TECHNICAL NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0284.v2
Online: 16 January 2023 (01:57:00 CET)
Fusion device and its structure may be designed by various means. Two of most popular are; weight basis (described in previous study by author) and energy basis. In present research, later method is explored and described. Energy basis is based on amount of energy released from device upon detonation followed by explosion. Its beneficial in a sense that device size can be kept as independent variable as compared to dependent in former case. Further, it shortens the design procedure. For example, heat transfer pattern in such approach directly helps in quantifying wall thickness which dictates material, fabrication, and manufacturing route. It may also eliminate anisotropy as wall thickness is direct function of amount of heat at which it will rupture and can be much thinner. Device geometry can also be flexibility controlled as it is no longer dependent on pay load bay capacity. This allows more freedom in designing subsystems (compartments, their locations, focusing, switches, and mixers). Such devices can be more compact and simpler. Few such design configurations are proposed.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0083.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: Focus group discussion; sustainability; renewable energy development; Indonesia; geothermal
Online: 5 October 2020 (12:17:09 CEST)
The study describes in this paper uses direct evidence from processes applied for the developing economy of Indonesia, as it defines the trajectory for its future energy policy and energy research agenda. The paper makes explicit the process undertaken by key stakeholders in assessing and determining the suitability, feasibility and dynamics of the renewable energy sector. Barriers and enablers that key in selecting the most suitable renewable energy sources for developing economies for the renewable energy development have been identified from extensive analyses of research documents alongside qualitative data from the focus group discussions (FGD). The selected FGD participants encompass the collective views that cut across the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental aspects of renewable energy development in Indonesia. The information gained from the FGD gives insights to the outlook and challenges that are central to energy transition within the country, alongside the perceptions of renewable energy development from the influential stakeholders contributing to the process. It is notable that the biggest barriers to transition are centred on planning and implementation aspects, as it is also evident that many in the community do not adhere to the same vision.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201611.0057.v1
Subject: Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering Keywords: multi-focus image, image fusion, region mosaic, contrast pyramid
Online: 10 November 2016 (07:34:22 CET)
This paper proposes a new approach for multi-focus images fusion based on Region Mosaicing on Contrast Pyramids (REMCP). A density-based region growing method is developed to construct a focused region mask for multi-focus images. The segmented focused region mask is decomposed into a mask pyramid, which is then used for supervised region mosaicking on a contrast pyramid. In this way, the focus measurement and the continuity of focused regions are incorporated and the pixel level pyramid fusion is improved at the region level. Objective and subjective experiments show that the proposed REMCP is more robust to noise than compared algorithms and can fully preserves the focus information of the multi-focus images meanwhile reducing distortions of the fused images.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0112.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: woody biomass; Northern Great Plains; farmers and ranchers; focus groups
Online: 6 October 2018 (08:56:18 CEST)
Bioenergy produced from perennial feedstocks such as woody biomass could serve as an opportunity to strengthen local and regional economies and also jointly produce various environmental services. In order to assess the potential for biomass- based bioenergy, it’s essential to characterize the interest that potential biomass suppliers have in such an endeavor. In the U.S. Great Plains region, this largely means assessing relevant perceptions of farmers and ranchers. We conducted a series of farmer and rancher oriented focus groups in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas to qualitatively explore opinions about the role that trees can play in agriculture and interest in woody biomass systems within existing Northern Great Plains (NGP) farms and ranches. Our findings suggest that farmer and ranchers generally value the role that trees, or tree-based practices like windbreaks can play in agriculture particularly on marginal farmland in terms of conservation or crop protection. Yet relative to the potential of trees as a biomass crop there is a distinct lack of knowledge and skepticism. Farmers and ranchers also noted variable degrees of risk concern and uncertainty regarding investing in tree-based systems, as well as a number of perceived external market related constraints to integrating trees within their managed systems. Most of the participants recognized that if biomass production or an increase in tree planting and management in general were to expand in the NGP region, government programs would likely be required to provide much needed technical guidance and financial incentives. As the NGP regional bioeconomy continues to emerge and expand, private and public investment relative to niche bioenergy feedstocks such as woody biomass should address the type of information needs that farmers and ranchers have relative to integrating biomass production into existing farm and ranch systems.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0366.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: onchocerciasis; community directed treatment with ivermectin; elimination; epilepsy; focus group discussions; misconceptions
Online: 25 July 2022 (09:27:22 CEST)
Despite of over 20 years of community directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI), a high prevalence of onchocerciasis and onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy were observed in rural villages in Mahenge, Tanzania. Therefore, we assessed the knowledge, attitude and practice about onchocerciasis in four rural villages in the Mahenge area. This was a qualitative study conducted between June and July 2019. Eleven focus group discussions were organized with persons with epilepsy and their caretakers, community resource persons, and community drug distributors (CDDs), and two in-depth interviews with district programme coordinators of neglected tropical diseases (NTD). Most participants were aware about symptoms of onchocerciasis using local terminologies such as “ukurutu/rough dry skin” and “kuwashwa/itching”. A small proportion of people did not take ivermectin during CDTI for fear of adverse reactions such as itching and swelling. Some men believed that ivermectin may decrease libido. Challenges for high CDTI coverage included, long walking distance by CDDs to deliver drugs to households, persons being away for farming, low awareness of the disease and limited supervision by the NTD coordinators. In conclusion, ivermectin uptake in Mahenge should be optimised by continuous advocacy about the importance of taking ivermectin to prevent onchocerciasis-associated morbidity and by improving supervision during CDTI.
