than the initially stipulated.

Keywords: DC-DC power converters, converters, power convertion, pulse width modulation converters.

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23 Comparison of Pore Space Features by Thin Sections and X-Ray Microtomography

Authors: H. Alves, J. T. Assis, M. Geraldes, I. Lima, R. T. Lopes

Abstract:

Microtomographic images and thin section (TS) images were analyzed and compared against some parameters of geological interest such as porosity and its distribution along the samples. The results show that microtomography (CT) analysis, although limited by its resolution, have some interesting information about the distribution of porosity (homogeneous or not) and can also quantify the connected and non-connected pores, i.e., total porosity. TS have no limitations concerning resolution, but are limited by the experimental data available in regards to a few glass sheets for analysis and also can give only information about the connected pores, i.e., effective porosity. Those two methods have their own virtues and flaws but when paired together they are able to complement one another, making for a more reliable and complete analysis.

Keywords: Microtomography, petrographical microscopy, sediments, thin sections.

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22 Probabilities and the Persistence of Memory in a Bingo-like Carnival Game

Authors: M. Glomski, M. Lopes

Abstract:

Seemingly simple probabilities in the m-player game bingo have never been calculated. These probabilities include expected game length and the expected number of winners on a given turn. The difficulty in probabilistic analysis lies in the subtle interdependence among the m-many bingo game cards in play. In this paper, the game i got it!, a bingo variant, is considered. This variation provides enough weakening of the inter-player dependence to allow probabilistic analysis not possible for traditional bingo. The probability of winning in exactly k turns is calculated for a one-player game. Given a game of m-many players, the expected game length and tie probability are calculated. With these calculations, the game-s interesting payout scheme is considered.

Keywords: Conditional probability, games of chance, npersongames, probability theory.

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21 Impacts of Biofuels on Air Quality: Northern Portugal Case Study

Authors: Ribeiro I., Tavares A.M., Sá E., Lopes M.

Abstract:

The increased use of biodiesel implies variations on both greenhouse gases and air pollutant emissions. Some studies point out that the use of biodiesel blends on diesel can help in controlling air pollution and promote a reduction of CO2 emissions. Reductions on PM, SO2, VOC and CO emissions are also expected, however NOx emissions may increase, which may potentiate O3 formation. This work aims to assess the impact of the biodiesel use on air quality, through a numerical modeling study, taking the Northern region of Portugal as a case study. The emission scenarios are focused on 2008 (baseline year) and 2020 (target year of Renewable Energy Directive-RED) and on three biodiesel blends (B0, B10 and B20). In a general way the use of biodiesel by 2020 will reduce the CO2 and air pollutants emissions in the Northern Portugal, improving air quality. However it will be in a very small extension.

Keywords: air quality, biodiesel, emission scenarios, RED.

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20 Discovering Semantic Links Between Synonyms, Hyponyms and Hypernyms

Authors: Ricardo Avila, Gabriel Lopes, Vania Vidal, Jose Macedo

Abstract:

This proposal aims for semantic enrichment between glossaries using the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) vocabulary to discover synonyms, hyponyms and hyperonyms semiautomatically, in Brazilian Portuguese, generating new semantic relationships based on WordNet. To evaluate the quality of this proposed model, experiments were performed by the use of two sets containing new relations, being one generated automatically and the other manually mapped by the domain expert. The applied evaluation metrics were precision, recall, f-score, and confidence interval. The results obtained demonstrate that the applied method in the field of Oil Production and Extraction (E&P) is effective, which suggests that it can be used to improve the quality of terminological mappings. The procedure, although adding complexity in its elaboration, can be reproduced in others domains.

Keywords: Ontology matching, mapping enrichment, semantic web, linked data, SKOS.

