A Constructivist Approach and Tool for Autonomous Agent Bottom-up Sequential Learning

During the initial phase of cognitive development, infants exhibit amazing abilities to generate novel behaviors in unfamiliar situations, and explore actively to learn the best while lacking extrinsic rewards from the environment. These abilities set them apart from even the most advanced autonomous robots. This work seeks to contribute to understand and replicate some of these abilities. We propose the Bottom-up hiErarchical sequential Learning algorithm with Constructivist pAradigm (BEL-CA) to design agents capable of learning autonomously and continuously through interactions. The algorithm implements no assumption about the semantics of input and output data. It does not rely upon a model of the world given a priori in the form of a set of states and transitions as well. Besides, we propose a toolkit to analyze the learning process at run time called GAIT (Generating and Analyzing Interaction Traces). We use GAIT to report and explain the detailed learning process and the structured behaviors that the agent has learned on each decision making. We report an experiment in which the agent learned to successfully interact with its environment and to avoid unfavorable interactions using regularities discovered through interaction.

Experimental Characterization of the Shear Behavior of Fiber Reinforced Concrete Beam Elements in Chips

This work deals with the experimental study of the mechanical behavior, by shear tests (fracture shear), elements of concrete beams reinforced with fibers in chips. These fibers come from the machining waste of the steel parts. The shear tests are carried out on prismatic specimens of dimensions 10 x 20 x 120 cm3. The fibers are characterized by mechanical resistance and tearing. The optimal composition of the concrete was determined by the workability test. Two fiber contents are selected for this study (W = 0.6% and W = 0.8%) and a BT control concrete (W = 0%) of the same composition as the matrix is developed to serve as a reference with a sand-to-gravel ratio (S/G) of concrete matrix equal to 1. The comparison of the different results obtained shows that the chips fibers confer a significant ductility to the material after cracking of the concrete. Also, the fibers used limit diagonal cracks in shear and improve strength and rigidity.

Using Lagrange Equations to Study the Relative Motion of a Mechanism

The relative motion of a robotic arm formed by homogeneous bars of different lengths and masses, hinged to each other is investigated. The first bar of the mechanism is articulated on a platform, considered initially fixed on the surface of the Earth, while for the second case the platform is considered to be in rotation with respect to the Earth. For both analyzed cases the motion equations are determined using the Lagrangian formalism, applied in its traditional form, valid with respect to an inertial reference system, conventionally considered as fixed. However, in the second case, a generalized form of the formalism valid with respect to a non-inertial reference frame will also be applied. The numerical calculations were performed using a MATLAB program.

Intelligent Transport System: Classification of Traffic Signs Using Deep Neural Networks in Real Time

Traffic control has been one of the most common and irritating problems since the time automobiles have hit the roads. Problems like traffic congestion have led to a significant time burden around the world and one significant solution to these problems can be the proper implementation of the Intelligent Transport System (ITS). It involves the integration of various tools like smart sensors, artificial intelligence, position technologies and mobile data services to manage traffic flow, reduce congestion and enhance driver's ability to avoid accidents during adverse weather. Road and traffic signs’ recognition is an emerging field of research in ITS. Classification problem of traffic signs needs to be solved as it is a major step in our journey towards building semi-autonomous/autonomous driving systems. The purpose of this work focuses on implementing an approach to solve the problem of traffic sign classification by developing a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) classifier using the GTSRB (German Traffic Sign Recognition Benchmark) dataset. Rather than using hand-crafted features, our model addresses the concern of exploding huge parameters and data method augmentations. Our model achieved an accuracy of around 97.6% which is comparable to various state-of-the-art architectures.

Inflammatory Markers in the Blood and Chronic Periodontitis

Background: Plasma levels of inflammatory markers are the expression of the infectious wastes of existing periodontitis, as well as of existing inflammation everywhere in the body. Materials and Methods: The study consists of the clinical part of the measurement of inflammatory markers of 23 patients diagnosed with chronic periodontitis and the recording of parental periodontal parameters of patient periodontal status: hemorrhage index and probe values, before and 7-10 days after non-surgical periodontal treatment. Results: The level of fibrinogen drops according to the categorization of disease progression, active and passive, with the biggest % (18%-30%) at the fluctuation 10-20 mg/d. Fluctuations in fibrinogen level according to the age of patients in the range 0-10 mg/dL under 40 years and over 40 years was 13%-26%, in the range 10-20 mg/dL was 26%-22%, in the 20-40 mg/dL was 9%-4%. Conclusions: Non-surgical periodontal treatment significantly reduces the level of non-inflammatory markers in the blood. Oral health significantly reduces the potential source for periodontal bacteria, with the potential of promoting thromboembolism, through interaction between thrombocytes.