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: Sugars; Sweeteners; Sweet Taste; Sweetness; Attitudes; Focus Groups; Qualitative Research; Thematic Analysis
Online: 25 March 2021 (17:14:44 CET)
Worldwide initiatives currently aim to reduce free sugar intakes, but success will depend on consumer attitudes towards sugar and the alternatives. This work aimed to explore attitudes towards sugar, sweeteners and sweet-tasting foods in the general public of the UK, including attitudes towards personal consumption and related policies. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 34 adults (7 males, ages: 18-65 years). Thematic analysis identified six themes: ‘Value’ (e.g. pleasure, emotions), ‘Angle’ (e.g. disinterest), ‘Personal Relevance’ (to be concerned and/or change one’s own behaviour), ‘Personal Responsibility’ (one has an active relationship with these food items), ‘Understanding’ (the acquisition, comprehension and application of information surrounding these food items) and ‘It’s Not Up to Me’ (a passive approach towards these food items, because intake is subjected to other factors). Both positive and negative attitudes towards sugar, sweeteners and sweet-tasting foods were expressed in all themes, largely dependent on the individual. Potential strategies for reducing free sugar intakes were also reported, but differences in likely value were suggested by different individuals. Future work should assess associations between attitudes and intakes. For greatest population benefit, evidence of the dominant attitudes in those in greatest need of reduced free sugar intakes would be of value.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0043.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: cryo-electron microscopy; air-water interface; conformational heterogeneity; focus gradient; radiation damage
Online: 3 May 2018 (11:08:20 CEST)
With forty years of developments, bio-macromolecule cryo-electron microscopy has met its revolution of resolution and is playing a very important role in structural biology study. According to different specimen states, cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) involves three specific techniques, single particle analysis (SPA), electron tomography and sub-tomogram averaging, and electron diffraction. All these three techniques have not realized their full potentials of solving structures of bio-macromolecules and therefore need to be developed in the future. In this review, the current existing bottlenecks of cryo-EM SPA are discussed with theoretical analysis, which includes air-water interface during specimen cryo-vitrification, bio-macromolecular conformational heterogeneity, focus gradient within thick specimen, and electron radiation damage. Besides, potential solutions of these bottlenecks are proposed and discussed, which are worthy of further investigations in the future.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201710.0093.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: SAR image; Visual attention model; Texture Saliency; Feature map; Focus of attention
Online: 13 October 2017 (17:08:14 CEST)
Targets detection in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing images, which is a fundamental but challenging problem in the field of satellite image analysis, plays an important role for a wide range of applications and is receiving significant attention in recent years. Besides, the ability of human visual system to detect visual saliency is extraordinarily fast and reliable. However, computational modeling of SAR image scene still remains a challenge. This paper analyzes the defects and shortcomings of traditional visual models applied to SAR images. Then a visual attention model designed for SAR images is proposed. The model draws the basic framework of classical ITTI model; selects and extracts the texture features and other features that can describe the SAR image better. We proposes a new algorithm for computing the local texture saliency of the input image, then the model constructs the corresponding saliency maps of features; Next, a new mechanism of feature fusion is adopted to replace the linear additive mechanism of classical models to obtain the overall saliency map; Finally, the gray-scale characteristics of focus of attention (FOA) in saliency map of all features are taken into account, our model choose the best saliency representation, Through the multi-scale competition strategy, the filter and threshold segmentation of the saliency maps can be used to select the salient regions accurately, thereby completing this operation for the visual saliency detection in SAR images. In the paper, several types of satellite image data, such as TerraSAR-X (TS-X), Radarsat-2, are used to evaluate the performance of visual models. The results show that our model provides superior performance compared with classical visual models. By further contrasting with the classical visual models, Our model reduce the false alarm caused by speckle noise, and its detection speed is greatly improved, and it is increased by 25% to 45%.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0073.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Dentistry Keywords: focus group; patient reported outcome measures; oral health; education; COVID-19; dental problem
Online: 4 March 2022 (07:08:57 CET)