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19 Estimating Frequency, Amplitude and Phase of Two Sinusoids with Very Close Frequencies

Authors: Jayme G. A. Barbedo, Amauri Lopes

Abstract:

This paper presents an algorithm to estimate the parameters of two closely spaced sinusoids, providing a frequency resolution that is more than 800 times greater than that obtained by using the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT). The strategy uses a highly optimized grid search approach to accurately estimate frequency, amplitude and phase of both sinusoids, keeping at the same time the computational effort at reasonable levels. The proposed method has three main characteristics: 1) a high frequency resolution; 2) frequency, amplitude and phase are all estimated at once using one single package; 3) it does not rely on any statistical assumption or constraint. Potential applications to this strategy include the difficult task of resolving coincident partials of instruments in musical signals.

Keywords: Closely spaced sinusoids, high-resolution parameter estimation, optimized grid search.

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18 Extraction of Squalene from Lebanese Olive Oil

Authors: Henri El Zakhem, Christina Romanos, Charlie Bakhos, Hassan Chahal, Jessica Koura

Abstract:

Squalene is a valuable component of the oil composed of 30 carbon atoms and is mainly used for cosmetic materials. The main concern of this article is to study the Squalene composition in the Lebanese olive oil and to compare it with foreign oil results. To our knowledge, extraction of Squalene from the Lebanese olive oil has not been conducted before. Three different techniques were studied and experiments were performed on three brands of olive oil, Al Wadi Al Akhdar, Virgo Bio and Boulos. The techniques performed are the Fractional Crystallization, the Soxhlet and the Esterification. By comparing the results, it is found that the Lebanese oil contains squalene and Soxhlet method is the most effective between the three methods extracting about 6.5E-04 grams of Squalene per grams of olive oil.

Keywords: Squalene, extraction, crystallization, Soxhlet.‎

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17 Chromium Adsorption by Modified Wood

Authors: I. Domingos, B. Esteves, A. Figueirinha, Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes, J. Ferreira, H. Pereira

Abstract:

Chromium is one of the most common heavy metals which exist in very high concentrations in wastewater. The removal is very expensive due to the high cost of normal adsorbents. Lignocellulosic materials and mainly treated materials have proven to be a good solution for this problem.

Adsorption tests were performed at different pH, different times and with varying concentrations.

Results show that is at pH 3 that treated wood absorbs more chromium ranging from 70% (2h treatment) to almost 100% (12 h treatment) much more than untreated wood with less than 40%. Most of the adsorption is made in the first 2-3 hours for untreated and heat treated wood. Modified wood adsorbs more chromium throughout the time. For all the samples, adsorption fitted relatively well the Langmuir model with correlation coefficient ranging from 0.85 to 0.97.

The results show that heat treated wood is a good adsorbent ant that this might be a good utilization for sawdust from treating companies.

Keywords: Adsorption, chromium, heat treatment, wood modification.

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16 Biosorption of Azo Dye Reactive Black B onto Nonviable Biomass of Cladosporium cladosporioides LM1: Thermodynamic, Kinetic and Equilibrium Modeling

Authors: L. A. S. Dionel, B. A. P. Santos, V. C. P. Lopes, L. G. Vasconcelos, M. A. Soares, E. B. Morais

Abstract:

This study investigated the biosorption of the azo dye reactive Black B (RBB) from aqueous solution using the nonviable biomass of Cladosporium cladosporioides LM1. The biosorption systems were carried out in batch mode considering different conditions of initial pH, contact time, temperature, initial dye concentration and biosorbent dosage. Higher removal rate of RBB was obtained at pH 2. Biosorption data were successfully described by pseudo-second-order kinetic model and Langmuir isotherm model with the maximum monolayer biosorption capacity estimated at 71.43 mg/g. The values of thermodynamic parameters such as ∆G°, ∆H° and ∆S° indicated that the biosorption of RBB onto fungal biomass was spontaneous and exothermic in nature. It can be concluded that nonviable biomass of Cladosporium cladosporioides LM1 may be an attractive low-cost biosorbent for the removal of azo dye RBB from aqueous solution.

Keywords: Color removal, isotherms and kinetics models, thermodynamic studies, fungus.

