Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)


We have developed a pen and writing tablet for use by subjects during fMRI scanning. The pen consists of two jacketed, multi-mode optical fibers routed to the tip of a hollowed-out ball-point pen. The pen has been further modified by addition of a plastic plate to maintain a perpendicular pen-tablet orientation. The tablet is simply a non-metallic frame holding a paper print of continuously varying color gradients. The optical fibers are routed out of the MRI bore to a light-tight box in an adjacent control room. Within the box, light from a high intensity LED is coupled into one of the fibers, while the other fiber abuts a color sensor. Light from the LED exits the pen tip, illuminating a small spot on the tablet, and the resulting reflected light is routed to the color sensor. Given a lookup table of position for each color on the tablet, the coordinates of the pen on the tablet may be displayed and digitized in real-time. While simple and inexpensive, the system achieves sufficient resolution to grade writing tasks testing dysgraphic and dyslexic phenomena.

Concepts: Learning disability, Dysgraphia, Writing, Refraction, Optical fiber, Pen, Dyslexia, Light


Dead-reckoning (DR) algorithms, which use self-contained inertial sensors combined with gait analysis, have proven to be effective for pedestrian navigation purposes. In such DR systems, the primary error is often due to accumulated heading drifts. By tightly integrating global navigation satellite system (GNSS) Doppler measurements with DR, such accumulated heading errors can usually be accurately compensated. Under weak signal conditions, high sensitivity GNSS (HSGNSS) receivers with block processing techniques are often used, however, the Doppler quality of such receivers is relatively poor due to multipath, fading and signal attenuation. This often limits the benefits of integrating HSGNSS Doppler with DR. This paper investigates the benefits of using Doppler measurements from a novel direct vector HSGNSS receiver with pedestrian dead-reckoning (PDR) for indoor navigation. An indoor signal and multipath model is introduced which explains how conventional HSGNSS Doppler measurements are affected by indoor multipath. Velocity and Doppler estimated by using direct vector receivers are introduced and discussed. Real experimental data is processed and analyzed to assess the veracity of proposed method. It is shown when integrating HSGNSS Doppler with PDR algorithm, the proposed direct vector method are more helpful than conventional block processing method for the indoor environments considered herein.

Concepts: Algorithm, Satellite navigation system, Fading, Global Positioning System, Satellite navigation systems, Dead reckoning, Global navigation satellite system, Navigation


In this paper we present a new method for retrieving tropospheric NO2 Vertical Column Density (VCD) from zenith-sky Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) measurements using mobile observations. This method was used during three days in the summer of 2011 in Romania, being to our knowledge the first mobile DOAS measurements peformed in this country. The measurements were carried out over large and different areas using a mobile DOAS system installed in a car. We present here a step-by-step retrieval of tropospheric VCD using complementary observations from ground and space which take into account the stratospheric contribution, which is a step forward compared to other similar studies. The detailed error budget indicates that the typical uncertainty on the retrieved NO2tropospheric VCD is less than 25%. The resulting ground-based data set is compared to satellite measurements from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2). For instance, on 18 July 2011, in an industrial area located at 47.03°N, 22.45°E, GOME-2 observes a tropospheric VCD value of (3.4 ± 1.9) × 1015 molec./cm2, while average mobile measurements in the same area give a value of (3.4 ± 0.7) × 1015 molec./cm2. On 22 August 2011, around Ploiesti city (44.99°N, 26.1°E), the tropospheric VCD observed by satellites is (3.3 ± 1.9) × 1015 molec./cm2 (GOME-2) and (3.2 ± 3.2) × 1015 molec./cm2 (OMI), while average mobile measurements give (3.8 ± 0.8) × 1015 molec./cm2. Average ground measurements over “clean areas”, on 18 July 2011, give (2.5 ± 0.6) × 1015 molec./cm2 while the satellite observes a value of (1.8 ± 1.3) × 1015 molec./cm2.

