Piezoelectric Bimorph Harvester Based on Different Lead Zirconate Titanate Materials to Enhance Energy Collection

Nowadays, the increasing applicability of internet of things (IoT) systems has changed the way that the world around is perceived. The massive interconnection of systems by means of sensing, processing and communication, allows multitude of data to be at our fingertips. In this way, countless advances have been made in different fields such as personal care, predictive maintenance in industry, quality control in production processes, security, and in everything imaginable. However, all these electronic systems have in common the need to be electrically powered. In this context, batteries and wires are the most commonly used solutions, but they are not a definitive solution in some applications, because of the attainability, the serviceability, or the performance requirements. Therefore, the need arises to look for other types of solutions based on energy harvesting and long-life electronics. Energy Harvesting can be defined as the action of capturing energy from the environment and store it for an instantaneous use or later use. Among the materials capable of harvesting energy from the environment, such as thermoelectrics, electromagnetics, photovoltaics or triboelectrics, the most suitable is the piezoelectric material. The phenomenon of piezoelectricity is one of the most powerful sources for energy harvesting, ranging from a few micro wats to hundreds of wats, depending on certain factors such as material type, geometry, excitation frequency, mechanical and electrical configurations, among others. In this research work, an exhaustive study is carried out on how different types of piezoelectric materials and electrical configurations influence the maximum power that a bimorph harvester is able to extract from mechanical vibrations. A series of experiments has been carried out in which the manufactured bimorph specimens are excited under fixed inertial vibrational conditions. In addition, in order to evaluate the dependence of the maximum transferred power, different load resistors are tested. In this way, the pure active power that achieves the maximum power transfer can be approximated. In this paper, we present the design of low-cost energy harvesting solutions based on piezoelectric smart materials with tunable frequency. The results obtained show the differences in energy extraction between the PZT materials studied and their electrical configurations. The aim of this work is to gain a better understanding of the behavior of piezoelectric materials, and the design process of bimorph PZT harvesters to optimize environmental energy extraction.

Factors Affecting Employee Decision Making in an AI Environment

The decision-making process in humans is a complicated system influenced by a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Human decisions have a ripple effect on subsequent decisions. In this study, the scope of human decision making is limited to employees. In an organisation, a person makes a variety of decisions from the time they are hired to the time they retire. The goal of this research is to identify various elements that influence decision making. In addition, the environment in which a decision is made is a significant aspect of the decision-making process. Employees in today's workplace use artificial intelligence (AI) systems for automation and decision augmentation. The impact of AI systems on the decision-making process is examined in this study. This research is designed based on a systematic literature review. Based on gaps in the literature, limitations and the scope of future research have been identified. Based on these findings, a research framework has been designed to identify various factors affecting employee decision making. Employee decision making is influenced by technological advancement, data-driven culture, human trust, decision automation-augmentation and workplace motivation. Hybrid human-AI systems require development of new skill sets and organisational design. Employee psychological safety and supportive leadership influences overall job satisfaction.

Properties of Bacterial Nanocellulose for Scenic Arts

Kombucha (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) produces material capable of acquiring multiple shapes and textures that change significantly under different environment or temperature variations (e.g., when it is exposed to wet conditions), properties that may be explored in the scenic industry. This paper presents an analysis of its specific characteristics, exploring them as a non-conventional material for arts and performance. Costume Design uses surfaces as a powerful way of expression to represent concepts and stories; it may apply the unique features of nano bacterial cellulose (NBC) as assets in this artistic context. A mix of qualitative and quantitative (interventionist) methodology approaches were used such as review of relevant literature to deepen knowledge on the research topic (crossing bibliography from different fields of studies: biology, art, costume design, etc.); as well as descriptive methods: laboratorial experiments, document quantities, observation to identify material properties and possibilities used to express a multiple narrative ideas, concepts and feelings. The results confirmed that NBC is an interactive and versatile material viable to be used in an alternative scenic context; its unique aesthetic and performative qualities, which change in contact to moisture, are resources that can be used to show a visual and poetic impact on stage.