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15 Mechanical Properties of the Palm Fibers Reinforced HDPE Composites

Authors: Daniella R. Mulinari, Araujo J. F. Marina, Gabriella S. Lopes

Abstract:

Natural fibers are used in polymer composites to improve mechanical properties to replace inorganic reinforcing agents produced by non-renewable resources. The present study investigates the tensile and flexural behaviors of palm fibers-high density polyethylene (HDPE) composite as a function of volume fraction. The surface of the fibers was treated by mercerization treatments to improve the wetting behavior of the apolar HDPE. The treatment characterization was obtained by scanning electron microscopy, X-Ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy. Results evidences that a good adhesion interfacial between fibers-matrix caused an increase strength and modulus flexural as well as tensile strength in the modified fibers/HDPE composites when compared to the pure HDPE and untreated fibers reinforced composites.

Keywords: Mechanical properties, palm fibers, polymer composites, surface treatment.

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14 A Methodology for Quality Problems Diagnosis in SMEs

Authors: Humberto N. Teixeira, Isabel S. Lopes, Sérgio D. Sousa

Abstract:

This article proposes a new methodology to be used by SMEs (Small and Medium enterprises) to characterize their performance in quality, highlighting weaknesses and area for improvement. The methodology aims to identify the principal causes of quality problems and help to prioritize improvement initiatives. This is a self-assessment methodology that intends to be easy to implement by companies with low maturity level in quality. The methodology is organized in six different steps which includes gathering information about predetermined processes and subprocesses of quality management, defined based on the well-known Juran-s trilogy for quality management (Quality planning, quality control and quality improvement) and, predetermined results categories, defined based on quality concept. A set of tools for data collecting and analysis, such as interviews, flowcharts, process analysis diagrams and Failure Mode and effects Analysis (FMEA) are used. The article also presents the conclusions obtained in the application of the methodology in two cases studies.

Keywords: Continuous improvement, Diagnosis, Quality Management, Self-assessment, SMEs

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13 Analysis of the Evolution of Social and Economic Indicators of the Mercosur´s Members: 1980-2012

Authors: L. Aparecida Bastos, J. Leige Lopes, J. Crepaldi, R. Monteiro da Silva

Abstract:

The objective of this study is to analyze the evolution of some social and economic indicators of Mercosur´s economies from 1980 to 2012, based on the statistics of the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA). The objective is to observe if after the accession of these economies to Mercosur (the first accessions occurred in 1994) these indicators showed better performance, in order to demonstrate if economic integration contributed to improved trade, macroeconomic performance, and level of social and economic development of member countries. To this end, the methodologies used will be a literature review and descriptive statistics. The theoretical framework that guides the work are the theories of Integration: Classical Liberal, Marxist and structural-proactive. The results reveal that most social and economic indicators showed better performance in those economies that joined Mercosur after 1994. This work is the result of an investigation already completed.

Keywords: Economic integration, mercosur, social indicators, economic indicators.

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12 Production of Polyurethane Foams from Bark Wastes

Authors: Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes, Liliana Rodrigues, Idalina Domingos, José Ferreira, Luís Teixeira de Lemos, Bruno Esteves

Abstract:

Currently, the polyurethanes industry is dependent on fossil resources to obtain their basic raw materials (polyols and isocyanate), as these are obtained from petroleum products. The aim of this work was to use biopolyols from liquefied Pseudotsuga (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) barks for the production of polyurethane foams and optimize the process. Liquefaction was done with glycerol catalyzed by KOH. Foams were produced following different formulations and using biopolyols from both barks. Subsequently, the foams were characterized according to their mechanical properties and the reaction of the foam formation was monitored by FTIR-ATR. The results show that it is possible to produce polyurethane foams using bio-based polyols and the liquefaction conditions are very important because they influence the characteristics of biopolyols and, consequently the characteristics of the foams. However, the process has to be further optimized so that it can obtain better quality foams.