Influence of Silica Surface Hydrophilicity on Adsorbed Water and Isopropanol Studied by in-situ NMR

Surface wettability is a crucial factor in oil recovery. In oil industry, the rock wettability involves the interplay between water, oil, and solid surface. Therefore, studying the interplay between adsorptions of water and hydrocarbon molecules on solid surface would be very informative for understanding rock wettability. Here we use the in-situ Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) gas isotherm technique to study competitive adsorptions of water and isopropanol, an intermediate step from hydrocarbons. This in-situ NMR technique obtains information on thermodynamic properties such as the isotherm, molecular dynamics via spin relaxation measurements, and adsorption kinetics such as how fast the system can reach thermal equilibrium after changes of vapor pressures. Using surfaces of silica glass beads, which can be modified from hydrophilic to hydrophobic, we obtained information on the influence of surface hydrophilicity on the state of surface water via obtained thermodynamic and dynamic properties.

The Mechanism Underlying Empathy-Related Helping Behavior: An Investigation of Empathy-Attitude- Action Model

Empathy has been an important issue in psychology, education, as well as cognitive neuroscience. Empathy has two major components: cognitive and emotional. Cognitive component refers to the ability to understand others’ perspectives, thoughts, and actions, whereas emotional component refers to understand how others feel. Empathy can be induced, attitude can then be changed, and with enough attitude change, helping behavior can occur. This finding leads us to two questions: is attitude change really necessary for prosocial behavior? And, what roles cognitive and affective empathy play? For the second question, participants with different psychopathic personality (PP) traits are critical because high PP people were found to suffer only affective empathy deficit. Their cognitive empathy shows no significant difference from the control group. 132 college students voluntarily participated in the current three-stage study. Stage 1 was to collect basic information including Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R), Attitude Scale, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and demographic data. Stage two was for empathy induction with three controversial scenarios, namely domestic violence, depression with a suicide attempt, and an ex-offender. Participants read all three stories and then rewrite the stories by one of two perspectives (empathetic vs. objective). They would then complete the VAS and Attitude Scale one more time for their post-attitude and emotional status. Three IVs were introduced for data analysis: PP (High vs. Low), Responsibility (whether or not the character is responsible for what happened), and Perspective-taking (Empathic vs. Objective). Stage 3 was for the action. Participants were instructed to freely use the 17 tokens they received as donations. They were debriefed and interviewed at the end of the experiment. The major findings were people with higher empathy tend to take more action in helping. Attitude change is not necessary for prosocial behavior. The controversy of the scenarios and how familiar participants are towards target groups play very important roles. Finally, people with high PP tend to show more public prosocial behavior due to their affective empathy deficit. Pre-existing value and belief as well as recent dramatic social events seem to have a big impact and possibly reduce the effect of the independent variables (IV) in our paradigm.

Analyzing Microblogs: Exploring the Psychology of Political Leanings

Microblogging has become increasingly popular for commenting on current events, spreading gossip, and encouraging individualism--which favors its low-context communication channel. These social media (SM) platforms allow users to express opinions while interacting with a wide range of populations. Hashtags allow immediate identification of like-minded individuals worldwide on a vast array of topics. The output of the analytic tool, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC)--a program that associates psychological meaning with the frequency of use of specific words--may suggest the nature of individuals’ internal states and general sentiments. When applied to groupings of SM posts unified by a hashtag, such information can be helpful to community leaders during periods in which the forming of public opinion happens in parallel with the unfolding of political, economic, or social events. This is especially true when outcomes stand to impact the well-being of the group. Here, we applied the online tools, Google Translate and the University of Texas’s LIWC, to a 90-posting sample from a corpus of Colombian Spanish microblogs. On translated disjoint sets, identified by hashtag as being authored by advocates of voting “No,” advocates voting “Yes,” and entities refraining from hashtag use, we observed the value of LIWC’s Tone feature as distinguishing among the categories and the word “peace,” as carrying particular significance, due to its frequency of use in the data.

