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Technologies, Volume 4, Issue 3 (September 2016) – 13 articles

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Article
The Provision of Powered Mobility Devices in Italy: Linking Process with Outcomes
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030031 - 09 Sep 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3397
Abstract
The present paper reports on a series of studies conducted at the Regional Center for Assistive Technology (Centro Regionale Ausili, CRA) in Bologna, Italy. Our purpose was to identify a set of internationally validated instruments and a training circuit with a view to [...] Read more.
The present paper reports on a series of studies conducted at the Regional Center for Assistive Technology (Centro Regionale Ausili, CRA) in Bologna, Italy. Our purpose was to identify a set of internationally validated instruments and a training circuit with a view to developing a structured and validated Powered Mobility Device (PMD) assessment and training program. To develop the program, three studies were conducted in order to identify: validated measures for assessing the user’s driving skills and training needs for using a PMD (Study 1); measures for evaluating the outcomes of the PMD (Study 2); and, the elements necessary for building a circuit for conducting PMD training (Study 3). In studies 1 and 2, the Wheelchair Skill Test 4.2 Power Wheelchair (WST) and the Wheelchair Outcome Measure (WhOM) were selected and pilot tested using QUEST 2.0. These studies represent an important step in the development and definition of a PMD assessment and training program to be implemented in routine clinical activities in a regional center for assistive technology in Italy. The measures, the circuit and the program will be further tested in future for validity and reliability in order to assess their efficacy in helping professionals to select the most adequate PMD for users, to conduct specific PMD training, and to evaluate PMD outcomes. Full article
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Article
Reactive Spark Plasma Sintering and Mechanical Properties of Zirconium Diboride–Titanium Diboride Ultrahigh Temperature Ceramic Solid Solutions
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 30; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030030 - 09 Sep 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3372
Abstract
Ultrahigh temperature ceramics (UHTCs) such as diborides of zirconium, hafnium tantalum and their composites are considered to be the candidate materials for thermal protection systems of hypersonic vehicles due to their exceptional combination of physical, chemical and mechanical properties. A composite of ZrB [...] Read more.
Ultrahigh temperature ceramics (UHTCs) such as diborides of zirconium, hafnium tantalum and their composites are considered to be the candidate materials for thermal protection systems of hypersonic vehicles due to their exceptional combination of physical, chemical and mechanical properties. A composite of ZrB2-TiB2 is expected to have better properties. In this study, an attempt has been made to fabricate ZrB2-TiB2 ceramics using mechanically activated elemental powders followed by reactive spark plasma sintering (RSPS) at 1400 °C. Microstructure and phase analysis was carried out using X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and electron microscopy to understand microstructure evolution. Fracture toughness and hardness were evaluated using indentation methods. Nanoindentation was used to measure elastic modulus. Compressive strength of the composites has been reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spark Plasma Sintering of Materials)
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Article
Ready for eHealth. Older Swedes’ Perceptions of eHealth Services: Using the PIADS Scale as a Predictor for Readiness
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030029 - 07 Sep 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2350
Abstract
Introduction: Relevant determinants of adoption of eHealth are needed in order to understand future usage. Aim: To investigate the anticipated psychosocial impact of present and future eHealth services and discuss how psychosocial factors can impact the readiness for eHealth services among older Swedes [...] Read more.
Introduction: Relevant determinants of adoption of eHealth are needed in order to understand future usage. Aim: To investigate the anticipated psychosocial impact of present and future eHealth services and discuss how psychosocial factors can impact the readiness for eHealth services among older Swedes and reflect upon instruments for measuring eHealth acceptance. Method: The Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Device Scale (PIADS) measured the psychosocial impact of eHealth services as illustrated in pictures of a set of events of eHealth services that may reasonably occur in the present and the future. The PIADS scale and the scenarios were administered via a randomly selected sample from the Swedish population aged 55–105. Results and Discussion: Older Swedes have, from a psychosocial perspective, positive expectations regarding eHealth services. The PIADS scale could be a useful supplement to acceptance measurements in the context of eHealth. Using animated illustrations to depict eHealth services, together with the PIADS scale, can generate findings that are generalizable across technologies. The dimensions adaptability, competence and self-esteem could be relevant determinants of adoption of eHealth. Full article
Article
Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Technologies for Mobility and Their Implications for Active Ageing
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030028 - 02 Sep 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3305
Abstract
Purpose: Active ageing is defined as the process of optimizing opportunities for physical, social and mental health to enable older people to actively take part in society without discrimination and to enjoy independence and good quality of life. The World Health Organization assumed [...] Read more.