Accelerated Ageing of Unidirectional Flax Fibers Reinforced Recycled Polypropylene Composites

Over the last decades, worldwide environmental awareness has grown due to the depletion of raw material resources and global warming. This awareness has prompted the development of new products more environmentally friendly. Among these products are biocomposite materials reinforced with natural fibers. The main challenge in developing the use of biocomposites in exterior applications is the lack of knowledge about their durability and the evolution of their mechanical and physicochemical properties in the long term. The aim of this work is to study the photooxidation of unidirectional (UD) composites based on recycled matrix. For this purpose, UD flax fiber composites based on recycled polypropylene were prepared by thermocompression. An accelerated aging test was carried out using a xenon arc WeatherOmeter. The consequences of UV exposure on the chemical composition and morphology of the surface of composites as well as on their tensile mechanical properties have been reported. The results showed that accelerated aging had a significant effect on the surface of these composites while it had little impact on their mechanical properties.

Slow Pyrolysis of Biowastes: Environmental, Exergetic, and Energetic Assessment

Slow pyrolysis of a pellet of pistachio waste was studied using a lab-scale stainless-steel reactor. Experiments were conducted at different heating rates (5, 10, and 15 K/min). A 3-E (environmental, exergetic, and energetic) analysis for the processing of 20 kg/h of biowaste was carried out. Experimental results showed that biochar and gas yields decreased with an increase in the heating rate (43% to 36% and 28% to 24%, respectively), while the bio-oil yield increased (29% to 40%). Finally, from the 3-E analysis and the experimental results, it can be suggested that an increase in the heating rate resulted in a higher pyrolysis exergetic efficiency (70%), due to an increase of the bio-oil yield with high-energy content.

Design of a Strain Sensor Based on Cascaded Fiber Bragg Grating for Remote Sensing Monitoring

Harsh environments require developed detection by an optical communication system to ensure a high level of security and safety. Fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) are emerging sensing instruments that respond to variations in strain and temperature by varying wavelengths. In this study, a cascaded uniform FBG is designed as a strain sensor for 6 km length at 1550 nm wavelength with 30 °C temperature by analyzing dynamic strain and wavelength shifts. The FBG is placed in a small segment of an optical fiber that reflects light with a specific wavelength and passes on the remaining wavelengths. Consequently, periodic alteration occurs in the refractive index in the fiber core. The alteration in the modal index of the fiber is produced by strain effects on a Bragg wavelength. When the developed sensor is exposed to the strain (0.01) of the cascaded uniform FBG, the wavelength shifts by 0.0000144383 μm. The sensing accuracy of the developed sensor is 0.0012. Simulation results show the reliability and effectiveness of the strain monitoring sensor for remote sensing application.

Concept of Net Zero Ecotourism in Sustainable Tourism Industry Development

With the increase of demand and popularity of ecotourism development to address the concern of carbon emission, the acceleration of development of the concept of net zero carbon ecotourism can increase international competitiveness, sustainability and productivity. This paper aims to outline the major key components and considerations in ecotourism development with integration of net zero strategy and provide recommendation and reference to government agents, Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry and stakeholders to contribute to the target of net zero and environmentally friendly ecotourism development project. This paper explores the alternative to the reliance on local regulation and ecotourism certification programs as a base tool to achieve the higher standard of the reduction of the use of energy and natural resources in ecotourism development and to enhance their sustainability.