Deployment of a Biocompatible International Space Station into Geostationary Orbit

This study explores the possibility of a space station that will occupy a geostationary equatorial orbit (GEO) and create artificial gravity using centripetal acceleration. The concept of the station is to create a habitable, safe environment that can increase the possibility of space tourism by reducing the wide variation of hazards associated with space exploration. The ability to control the intensity of artificial gravity through Hall-effect thrusters will allow experiments to be carried out at different levels of artificial gravity. A feasible prototype model was built to convey the concept and to enable cost estimation. The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket with a 26,700 kg payload to GEO was selected to take the 675 tonne spacecraft into orbit; space station construction will require up to 30 launches, this would be reduced to 5 launches when the SpaceX BFR becomes available. The estimated total cost of implementing the Sussex Biocompatible International Space Station (BISS) is approximately $47.039 billion, which is very attractive when compared to the cost of the International Space Station, which cost $150 billion.

Estimation of Crustal Thickness within the Sokoto Basin North-Western Nigeria Using Bouguer Gravity Anomaly Data

This research proposes an interpretation of the Bouguer’ gravity anomaly data of some parts of Sokoto basin for the estimation of crustal thickness. The study area is bounded between latitudes 1100′0″N and 1300′0″N, and longitudes 400′0″E and 600′0″E that covered Koko, Jega, B/Kebbi, Argungu, Lema, Bodinga, Tamgaza, Gunmi,Daki Takwas, Dange, Sokoto, Ilella, T/Mafara, Anka, Maru, Gusau, K/Namoda, and Sabon Birni within Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara state respectively. The established map of the study area was digitized in X, Y and Z format using excel software package and the digitized data were processed using Surfer version 13 software. The Moho and Conrad depths based on a relationship between Bouguer’ gravity anomaly determined crustal thickness were estimated as 35 to 37 km and 19 to 21 km, respectively. The crustal region has been categorized into: Crustal thinning zone that is the region with high gravity anomaly value due to its greater geothermal energy and also Crustal thickening zone which the region with low anomaly values due to its lower geothermal energy. Birnin kebbi, Jega, Sokoto were identified as the region of hydrocarbon potential with an estimate of 35 km thickness within the crustal region which is referred to as crustal thickening as a result of its low but sufficient geothermal energy to decompose organic matter within the region to form hydrocarbons.

Mapping the Digital Landscape: An Analysis of Party Differences between Conventional and Digital Policy Positions

Although digitization is a buzzword in almost every election campaign, the political parties leave voters largely in the dark about their specific positions on digital issues. In the run-up to the 2019 elections in Switzerland, the ‘Digitization Monitor’ project (DMP) was launched in order to change this situation. Within the framework of the DMP, all 4,736 candidates were surveyed about their digital policy positions and values. The DMP is designed as a digital policy supplement to the existing ‘smartvote’ voting advice application. This enabled a direct comparison of the digital policy attitudes according to the DMP with the topics of the ‘smartvote’ questionnaire which are comprehensive in content but mainly related to conventional policy areas. This paper’s main research goal is to analyze and visualize possible differences between conventional and digital policy areas in terms of response patterns between and within political parties. The analysis is based on dimensionality reduction methods (multidimensional scaling and principal component analysis) for the visualization of inter-party differences, and on standard deviation as a measure of variation for the evaluation of intra-party unity. The results reveal that digital issues show a lower degree of inter-party polarization compared to conventional policy areas. Thus, the parties have more common ground in issues on digitization than in conventional policy areas. In contrast, the study reveals a mixed picture regarding intra-party unity. Homogeneous parties show a lower degree of unity in digitization issues whereas parties with heterogeneous positions in conventional areas have more united positions in digital areas. All things considered, the findings are encouraging as less polarized conditions apply to the debate on digital development compared to conventional politics. For the future, it would be desirable if in further countries similar projects to the DMP could emerge to broaden the basis for conclusions.

Simulation and Design of an Aerospace Mission Powered by “Candy” Type Fuel Engines

Sounding rockets are aerospace vehicles that were developed in the mid-20th century, and since then numerous investigations have been executed with the aim of innovate in this type of technology. However, the costs associated to the production of this type of technology are usually quite high, and therefore the challenge that exists today is to be able to reduce them. In this way, the main objective of this document is to present the design process of a Colombian aerospace mission capable to reach the thermosphere using low-cost “Candy” type solid fuel engines. This mission is the latest development of the Uniandes Aerospace Project (PUA for its Spanish acronym), which is an undergraduate and postgraduate research group at Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia), dedicated to incurring in this type of technology. In this way, the investigations that have been carried out on Candy-type solid fuel, which is a compound of potassium nitrate and sorbitol, have allowed the production of engines powerful enough to reach space, and which represents a unique technological advance in Latin America and an important development in experimental rocketry. In this way, following the engineering iterative design methodology was possible to design a 2-stage sounding rocket with 1 solid fuel engine in each one, which was then simulated in RockSim V9.0 software and reached an apogee of approximately 150 km above sea level. Similarly, a speed equal to 5 Mach was obtained, which after performing a finite element analysis, it was shown that the rocket is strong enough to be able to withstand such speeds. Under these premises, it was demonstrated that it is possible to build a high-power aerospace mission at low cost, using Candy-type solid fuel engines. For this reason, the feasibility of carrying out similar missions clearly depends on the ability to replicate the engines in the best way, since as mentioned above, the design of the rocket is adequate to reach supersonic speeds and reach space. Consequently, with a team of at least 3 members, the mission can be obtained in less than 3 months. Therefore, when publishing this project, it is intended to be a reference for future research in this field and benefit the industry.