Keywords: Bio-based polyol, mechanical tests, polyurethane foam, Pseudotsuga bark, renewable resources, Turkey oak bark.

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11 Ecotoxicological Safety of Wastewater Treated with Lignocellulosic Adsorbents

Authors: Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes, Artur Figueirinha, Isabel Brás, Bruno Esteves

Abstract:

Portugal is an important wine and olive oil producer, activities which generate a high quantity of residues commonly called grape stalks and olive cake, respectively. In this work grape stalks and olive cake were used as lignocellulosic adsorbents for wastewater containing lead treatment. To attain a better knowledge of the factors that could influence the quality of the treated wastewater, a chemical characterization of the materials used in the treatment was done. To access the ecotoxicological safety of the treated wastewater, several tests were performed.

The results of the toxicity test show that the samples leachate has a mild effect on the living models tested. The tests performed in lemna and bacteria were the most sensible to toxicity effects of the samples. The results obtained in this work evidenced the importance of use of simple and fast toxicity tests to predict impacts in the environment.

Keywords: Chemical composition, ecotoxicological, lignocellulosic residues, safety.

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10 An Optical Flow Based Segmentation Method for Objects Extraction

Authors: C. Lodato, S. Lopes

Abstract:

This paper describes a segmentation algorithm based on the cooperation of an optical flow estimation method with edge detection and region growing procedures. The proposed method has been developed as a pre-processing stage to be used in methodologies and tools for video/image indexing and retrieval by content. The addressed problem consists in extracting whole objects from background for producing images of single complete objects from videos or photos. The extracted images are used for calculating the object visual features necessary for both indexing and retrieval processes. The first task of the algorithm exploits the cues from motion analysis for moving area detection. Objects and background are then refined using respectively edge detection and region growing procedures. These tasks are iteratively performed until objects and background are completely resolved. The developed method has been applied to a variety of indoor and outdoor scenes where objects of different type and shape are represented on variously textured background.

Keywords: Motion Detection, Object Extraction, Optical Flow, Segmentation.

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9 Evaluation of Methodologies for Measuring Harmonics and Inter-Harmonics in Photovoltaic Facilities

Authors: Anésio de Leles F. Filho, Wesley R. de Oliveira, Jéssica S. G. Pena, Jorge A. C. Angarita

Abstract:

The increase in electric power demand in face of environmental issues has intensified the participation of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics, in the energy matrix of various countries. Due to their operational characteristics, they can generate time-varying harmonic and inter-harmonic distortions. For this reason, the application of methods of measurement based on traditional Fourier analysis, as proposed by IEC 61000-4-7, can provide inaccurate results. Considering the aspects mentioned herein, came the idea of the development of this work which aims to present the results of a comparative evaluation between a methodology arising from the combination of the Prony method with the Kalman filter and another method based on the IEC 61000-4-30 and IEC 61000-4-7 standards. Employed in this study were synthetic signals and data acquired through measurements in a 50kWp photovoltaic installation.

Keywords: Harmonics, inter-harmonics, IEC61000-4-7, parametric estimators, photovoltaic generation.

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8 Limestone Briquette Production and Characterization

Authors: André C. Silva, Mariana R. Barros, Elenice M. S. Silva, Douglas. Y. Marinho, Diego F. Lopes, Débora N. Sousa, Raphael S. Tomáz

Abstract:

Modern agriculture requires productivity, efficiency and quality. Therefore, there is need for agricultural limestone implementation that provides adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium carbonates in order to correct soil acidity. During the limestone process, fine particles (with average size under 400#) are generated. These particles do not have economic value in agricultural and metallurgical sectors due their size. When limestone is used for agriculture purposes, these fine particles can be easily transported by wind generated air pollution. Therefore, briquetting, a mineral processing technique, was used to mitigate this problem resulting in an agglomerated product suitable for agriculture use. Briquetting uses compressive pressure to agglomerate fine particles. It can be aided by agglutination agents, allowing adjustments in shape, size and mechanical parameters of the mass. Briquettes can generate extra profits for mineral industry, presenting as a distinct product for agriculture, and can reduce the environmental liabilities of the fine particles storage or disposition. The produced limestone briquettes were subjected to shatter and water action resistance tests. The results show that after six minutes completely submerged in water, the briquettes where fully diluted, a highly favorable result considering its use for soil acidity correction.