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Flash Flooding and Organisational Resilience Capacity: Qualitative Findings on Implications of the Catastrophic 2017 Flash Flood Event in Mandra, Greece

On November 15th, 2017, a catastrophic flash flood devastated the city of Mandra in Central Greece, resulting in 24 fatalities and extensive damages to the built environment and infrastructure. It was Greece’s deadliest and most destructive flood event for the past 40 years. In this paper, we examine the consequences of this event to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Mandra during the flood event, which were affected by the floodwaters to varying extents. In this context, we conducted semi-structured interviews with business owners-managers of 45 SMEs located in flood inundated areas and are still active nowadays, based on an interview guide that spanned 27 topics. The topics pertained to the disaster experience of the business and business owners-managers, knowledge and attitudes towards climate change and extreme weather, aspects of disaster preparedness and related assistance needs. Our findings reveal that the vast majority of the affected businesses experienced heavy damages in equipment and infrastructure or total destruction, which resulted in business interruption from several weeks up to several months. Assistance from relatives or friends helped for the damage repairs and business recovery, while state compensations were deemed insufficient compared to the extent of the damages. Most interviewees pinpoint flooding as one of the most critical risks, and many connect it with the climate crisis. However, they are either not willing or unable to apply property-level prevention measures in their businesses due to cost considerations or complex and cumbersome bureaucratic processes. In all cases, the business owners are fully aware of the flood hazard implications, and since the recovery from the event, they have engaged in basic mitigation measures and contingency plans in case of future flood events. Such plans include insurance contracts whenever possible (as the vast majority of the affected SMEs were uninsured at the time of the 2017 event) as well as simple relocations of critical equipment within their property. The study offers fruitful insights on latent drivers and barriers of SMEs’ resilience capacity to flash flooding. In this respect, findings such as ours, highlighting tensions that underpin behavioural responses and experiences, can feed into: a) bottom-up approaches for devising actionable and practical guidelines, manuals and/or standards on business preparedness to flooding, and, ultimately, b) policy-making for an enabling environment towards a flood-resilient SME sector.

The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Digital Forensics and Incident Response in a Constrained Environment

Digital investigators often have a hard time spotting evidence in digital information. It has become hard to determine which source of proof relates to a specific investigation. A growing concern is that the various processes, technology, and specific procedures used in the digital investigation are not keeping up with criminal developments. Therefore, criminals are taking advantage of these weaknesses to commit further crimes. In digital forensics investigations, artificial intelligence (AI) is invaluable in identifying crime. Providing objective data and conducting an assessment is the goal of digital forensics and digital investigation, which will assist in developing a plausible theory that can be presented as evidence in court. This research paper aims at developing a multiagent framework for digital investigations using specific intelligent software agents (ISAs). The agents communicate to address particular tasks jointly and keep the same objectives in mind during each task. The rules and knowledge contained within each agent are dependent on the investigation type. A criminal investigation is classified quickly and efficiently using the case-based reasoning (CBR) technique. The proposed framework development is implemented using the Java Agent Development Framework, Eclipse, Postgres repository, and a rule engine for agent reasoning. The proposed framework was tested using the Lone Wolf image files and datasets. Experiments were conducted using various sets of ISAs and VMs. There was a significant reduction in the time taken for the Hash Set Agent to execute. As a result of loading the agents, 5% of the time was lost, as the File Path Agent prescribed deleting 1,510, while the Timeline Agent found multiple executable files. In comparison, the integrity check carried out on the Lone Wolf image file using a digital forensic tool kit took approximately 48 minutes (2,880 ms), whereas the MADIK framework accomplished this in 16 minutes (960 ms). The framework is integrated with Python, allowing for further integration of other digital forensic tools, such as AccessData Forensic Toolkit (FTK), Wireshark, Volatility, and Scapy.

Research on Traditional Rammed Earth Houses in Southern Zhejiang, China: Based on the Theory of Embeddedness

Zhejiang’s special geographical environment has created characteristic mountain dwellings with climate adaptability. Among them, the terrain of southern Zhejiang is dominated by mountainous and hilly landforms, and its traditional dwellings have distinctive characteristics. They are often adapted to local conditions and laid out in accordance with the mountains. In order to block the severe winter weather conditions, local traditional building materials such as rammed earth are mostly used. However, with the development of urbanization, traditional villages have undergone large-scale changes, gradually losing their original uniqueness. In order to solve this problem, this paper takes traditional villages around Baishanzu National Park in Zhejiang as an example and selects nine typical villages in Jingning County and Longquan, respectively. Based on field investigations, this paper extracts the environmental adaptability of local traditional rammed earth houses from the perspective of “geographical embeddedness”. And then combined with case analysis, the paper discusses the translation and development of its traditional architectural methods in contemporary rammed earth buildings in southern Zhejiang.