Design of Polyetheretherketone Fixation Plates for Fractured Distal Femur

In the present study, a methodology has been proposed to treat fracture in the distal part of the femur bone. Initially, bone model has been developed using the computed tomography scan data of the fractured bone. This information has been further used to create polyether ether ketone (PEEK) implant for this fractured bone. Damaged bone and implant models have been assembled. This assembled model has been further analyzed for stress distribution. Moreover, deformation developed was also measured. It has been observed that the stress and deformation developed was not so appreciable. Thus, it proves that the aforementioned procedure can be suitably adopted for the treatment of fractured distal femur bone.

A Goal-Driven Crime Scripting Framework

Crime scripting is a simple and effective crime modeling technique that aims to improve understanding of security analysts about security and crime incidents. Low-quality scripts provide a wrong, incomplete, or sophisticated understanding of the crime commission process, which oppose the purpose of their application, e.g., identifying effective and cost-efficient situational crime prevention (SCP) measures. One important and overlooked factor in generating quality scripts is the crime scripting method. This study investigates the problems within the existing crime scripting practices and proposes a crime scripting approach that contributes to generating quality crime scripts. It was validated by experienced crime scripters. This framework helps analysts develop better crime scripts and contributes to their effective application, e.g., SCP measures identification or policy-making.

The Experience of Middle Grade Teachers in a Culture of Collaboration

Collaboration is a powerful tool for professional development and central for creating opportunities for teachers to reflect on their practice. However, school districts continue to have difficulty both implementing and sustaining collaboration. The purpose of this research was to investigate the experience of the teacher in a creative, instructional collaboration. The teachers in this study found that teacher-initiated collaboration offered them trust and they were more open with their partners. An interpretative phenomenological analysis was used for this study as it told the story of the teacher’s experience. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was chosen for this study to capture the complex and contextual nature of the teacher experience from a creative, instructional collaborative experience. This study sought to answer the question of how teachers in a private, faith-based school experience collaboration. In particular, the researcher engaged the study’s participants in interviews where they shared their unique perspectives on their experiences in relation to this phenomenon. Through the use of interpretative phenomenological analysis, the researcher interpreted the experiences of each participant in an attempt to gain deeper insight into how teachers made sense of their understanding of collaboration. In addition to the researcher’s interpreting the meaning of this construct for each research participant, this study gave a voice to the individual experiences and positionality of each participant at the research site. Moreover, the key findings presented in this study shed light on how teachers within this particular context participated in and made sense of their experience of creating an instructional collaborative. The research presented the findings that speak to the meaning that each research participant experienced in their relation to participating in building a collaborative culture and its effect on professional and personal growth. The researcher provided recommendations for future practice and research possibilities. The research findings demonstrated the unique experiences of each participant as well as a connection to the literature within the field of teacher professional development. The results also supported the claim that teacher collaboration can facilitate school reform. Participating teachers felt less isolation and developed more teacher knowledge.

Design and Māori Values: A Rebrand Project for the Social Enterprise Sector

This paper details a rebrand design project developed for a non-profitable organization called Te Roopu Waiora (TRW), which is currently located in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. This social enterprise is dedicated to supporting the Māori community living with sensorial, physical and intellectual disabilities (whānau hauā). As part of a year three bachelor design brief, the rebrand project enabled students to reflect on Kaupapa Māori principles and appropriately address the values of the organisation. As such, the methodology used a pragmatic paradigm approach and mixed methods design practices involving a human-centred design to problem solving. As result, the student project culminated in the development in a range of cohesive design artefacts, aiming to improve the rentability and perception of the brand with the audience and stakeholders.