Keywords: Agglomeration, briquetting, limestone, agriculture.

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7 Study of Pre-Handwriting Factors Necessary for Successful Handwriting in Children

Authors: Lalitchandra J. Shah, Katarzyna Bialek, Melinda L. Clarke, Jessica L. Jansson

Abstract:

Handwriting is essential to academic success; however, the current literature is limited in the identification of pre-handwriting skills. The purpose of this study was to identify the pre-handwriting skills, which occupational therapy practitioners deem important to handwriting success, as well as those which aid in intervention planning. The online survey instrument consisted of 33 questions that assessed various skills related to the development of handwriting, as well as captured demographic information. Both occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants were included in the survey study. The survey found that the respondents were in agreement that purposeful scribbling, the ability of a child to copy (vertical/horizontal lines, circle, squares, and triangles), imitating an oblique cross, cognitive skills (attention, praxis, self-regulation, sequencing), grasp patterns, hand dominance, in hand manipulation skills (shift, translation, rotation), bilateral integration, stabilization of paper, crossing midline, and visual perception were important indicators of handwriting readiness. The results of the survey support existing research regarding the skills necessary for the successful development of handwriting in children.

Keywords: Development, handwriting, occupational therapy, visual perceptual skills.

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6 Objects Extraction by Cooperating Optical Flow, Edge Detection and Region Growing Procedures

Authors: C. Lodato, S. Lopes

Abstract:

The image segmentation method described in this paper has been developed as a pre-processing stage to be used in methodologies and tools for video/image indexing and retrieval by content. This method solves the problem of whole objects extraction from background and it produces images of single complete objects from videos or photos. The extracted images are used for calculating the object visual features necessary for both indexing and retrieval processes. The segmentation algorithm is based on the cooperation among an optical flow evaluation method, edge detection and region growing procedures. The optical flow estimator belongs to the class of differential methods. It permits to detect motions ranging from a fraction of a pixel to a few pixels per frame, achieving good results in presence of noise without the need of a filtering pre-processing stage and includes a specialised model for moving object detection. The first task of the presented method exploits the cues from motion analysis for moving areas detection. Objects and background are then refined using respectively edge detection and seeded region growing procedures. All the tasks are iteratively performed until objects and background are completely resolved. The method has been applied to a variety of indoor and outdoor scenes where objects of different type and shape are represented on variously textured background.

Keywords: Image Segmentation, Motion Detection, Object Extraction, Optical Flow

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5 Current Status and Future Trends of Mechanized Fruit Thinning Devices and Sensor Technology

Authors: Marco Lopes, Pedro D. Gaspar, Maria P. Simões

Abstract:

This paper reviews the different concepts that have been investigated concerning the mechanization of fruit thinning as well as multiple working principles and solutions that have been developed for feature extraction of horticultural products, both in the field and industrial environments. The research should be committed towards selective methods, which inevitably need to incorporate some kinds of sensor technology. Computer vision often comes out as an obvious solution for unstructured detection problems, although leaves despite the chosen point of view frequently occlude fruits. Further research on non-traditional sensors that are capable of object differentiation is needed. Ultrasonic and Near Infrared (NIR) technologies have been investigated for applications related to horticultural produce and show a potential to satisfy this need while simultaneously providing spatial information as time of flight sensors. Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology also shows a huge potential but it implies much greater costs and the related equipment is usually much larger, making it less suitable for portable devices, which may serve a purpose on smaller unstructured orchards. Portable devices may serve a purpose on these types of orchards. In what concerns sensor methods, on-tree fruit detection, major challenge is to overcome the problem of fruits’ occlusion by leaves and branches. Hence, nontraditional sensors capable of providing some type of differentiation should be investigated.