Concepts: Absorption spectroscopy, Philosophy of science, Hypothesis, Stratosphere, Absorption, Knowledge, Observation, Scientific method


The performance of conventional minutiae-based fingerprint authentication algorithms degrades significantly when dealing with low quality fingerprints with lots of cuts or scratches. A similar degradation of the minutiae-based algorithms is observed when small overlapping areas appear because of the quite narrow width of the sensors. Based on the detection of minutiae, Scale Invariant Feature Transformation (SIFT) descriptors are employed to fulfill verification tasks in the above difficult scenarios. However, the original SIFT algorithm is not suitable for fingerprint because of: (1) the similar patterns of parallel ridges; and (2) high computational resource consumption. To enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the algorithm for fingerprint verification, we propose a SIFT-based Minutia Descriptor (SMD) to improve the SIFT algorithm through image processing, descriptor extraction and matcher. A two-step fast matcher, named improved All Descriptor-Pair Matching (iADM), is also proposed to implement the 1:N verifications in real-time. Fingerprint Identification using SMD and iADM (FISiA) achieved a significant improvement with respect to accuracy in representative databases compared with the conventional minutiae-based method. The speed of FISiA also can meet real-time requirements.

Concepts: Algorithm, Fingerprint Verification Competition, Better, Biometrics, Scale-invariant feature transform, Computational complexity theory, Improve, Fingerprint


Chlorophyll a fluorometry has long been used as a method to study phytoplankton in the ocean. In situ fluorometry is used frequently in oceanography to provide depth-resolved estimates of phytoplankton biomass. However, the high price of commercially manufactured in situ fluorometers has made them unavailable to some individuals and institutions. Presented here is an investigation into building an in situ fluorometer using low cost electronics. The goal was to construct an easily reproducible in situ fluorometer from simple and widely available electronic components. The simplicity and modest cost of the sensor makes it valuable to students and professionals alike. Open source sharing of architecture and software will allow students to reconstruct and customize the sensor on a small budget. Research applications that require numerous in situ fluorometers or expendable fluorometers can also benefit from this study. The sensor costs US$150.00 and can be constructed with little to no previous experience. The sensor uses a blue LED to excite chlorophyll a and measures fluorescence using a silicon photodiode. The sensor is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller that also serves as a data logger.

Concepts: Pulse oximeter, Ocean, Transducer, Infrared, Fluorescence, Fluorescence spectroscopy, Fluorometer, Diode


This paper presents an innovative access control system, based on human detection and path analysis, to reduce false automatic door system actions while increasing the added values for security applications. The proposed system can first identify a person from the scene, and track his trajectory to predict his intention for accessing the entrance, and finally activate the door accordingly. The experimental results show that the proposed system has the advantages of high precision, safety, reliability, and can be responsive to demands, while preserving the benefits of being low cost and high added value.

Concepts: Physical security, Security companies, Scientific method, Value added, Safe, Door security, Door, Access control


This paper presents a fully differential single-axis accelerometer fabricated using the MetalMUMPs process. The unique structural configuration and common-centriod wiring of the metal electrodes enables a fully differential sensing scheme with robust metal sensing structures. CoventorWare is used in structural and electrical design and simulation of the fully differential accelerometer. The MUMPs foundry fabrication process of the sensor allows for high yield, good process consistency and provides 20 μm structural thickness of the sensing element, which makes the capacitive sensing eligible. In device characterization, surface profile of the fabricated device is measured using a Veeco surface profilometer; and mean and gradient residual stress in the nickel structure are calculated as approximately 94.7 MPa and -5.27 MPa/μm, respectively. Dynamic characterization of the sensor is performed using a vibration shaker with a high-end commercial calibrating accelerometer as reference. The sensitivity of the sensor is measured as 0.52 mV/g prior to off-chip amplification. Temperature dependence of the sensing capacitance is also characterized. A -0.021fF/°C is observed. The findings in the presented work will provide useful information for design of sensors and actuators such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and electrothermal actuators that are to be fabricated using MetalMUMPs technology.