Purpose: Active ageing is defined as the process of optimizing opportunities for physical, social and mental health to enable older people to actively take part in society without discrimination and to enjoy independence and good quality of life. The World Health Organization assumed this to be a process for increasing and maintaining an individual’s participation in activities to enhance his/her quality of life. In this survey, the authors addressed the following question: is assistive technology (AT) for mobility contributing to enhancement of lifelong capacity and performance? Method: From June 2015 until February 2016, 96 community dwelling adults, AT users for mobility (powered wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, lower limb prostheses, walkers, crutches and canes), aged 45–97, mean 67.02 ± 14.24 years old, 56.3% female, were interviewed using the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale (P-PIADS), the Activities and Participation Profile related to Mobility (APPM) and demographics, clinical and questions about AT use and training. Results and Discussion: The participants’ profiles revealed moderate limitation and restrictions in participation, measured by the APPM (2.03). Most participants displayed a positive impact from AT; average scores obtained from the P-PIADS subscales were: Self-esteem 0.62, Competency 1.11 and Adaptability 1.10. The P-PIADS total was 0.96, with the powered wheelchair users scoring the highest (1.53) and the walker users scoring the lowest (0.73). All subscales and the P-PIADS total were positively correlated with the activities and participation profile. There was no relation between age and the psychosocial impact of AT or activities and participation profile. These results encourage the authors to follow up with these participants for a lifelong intervention. To accomplish that aim, currently, the protocol is implemented at the AT prescribing centers in Coimbra, Portugal in order to assess the impact of AT on participation in society, one of the domains of the Active Ageing Index, a new analytical tool to help policy makers in developing policies for active and healthy ageing. Full article
Article
Dry Sliding Wear Behavior of Spark Plasma Sintered Fe-Based Bulk Metallic Glass/Graphite Composites
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030027 - 02 Sep 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3101
Abstract
Bulk metallic glass (BMG) and BMG-graphite composites were fabricated using spark plasma sintering at the sintering temperature of 575 °C and holding time of 15 min. The sintered composites exhibited partial crystallization and the presence of distributed porosity and graphite particles. The effect [...] Read more.
Bulk metallic glass (BMG) and BMG-graphite composites were fabricated using spark plasma sintering at the sintering temperature of 575 °C and holding time of 15 min. The sintered composites exhibited partial crystallization and the presence of distributed porosity and graphite particles. The effect of graphite reinforcement on the tribological properties of the BMG/graphite composites was investigated using dry ball-on-disc sliding wear tests. The reinforcement of graphite resulted in a reduction in both the wear rate and the coefficient of friction as compared to monolithic BMG samples. The wear surfaces of BMG/graphite composites showed regions of localized wear loss due to microcracking and fracture, as was also the case with the regions covered with graphite-rich protective film due to smearing of pulled off graphite particles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spark Plasma Sintering of Materials)
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Review
Neural Operant Conditioning as a Core Mechanism of Brain-Machine Interface Control
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 26; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030026 - 26 Aug 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3979
Abstract
The process of changing the neuronal activity of the brain to acquire rewards in a broad sense is essential for utilizing brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), which is essentially operant conditioning of neuronal activity. Currently, this is also known as neural biofeedback, and it is [...] Read more.
The process of changing the neuronal activity of the brain to acquire rewards in a broad sense is essential for utilizing brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), which is essentially operant conditioning of neuronal activity. Currently, this is also known as neural biofeedback, and it is often referred to as neurofeedback when human brain activity is targeted. In this review, we first illustrate biofeedback and operant conditioning, which are methodological background elements in neural operant conditioning. Then, we introduce research models of neural operant conditioning in animal experiments and demonstrate that it is possible to change the firing frequency and synchronous firing of local neuronal populations in a short time period. We also debate the possibility of the application of neural operant conditioning and its contribution to BMIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain-Machine Interface Technology)
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Article
Interfering Heralded Single Photons from Two Separate Silicon Nanowires Pumped at Different Wavelengths
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 25; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030025 - 24 Aug 2016
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3023
Abstract
Practical quantum photonic applications require on-demand single photon sources. As one possible solution, active temporal and wavelength multiplexing has been proposed to build an on-demand single photon source. In this scheme, heralded single photons are generated from different pump wavelengths in many temporal [...] Read more.