Keywords: Fruit thinning, horticultural field, portable devices, sensor technologies.

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4 Working Children and Adolescents and the Vicious Circle of Poverty from the Perspective of Gunnar Myrdal’s Theory of Circular Cumulative Causation: Analysis and Implementation of a Probit Model to Brazil

Authors: J. Leige Lopes, L. Aparecida Bastos, R. Monteiro da Silva

Abstract:

The objective of this paper is to study the work of children and adolescents and the vicious circle of poverty from the perspective of Guinar Myrdal’s Theory of Circular Cumulative Causation. The objective is to show that if a person starts working in the juvenile phase of life they will be classified as poor or extremely poor when they are adult, which can to be observed in the case of Brazil, more specifically in the north and northeast. To do this, the methodology used was statistical and econometric analysis by applying a probit model. The main results show that: if people reside in the northeastern region of Brazil, and if they have a low educational level and if they start their professional life before the age 18, they will increase the likelihood that they will be poor or extremely poor. There is a consensus in the literature that one of the causes of the intergenerational transmission of poverty is related to child labor, this because when one starts their professional life while still in the toddler or adolescence stages of life, they end up sacrificing their studies. Because of their low level of education, children or adolescents are forced to perform low-paid functions and abandon school, becoming in the future, people who will be classified as poor or extremely poor. As a result of poverty, parents may be forced to send their children out to work when they are young, so that in the future they will also become poor adults, a process that is characterized as the "vicious circle of poverty."

Keywords: Children, adolescents, Gunnar Myrdal, poverty, vicious circle.

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3 Optimization of Quercus cerris Bark Liquefaction

Authors: Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes, Hugo Costa e Silva, Idalina Domingos, José Ferreira, Luís Teixeira de Lemos, Bruno Esteves

Abstract:

The liquefaction process of cork based tree barks has led to an increase of interest due to its potential innovation in the lumber and wood industries. In this particular study the bark of Quercus cerris (Turkish oak) is used due to its appreciable amount of cork tissue, although of inferior quality when compared to the cork provided by other Quercus trees. This study aims to optimize alkaline catalysis liquefaction conditions, regarding several parameters. To better comprehend the possible chemical characteristics of the bark of Quercus cerris, a complete chemical analysis was performed. The liquefaction process was performed in a double-jacket reactor heated with oil, using glycerol and a mixture of glycerol/ethylene glycol as solvents, potassium hydroxide as a catalyst, and varying the temperature, liquefaction time and granulometry. Due to low liquefaction efficiency resulting from the first experimental procedures a study was made regarding different washing techniques after the filtration process using methanol and methanol/water. The chemical analysis stated that the bark of Quercus cerris is mostly composed by suberin (ca. 30%) and lignin (ca. 24%) as well as insolvent hemicelluloses in hot water (ca. 23%). On the liquefaction stage, the results that led to higher yields were: using a mixture of methanol/ethylene glycol as reagents and a time and temperature of 120 minutes and 200 ºC, respectively. It is concluded that using a granulometry of <80 mesh leads to better results, even if this parameter barely influences the liquefaction efficiency. Regarding the filtration stage, washing the residue with methanol and then distilled water leads to a considerable increase on final liquefaction percentages, which proves that this procedure is effective at liquefying suberin content and lignocellulose fraction.

Keywords: Liquefaction, alkaline catalysis, optimization, Quercus cerris bark.