Corrosion Study of Magnetically Driven Components in Spinal Implants by Immersion Testing in Simulated Body Fluids

Magnetically controlled growing rods (MCGRs) have been used to stabilise and correct spinal curvature in children to support non-invasive scoliosis adjustment. Although the encapsulated driving components are intended to be isolated from body fluid contact, in vivo corrosion was observed on these components due to sealing mechanism damage. Consequently, a corrosion circuit is created with the body fluids, resulting in malfunction of the lengthening mechanism. Particularly, the chloride ions in blood plasma or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may corrode the MCGR alloys, possibly resulting in metal ion release in long-term use. However, there is no data available on the corrosion resistance of spinal implant alloys in CSF. In this study, an in vitro immersion configuration was designed to simulate in vivo corrosion of 440C SS-Ti6Al4V couples. The 440C stainless steel (SS) was heat-treated to investigate the effect of tempering temperature on intergranular corrosion (IGC), while crevice and galvanic corrosion were studied by limiting the clearance of dissimilar couples. Tests were carried out in a neutral artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF) and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) under aeration and deaeration for 2 months. The composition of the passive films and metal ion release were analysed. The effect of galvanic coupling, pH, dissolved oxygen and anion species on corrosion rates and corrosion mechanisms are discussed based on quantitative and qualitative measurements. The results suggest that ACSF is more aggressive than PBS due to the combination of aggressive chlorides and sulphate anions, while phosphate in PBS acts as an inhibitor to delay corrosion. The presence of Vivianite on the SS surface in PBS lowered the corrosion rate (CR) more than 5 times for aeration and nearly 2 times for deaeration, compared with ACSF. The CR of 440C is dependent on passive film properties varied by tempering temperature and anion species. Although the CR of Ti6Al4V is insignificant, it tends to release more Ti ions in deaerated ACSF than under aeration, about 6 µg/L. It seems the crevice-like design has more effect on macroscopic corrosion than combining the dissimilar couple, whereas IGC is dominantly observed on sensitized microstructure.

Robust Stabilization of Rotational Motion of Underwater Robots against Parameter Uncertainties

This paper provides a robust stabilization method for rotational motion of underwater robots against parameter uncertainties. Underwater robots are expected to be used for various work assignments. The large variety of applications of underwater robots motivates researchers to develop control systems and technologies for underwater robots. Several control methods have been proposed so far for the stabilization of nominal system model of underwater robots with no parameter uncertainty. Parameter uncertainties are considered to be obstacles in implementation of the such nominal control methods for underwater robots. The objective of this study is to establish a robust stabilization method for rotational motion of underwater robots against parameter uncertainties. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified by numerical simulations.

Robotic Assistance in Nursing Care: Survey on Challenges and Scenarios

Robotic assistance in nursing care is an increasingly important area of research and development. Facing a shortage of labor and an increasing number of people in need of care, the German Nursing Care Innovation Center (Pflegeinnovationszentrum, PIZ) aims to address these challenges from the side of technology. Little is known about nurses experiences with existing robotic assistance systems. Especially nurses perspectives on starting points for the development of robotic solutions, that target recurring burdensome tasks in everyday nursing care, are of interest. This paper presents findings focusing on robotics resulting from an explanatory mixed-methods study on nurses experiences with and their expectations for innovative technologies in nursing care in stationary and ambulant care facilities and hospitals in Germany. Based on the findings, eight scenarios for robotic assistance are identified based on the real needs of practitioners. An initial system addressing a single use-case is described to show perspectives for the use of robots in nursing care.

Optical Signal-To-Noise Ratio Monitoring Based on Delay Tap Sampling Using Artificial Neural Network

With the development of optical communication, optical performance monitoring (OPM) has received more and more attentions. Since optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) is directly related to bit error rate (BER), it is one of the important parameters in optical networks. Recently, artificial neural network (ANN) has been greatly developed. ANN has strong learning and generalization ability. In this paper, a method of OSNR monitoring based on delay-tap sampling (DTS) and ANN has been proposed. DTS technique is used to extract the eigenvalues of the signal. Then, the eigenvalues are input into the ANN to realize the OSNR monitoring. The experiments of 10 Gb/s non-return-to-zero (NRZ) on–off keying (OOK), 20 Gb/s pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) and 20 Gb/s return-to-zero (RZ) differential phase-shift keying (DPSK) systems are demonstrated for the OSNR monitoring based on the proposed method. The experimental results show that the range of OSNR monitoring is from 15 to 30 dB and the root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) for 10 Gb/s NRZ-OOK, 20 Gb/s PAM4 and 20 Gb/s RZ-DPSK systems are 0.36 dB, 0.45 dB and 0.48 dB respectively. The impact of chromatic dispersion (CD) on the accuracy of OSNR monitoring is also investigated in the three experimental systems mentioned above.