Time Organization for Urban Mobility Decongestion: A Methodology for People’s Profile Identification

Quality of life, environmental impact, congestion of mobility means, and infrastructures remain significant challenges for urban mobility. Solutions like car sharing, spatial redesign, eCommerce, and autonomous vehicles will likely increase the unit veh-km and the density of cars in urban traffic, thus reducing congestion. However, the impact of such solutions is not clear for researchers. Congestion arises from growing populations that must travel greater distances to arrive at similar locations (e.g., workplaces, schools) during the same time frame (e.g., rush hours). This paper first reviews the research and application cases of urban congestion methods through recent years. Rethinking the question of time, it then investigates people’s willingness and flexibility to adapt their arrival and departure times from workplaces. We use neural networks and methods of supervised learning to apply a methodology for predicting peoples’ intentions from their responses in a questionnaire. We created and distributed a questionnaire to more than 50 companies in the Paris suburb. Obtained results illustrate that our methodology can predict peoples’ intentions to reschedule their activities (work, study, commerce, etc.).

Impact of Network Workload between Virtualization Solutions on a Testbed Environment for Cybersecurity Learning

The adoption of modern lightweight virtualization often comes with new threats and network vulnerabilities. This paper seeks to assess this with a different approach studying the behavior of a testbed built with tools such as Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), LinuX Containers (LXC) and Docker, by performing stress tests within a platform where students experiment simultaneously with cyber-attacks, and thus observe the impact on the campus network and also find the best solution for cyber-security learning. Interesting outcomes can be found in the literature comparing these technologies. It is, however, difficult to find results of the effects on the global network where experiments are carried out. Our work shows that other physical hosts and the faculty network were impacted while performing these trials. The problems found are discussed, as well as security solutions and the adoption of new network policies.

Motivating Factors to Use Electric Vehicles Based on Behavioral Intention Model in South Korea

The global warming crisis forced humans to consider their place in the world and the earth's future. In this regard, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a significant step towards protecting the environment. By identifying factors that influence people's behavior intentions toward using EVs, we proposed a theoretical model by extending the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), including three more concepts, Subjective Norm (SN), Self-Efficacy (SE), and Perceived Behavior Control (PBC). The study was conducted in South Korea, and a random sample was taken at a specific time. In order to collect data, a questionnaire was created in a Google Form and sent via Kakao Talk, a popular social media application used in Korea. There were about 220 participants in this survey. However, 201 surveys were completely done. The findings revealed that all factors in the TAM model and the other added concepts such as SNs, SE and PBC significantly affect the behavioral intention of using EVs.

Automated Driving Deep Neural Network Model Accuracy and Performance Assessment in a Simulated Environment

The evolution and integration of automated vehicles have become more and more tangible in recent years. State-of-the-art technological advances in the field of camera-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) and computer vision greatly favor the performance and reliability of Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), leading to a greater knowledge of vehicular operation and resembling the human behaviour. However, the exclusive use of this technology still seems insufficient to control the vehicular operation at 100%. To reveal the degree of accuracy of the current camera-based automated driving AI modules, this paper studies the structure and behavior of one of the main solutions in a controlled testing environment. The results obtained clearly outline the lack of reliability when using exclusively the AI model in the perception stage, thereby entailing using additional complementary sensors to improve its safety and performance.