Practical quantum photonic applications require on-demand single photon sources. As one possible solution, active temporal and wavelength multiplexing has been proposed to build an on-demand single photon source. In this scheme, heralded single photons are generated from different pump wavelengths in many temporal modes. However, the indistinguishability of these heralded single photons has not yet been experimentally confirmed. In this work, we achieve 88% ± 8% Hong–Ou–Mandel quantum interference visibility from heralded single photons generated from two separate silicon nanowires pumped at different wavelengths. This demonstrates that active temporal and wavelength multiplexing could generate indistinguishable heralded single photons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Technologies)
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Article
Electrically Injected Twin Photon Emitting Lasers at Room Temperature
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030024 - 18 Aug 2016
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2630
Abstract
On-chip generation, manipulation and detection of nonclassical states of light are some of the major issues for quantum information technologies. In this context, the maturity and versatility of semiconductor platforms are important assets towards the realization of ultra-compact devices. In this paper we [...] Read more.
On-chip generation, manipulation and detection of nonclassical states of light are some of the major issues for quantum information technologies. In this context, the maturity and versatility of semiconductor platforms are important assets towards the realization of ultra-compact devices. In this paper we present our work on the design and study of an electrically injected AlGaAs photon pair source working at room temperature. The device is characterized through its performances as a function of temperature and injected current. Finally we discuss the impact of the device’s properties on the generated quantum state. These results are very promising for the demonstration of electrically injected entangled photon sources at room temperature and let us envision the use of III-V semiconductors for a widespread diffusion of quantum communication technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quantum Technologies)
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Article
Handcrafted Electrocorticography Electrodes for a Rodent Behavioral Model
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030023 - 16 Aug 2016
Viewed by 3163
Abstract
Electrocorticography (ECoG) is a minimally invasive neural recording method that has been extensively used for neuroscience applications. It has proven to have the potential to ease the establishment of proper links for neural interfaces that can offer disabled patients an alternative solution for [...] Read more.
Electrocorticography (ECoG) is a minimally invasive neural recording method that has been extensively used for neuroscience applications. It has proven to have the potential to ease the establishment of proper links for neural interfaces that can offer disabled patients an alternative solution for their lost sensory and motor functions through the use of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. Although many neural recording methods exist, ECoG provides a combination of stability, high spatial and temporal resolution with chronic and mobile capabilities that could make BCI systems accessible for daily applications. However, many ECoG electrodes require MEMS fabricating techniques which are accompanied by various expenses that are obstacles for research projects. For this reason, this paper presents an animal study using a low cost and simple handcrafted ECoG electrode that is made of commercially accessible materials. The study is performed on a Lewis rat implanted with a handcrafted 32-channel non-penetrative ECoG electrode covering an area of 3 × 3 mm2 on the cortical surface. The ECoG electrodes were placed on the motor and somatosensory cortex to record the signal patterns while the animal was active on a treadmill. Using a Tucker-Davis Technologies acquisition system and the software Synapse to monitor and analyze the electrophysiological signals, the electrodes obtained signals within the amplitude range of 200 µV for local field potentials with reliable spatiotemporal profiles. It was also confirmed that the handcrafted ECoG electrode has the stability and chronic features found in other commercial electrodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain-Machine Interface Technology)
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Review
Measuring Outcomes for Children with Cerebral Palsy Who Use Gait Trainers
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 22; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030022 - 01 Aug 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3691
Abstract
Gait trainers are walking devices that provide additional trunk and pelvic support. The primary population of children using gait trainers includes children with cerebral palsy (CP) functioning at Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels IV and V. A recent systematic review found [...] Read more.