Concepts: Sensors, Accelerometer, Structure, Profilometer, Capacitive displacement sensor, Transducer, Sensor, Microelectromechanical systems


Advances in the development of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) have made possible the fabrication of cheap and small dimension accelerometers and gyroscopes, which are being used in many applications where the global positioning system (GPS) and the inertial navigation system (INS) integration is carried out, i.e., identifying track defects, terrestrial and pedestrian navigation, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), stabilization of many platforms, etc. Although these MEMS sensors are low-cost, they present different errors, which degrade the accuracy of the navigation systems in a short period of time. Therefore, a suitable modeling of these errors is necessary in order to minimize them and, consequently, improve the system performance. In this work, the most used techniques currently to analyze the stochastic errors that affect these sensors are shown and compared: we examine in detail the autocorrelation, the Allan variance (AV) and the power spectral density (PSD) techniques. Subsequently, an analysis and modeling of the inertial sensors, which combines autoregressive (AR) filters and wavelet de-noising, is also achieved. Since a low-cost INS (MEMS grade) presents error sources with short-term (high-frequency) and long-term (low-frequency) components, we introduce a method that compensates for these error terms by doing a complete analysis of Allan variance, wavelet de-nosing and the selection of the level of decomposition for a suitable combination between these techniques. Eventually, in order to assess the stochastic models obtained with these techniques, the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) of a loosely-coupled GPS/INS integration strategy is augmented with different states. Results show a comparison between the proposed method and the traditional sensor error models under GPS signal blockages using real data collected in urban roadways.

Concepts: Accelerometer, Dead reckoning, Estimation theory, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Autocorrelation, Inertial navigation system, Signal processing, Global Positioning System


The newly proposed in-plane resonant nano-electro-mechanical (IP R-NEM) sensor, that includes a doubly clamped suspended beam and two side electrodes, achieved a mass sensitivity of less than zepto g/Hz based on analytical and numerical analyses. The high frequency characterization and numerical/analytical studies of the fabricated sensor show that the high vacuum measurement environment will ease the resonance detection using the capacitance detection technique if only the thermoelsatic damping plays a dominant role for the total quality factor of the sensor. The usage of the intrinsic junction-less field-effect-transistor (JL FET) for the resonance detection of the sensor provides a more practical detection method for this sensor. As the second proposed sensor, the introduction of the monolithically integrated in-plane MOSFET with the suspended beam provides another solution for the ease of resonance frequency detection with similar operation to the junction-less transistor in the IP R-NEM sensor. The challenging fabrication technology for the in-plane resonant suspended gate field-effect-transistor (IP RSG-FET) sensor results in some post processing and simulation steps to fully explore and improve the direct current (DC) characteristics of the sensor for the consequent high frequency measurement. The results of modeling and characterization in this research provide a realistic guideline for these potential ultra-sensitive NEM sensors.

Concepts: Transistor, Electronics terms, Optical cavity, Q factor, Damping, RLC circuit, Harmonic oscillator, Resonance


The Chinese BeiDou system (BDS), having different types of satellites, is an important addition to the ever growing system of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). It consists of Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, Inclined Geosynchronous Satellite Orbit (IGSO) satellites and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites. This paper investigates the receiver-dependent bias between these satellite types, for which we coined the name “inter-satellite-type bias” (ISTB), and its impact on mixed receiver attitude determination. Assuming different receiver types may have different delays/biases for different satellite types, we model the differential ISTBs among three BeiDou satellite types and investigate their existence and their impact on mixed receiver attitude determination. Our analyses using the real data sets from Curtin’s GNSS array consisting of different types of BeiDou enabled receivers and series of zero-baseline experiments with BeiDou-enabled receivers reveal the existence of non-zero ISTBs between different BeiDou satellite types. We then analyse the impact of these biases on BeiDou-only attitude determination using the constrained (C-)LAMBDA method, which exploits the knowledge of baseline length. Results demonstrate that these biases could seriously affect the integer ambiguity resolution for attitude determination using mixed receiver types and that a priori correction of these biases will dramatically improve the success rate.

Concepts: Earth orbits, Global navigation satellite system, Communications satellite, Satellite navigation systems, Low Earth orbit, Geostationary orbit, Geosynchronous orbit, Satellite