A Deep Learning Framework for Polarimetric SAR Change Detection Using Capsule Network

The Earth's surface is constantly changing through forces of nature and human activities. Reliable, accurate, and timely change detection is critical to environmental monitoring, resource management, and planning activities. Recently, interest in deep learning algorithms, especially convolutional neural networks, has increased in the field of image change detection due to their powerful ability to extract multi-level image features automatically. However, these networks are prone to drawbacks that limit their applications, which reside in their inability to capture spatial relationships between image instances, as this necessitates a large amount of training data. As an alternative, Capsule Network has been proposed to overcome these shortcomings. Although its effectiveness in remote sensing image analysis has been experimentally verified, its application in change detection tasks remains very sparse. Motivated by its greater robustness towards improved hierarchical object representation, this study aims to apply a capsule network for PolSAR image Change Detection. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed change detection method can yield a significantly higher detection rate compared to methods based on convolutional neural networks.

Domestic Violence against Children and Trafficking in Human Beings: Two Worrying Phenomena in Kosovo

Domestic violence, trafficking with human beings especially violence against children, is a worldwide problem. Hence, it remains one of the most widespread forms of violence in Kosovo and which often continues to be described as a "closed door issue". Recognition, acceptance and prioritization of cases of domestic violence definitely require a much greater awareness of individuals in institutions for the risks, consequences and costs that the lack of such a well-coordinated response brings to the country. Considering that children are the future and the wealth of the country, violence and neglect against them should be treated as carefully as possible. The purpose of this paper is to identify steps towards prevention of the domestic violence and trafficking with human beings, so that the reflection of the consequences and the psychological flow do not reflect to a large extent in society. In this study is described: How is the phenomenon of domestic violence related to trafficking in human beings? The methods used are: historical, comparative, qualitative. Data derived from the relevant institutions were presented, i.e., by the actors who are the first reactors as well as the policy makers. Although these phenomena are present in all countries of the world, Kosovo is no exception and therefore comparisons of the development of child abuse have been made with other countries in the region as well. Since Kosovo is a country in transition, a country with a relatively high level of education, low economic development, high unemployment, political instability, dysfunctional legal infrastructure, it can be concluded that the potential for the development of negative phenomena is present and inevitable. Thus, during the research, the stages of development of these phenomena are analyzed, determining the causes and consequences which come from abuse, neglect of children and the impact on trafficking in human beings. The Kosovar family (parental responsibility), culture and religion, social services, the dignity of the abused child, etc. were analyzed. The review was also done on the legislation, educational institutions (curricula), governmental and non-governmental institutions their responsibilities and cooperation towards combating child abuse and trafficking. It is worth noting that during the work on paper, recommendations and conclusions have been drawn where it is concluded that we need an environment with educational reforms, stability in the political environment, economic development, a review of social policies, greater awareness of society, more adequate information through media, so that information and awareness could penetrate even in the most remote places of Kosovo society.

Factors in a Sustainability Assessment of New Types of Closed Cavity Façades

With the current increase in CO2 emissions and global warming, the sustainability of both existing and new solutions must be assessed on a wide scale. As the implementation of closed cavity façades (CCF) is on the rise, various factors must be included in the analysis of new types of CCF. This paper aims to cover the relevant factors included in the sustainability assessment of new types of CCF. Several mathematical models are being used to describe the physical behavior of CCF. Depending on the type of CCF, they cover the main factors which affect the durability of the façade: thermal behavior of various elements in the façade, stress and deflection of the glass panels, pressure and the moisture control in the cavity. CCF itself represents a complex system in which all mentioned factors must be considered mutually. Still, the façade is only an envelope of a more complex system, the building. Choice of the façade dictates the heat loss and the heat gain, thermal comfort of inner space, natural lighting, and ventilation. Annual energy consumption for heating, cooling, lighting, and maintenance costs will present the operational advantages or disadvantages of the chosen façade system in economic and environmental aspects. Still, the only operational viewpoint is not all-inclusive. As the building codes constantly demand higher energy efficiency as well as transfer to renewable energy sources, the ratio of embodied and lifetime operational energy footprint of buildings is changing. With the drop in operational energy CO2 emissions, embodied energy emissions present a larger and larger share in the lifecycle emissions of the building. Taking all into account, the sustainability assessment of a façade, as well as other major building elements, should include all mentioned factors during the lifecycle of an element. The challenge of such an approach is a timescale. Depending on the climatic conditions on the building site, the expected lifetime of a glazed façade can exceed 25 years. In such a timespan, some of the factors can be estimated more precisely than the others. However, the ones depending on the socio-economic conditions are more likely to be harder to predict than the natural ones like the climatic load. This work recognizes and summarizes the relevant factors needed for the assessment of a new type of CCF, considering the entire lifetime of a façade element in an environmental aspect.