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2 Participatory Financial Inclusion Hypothesis: A Preliminary Empirical Validation Using Survey Design

Authors: Edward A. Osifodunrin, Jose Manuel Dias Lopes

Abstract:

In Nigeria, enormous efforts/resources had, over the years, been expended on promoting financial inclusion (FI); however, it is seemingly discouraging that many of its self-declared targets on FI remained unachieved, especially amongst the Rural Dwellers and Actors in the Informal Sectors (RDAIS). Expectedly, many reasons had been earmarked for these failures: low literacy level, huge informal/rural sectors etc. This study posits that in spite of these truly-debilitating factors, these FI policy failures could have been avoided or mitigated if the principles of active and better-managed citizens’ participation had been strictly followed in the (re)design/implementation of its FI policies. In other words, in a bid to mitigate the prevalent financial exclusion (FE) in Nigeria, this study hypothesizes the significant positive impact of involving the RDAIS in policy-wide decision making in the FI domain, backed by a preliminary empirical validation. Also, the study introduces the RDAIS-focused Participatory Financial Inclusion Policy (PFIP) as a major FI policy regeneration/improvement tool. The three categories of respondents that served as research subjects are FI experts in Nigeria (n = 72), RDAIS from the very rural/remote village of Unguwar Dogo in Northern Nigeria (n = 43) and RDAIS from another rural village of Sekere (n = 56) in the Southern region of Nigeria. Using survey design (5-point Likert scale questionnaires), random/stratified sampling, and descriptive/inferential statistics, the study often recorded independent consensus (amongst these three categories of respondents) that RDAIS’s active participation in iterative FI policy initiation, (re)design, implementation, (re)evaluation could indeed give improved FI outcomes. However, few questionnaire items also recorded divergent opinions and various statistically (in)significant differences on the mean scores of these three categories. The PFIP (or any customized version of it) should then be carefully integrated into the NFIS of Nigeria (and possibly in the NFIS of other developing countries) to truly/fully provide FI policy integration for these excluded RDAIS and arrest the prevalence of FE.

Keywords: Citizens’ participation, development, financial inclusion, formal financial services, national financial inclusion strategy, participatory financial inclusion policy, rural dwellers and actors in the informal sectors.

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1 Valorization of Lignocellulosic Wastes – Evaluation of Its Toxicity When Used in Adsorption Systems

Authors: Isabel Brás, Artur Figueirinha, Bruno Esteves, Luísa P. Cruz-Lopes

Abstract:

The agriculture lignocellulosic by-products are receiving increased attention, namely in the search for filter materials that retain contaminants from water. These by-products, specifically almond and hazelnut shells are abundant in Portugal once almond and hazelnuts production is a local important activity. Hazelnut and almond shells have as main constituents lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses, water soluble extractives and tannins. Along the adsorption of heavy metals from contaminated waters, water soluble compounds can leach from shells and have a negative impact in the environment. Usually, the chemical characterization of treated water by itself may not show environmental impact caused by the discharges when parameters obey to legal quality standards for water. Only biological systems can detect the toxic effects of the water constituents. Therefore, the evaluation of toxicity by biological tests is very important when deciding the suitability for safe water discharge or for irrigation applications.

The main purpose of the present work was to assess the potential impacts of waters after been treated for heavy metal removal by hazelnut and almond shells adsorption systems, with short term acute toxicity tests.

To conduct the study, water at pH 6 with 25 mg.L-1 of lead, was treated with 10 g of shell per litre of wastewater, for 24 hours. This procedure was followed for each bark. Afterwards the water was collected for toxicological assays; namely bacterial resistance, seed germination, Lemna minor L. test and plant grow. The effect in isolated bacteria strains was determined by disc diffusion method and the germination index of seed was evaluated using lettuce, with temperature and humidity germination control for 7 days. For aquatic higher organism, Lemnas were used with 4 days contact time with shell solutions, in controlled light and temperature. For terrestrial higher plants, biomass production was evaluated after 14 days of tomato germination had occurred in soil, with controlled humidity, light and temperature.

Toxicity tests of water treated with shells revealed in some extent effects in the tested organisms, with the test assays showing a close behaviour as the control, leading to the conclusion that its further utilization may not be considered to create a serious risk to the environment.

Keywords: Acute toxicity tests, adsorption, lignocellulosic wastes, risk assessment.

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