Gait trainers are walking devices that provide additional trunk and pelvic support. The primary population of children using gait trainers includes children with cerebral palsy (CP) functioning at Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels IV and V. A recent systematic review found that evidence supporting the effectiveness of gait trainer interventions for children was primarily descriptive and insufficient to draw firm conclusions. A major limitation identified was the lack of valid, sensitive and reliable tools for measuring change in body structure and function, activity and participation outcomes. Twelve different clinical tools were identified in the systematic review and in this paper we review and discuss the evidence supporting their reliability, validity and clinical utility for use with children using gait trainers. We also describe seven additional clinical measurement tools that may be useful with this intervention and population. The Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) rated highest across all areas at this time. Individualized outcome measures, such as the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) and Goal Attainment Scaling and measuring user satisfaction with tools, such as the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive Technology, show potential for gait trainer outcomes research. Spatiotemporal measures appear to be less useful than functional measures with this intervention and population. All tools would benefit from further development for use with children with CP functioning at GMFCS levels IV and V. Full article
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Article
Assistive Technology Needs and Measurement of the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Technologies for Independent Living of Older Hispanics: Lessons Learned
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030021 - 21 Jul 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2756
Abstract
(1) Knowledge about the assistive technology (AT) needs and psychosocial impact of AT in different populations is needed because the adoption, retention, or abandonment of AT may be influenced by the psychosocial impact that AT has on its users. The aims of this [...] Read more.
(1) Knowledge about the assistive technology (AT) needs and psychosocial impact of AT in different populations is needed because the adoption, retention, or abandonment of AT may be influenced by the psychosocial impact that AT has on its users. The aims of this study were to: (a) identify the AT needs of a sample of Hispanic older adults with functional limitations; (b) describe the psychosocial impact of these technologies on the sample’s quality of life; and (c) describe the methodological challenges in using the Puerto Rican version of the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Device Scale (PR-PIADS) with a Hispanic sample; (2) Methods: This study used a cross-sectional design conducted with a sample of 60 participants. Data was collected using the Assistive Technology Card Assessment Questionnaire (ATCAQ) and the PR-PIADS. Data analyses included descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis; (3) Results: The sample’s most frequently reported needs for AT devices were in the areas of cooking, home tasks, and home safety activities. The sample reported a positive impact of AT use in their quality of life. Several methodological challenges of the PIADS were identified; (4) Conclusions: The sample has unmet needs for using AT devices to overcome difficulties in daily living activities. Full article
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Article
An Experimental/Numerical Study on the Interfacial Damage of Bonded Joints for Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Profiles at Service Conditions
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030020 - 12 Jul 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2516
Abstract
In this paper a study on double lap joints made of glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) adherents and an epoxy resin as a glue is performed. Both an experimental procedure and a theoretical model with an associated numerical discretization are presented. Experimental and numerical [...] Read more.
In this paper a study on double lap joints made of glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP) adherents and an epoxy resin as a glue is performed. Both an experimental procedure and a theoretical model with an associated numerical discretization are presented. Experimental and numerical results are discussed and compared. They indicate the possibility of performing an advanced mechanical analysis of adhesive joints based on a preliminary characterization of a few mechanical parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bolted and Bonded Joints in Fibre Reinforced Polymer Structures)
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Technical Note
Scale-Up Effects of CO2 Capture by Methyldiethanolamine (MDEA) Solutions in Terms of Loading Capacity
Technologies 2016, 4(3), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/technologies4030019 - 28 Jun 2016
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3377
Abstract
In the present study, results from three different CO2 capture experimental scales (laboratory, pilot unit, and a larger pilot unit), using aqueous amine solutions of methyldiethanolamine (MDEA) 20 wt %, are compared in terms of loading capacity. All three tested scales produced [...] Read more.
In the present study, results from three different CO2 capture experimental scales (laboratory, pilot unit, and a larger pilot unit), using aqueous amine solutions of methyldiethanolamine (MDEA) 20 wt %, are compared in terms of loading capacity. All three tested scales produced results regarding CO2 absorption using MDEA aqueous solutions, which were largely in accordance with the theoretical loading capacity of the used amine. Nevertheless, the observed differences between the theoretical and actual absorption behaviors of MDEA solutions for the different scales can be justified with the relative weight that process variables exhibit when the process is scaled up. Therefore, in order to achieve a correct scale-up of the process, simulations should be performed in order to define the best set of operational parameters in order to achieve high production yields and therefore more process profitability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Technologies)
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