Depth Camera Aided Dead-Reckoning Localization of Autonomous Mobile Robots in Unstructured Global Navigation Satellite System Denied Environments

In global navigation satellite system (GNSS) denied settings, such as indoor environments, autonomous mobile robots are often limited to dead-reckoning navigation techniques to determine their position, velocity, and attitude (PVA). Localization is typically accomplished by employing an inertial measurement unit (IMU), which, while precise in nature, accumulates errors rapidly and severely degrades the localization solution. Standard sensor fusion methods, such as Kalman filtering, aim to fuse precise IMU measurements with accurate aiding sensors to establish a precise and accurate solution. In indoor environments, where GNSS and no other a priori information is known about the environment, effective sensor fusion is difficult to achieve, as accurate aiding sensor choices are sparse. However, an opportunity arises by employing a depth camera in the indoor environment. A depth camera can capture point clouds of the surrounding floors and walls. Extracting attitude from these surfaces can serve as an accurate aiding source, which directly combats errors that arise due to gyroscope imperfections. This configuration for sensor fusion leads to a dramatic reduction of PVA error compared to traditional aiding sensor configurations. This paper provides the theoretical basis for the depth camera aiding sensor method, initial expectations of performance benefit via simulation, and hardware implementation thus verifying its veracity. Hardware implementation is performed on the Quanser Qbot 2™ mobile robot, with a Vector-Nav VN-200™ IMU and Kinect™ camera from Microsoft.

MLOps Scaling Machine Learning Lifecycle in an Industrial Setting

Machine learning has evolved from an area of academic research to a real-world applied field. This change comes with challenges, gaps and differences exist between common practices in academic environments and the ones in production environments. Following continuous integration, development and delivery practices in software engineering, similar trends have happened in machine learning (ML) systems, called MLOps. In this paper we propose a framework that helps to streamline and introduce best practices that facilitate the ML lifecycle in an industrial setting. This framework can be used as a template that can be customized to implement various machine learning experiments. The proposed framework is modular and can be recomposed to be adapted to various use cases (e.g. data versioning, remote training on Cloud). The framework inherits practices from DevOps and introduces other practices that are unique to the machine learning system (e.g.data versioning). Our MLOps practices automate the entire machine learning lifecycle, bridge the gap between development and operation.

A Comparison of Air Pollution in Developed and Developing Cities: A Case Study of London and Beijing

With the rapid development of industrialization, countries in different stages of development in the world have gradually begun to pay attention to the impact of air pollution on health and the environment. Air control in developed countries is an effective reference for air control in developing countries. Artificial intelligence and other technologies also play a positive role in the prediction of air pollution. By comparing the annual changes of pollution in London and Beijing, this paper concludes that the pollution in developed cities is relatively low and stable, while the pollution in Beijing is relatively heavy and unstable, but is clearly improving. In addition, by analyzing the changes of major pollutants in Beijing in the past eight years, it is concluded that all pollutants except O3 show a significant downward trend. In addition, all pollutants except O3 have certain correlation. For example, PM10 and PM2.5 have the greatest influence on air quality index (AQI). Python, which is commonly used by artificial intelligence, is used as the main software to establish two models, support vector machine (SVM) and linear regression. By comparing the two models under the same conditions, it is concluded that SVM has higher accuracy in pollution prediction. The results of this study provide valuable reference for pollution control and prediction in developing countries.