This study reports results of focus groups with school nurses and teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools to explore their perceptions of child and adolescent oral health. Participants included 14 school nurses and 15 teachers (83% Female; 31% Hispanic, 21% White, 21% Asian, 14% African American, and 13% Others). Respondents were recruited from Los Angeles County schools and scheduled by school level for six one-hour focus groups, using Zoom. Audio recordings were transcribed, reviewed, and saved with anonymization of speaker identities. NVivo software was used to facilitate content analysis and identify key themes. The nurses’ rate of “Oral Health Education” comments statistically exceeded that of teachers, while teachers had higher rates for “Parental Involvement” and “Mutual Perception” “Need for Care” was perceived to be more prevalent in immigrants to the United States based on student behaviors and complaints. “Access to Care” was seen as primarily the nurse’s role. Strong relationships between community clinics and schools were viewed by some as integral to students achieving good oral health. The results suggest dimensions and questions important to item development for oral health surveys of children and parents to address screening, management, program assessment, and policy planning.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0568.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Algebra & Number Theory Keywords: Convolutional Neural Network; Lane tracking; Optical Flow; Focus of Expansion; Time to Collision
Online: 24 May 2021 (13:03:33 CEST)
Autonomous systems require identifying the environment and it has a long way to go before putting it safely into practice. In autonomous driving systems, the detection of obstacles and traffic lights are of importance as well as lane tracking. In this study, an autonomous driving system is developed and tested in the experimental environment designed for this purpose. In this system, a model vehicle having a camera is used to trace the lanes and avoid obstacles to experimentally study autonomous driving behavior. Convolutional Neural Network models were trained for Lane tracking. For the vehicle to avoid obstacles, corner detection, optical flow, focus of expansion, time to collision, balance calculation, and decision mechanism were created, respectively.
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: disaster management; virtual operation support teams; privacy; data retention; hyperloglog; focus group discussion
Online: 1 October 2020 (13:58:16 CEST)
Social media data is heavily used to analyze and evaluate situations in times of disasters, and derive decisions for action from it. A cruicial part of the analysis is to avoid unnecessary data retention during that process, in order to prevent subsequent abuse, theft or public exposure of collected datasets and thus, protect the privacy of social media users. There are a number of technical approaches out to face the problem. One of them is using a cardinality estimation algorithm called HyperLogLog to store data in a privacy-aware structure, that can not be used for purposes other than the originally intended. In this case study, we developed and conducted a focus group discussion with teams of social media analysts, in which we identified challenges and opportunities of working with such a privacy-enhanced social media data structure in place of conventional techniques. Our findings show that, with the exception of training scenarios, deploying HyperLogLog in the data acquisiton process will not distract the data analysis process. Instead, it will improve working with huge datasets due to the improved characteristics of the resulting data structure.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201709.0093.v1
Subject: Materials Science, Surfaces, Coatings & Films Keywords: CAD/CAM implant abutments; zirconia; surface roughness; soft tissue adhesion; focus variation microscopy
Online: 20 September 2017 (05:28:24 CEST)
Objective: CAD/CAM generated ceramic implant abutments have recently attracted interest due to their superior customization possibilities and aesthetic advantages. Despite their widespread clinical use, little information is currently available on their surface topography, however. The transmucosal portion of the abutment shoulder is of particular interest, as it ideally supports soft tissue but minimizes mechanical plaque retention. The aim of this in vitro study was to topographically characterize the trans- and subgingival roughness of CAD/CAM zirconia abutments from different manufacturers and compare them with zirconia stock abutments. Material and Method: The surface topography of eight CAD/CAM zirconia implant abutments (tests) and two prefabricated zirconia stock abutments (controls) was determined using focus variation microscopy. Two points on the abutment shoulder were subjected to profilometric examination. 2D and 3D parameters of roughness were obtained and compared. Results: The surface roughness of all the test abutments exceeded the recommended threshold of Ra = 0.2 µm and therefore exhibited an increased risk of mechanical plaque retention. Obvious differences in surface structure were apparent, allowing conclusions to be drawn about the manufacturing method and subsequent reworking processes. Conclusion: Manually reworking the trans- and submucosal area of the investigated CAD/CAM zirconia abutments appears necessary to fulfil the conditions for optimal surface topography. The Sa value as arithmetic mean, taking the maximum height (Sz value) and surface excess (Sdr) into account, is an essential parameter for assessing the surface topography of implant abutments.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0423.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Ophthalmology Keywords: mix-and-match; extended-depth-of-focus intraocular lens; diffractive multifocal intraocular lens; stereopsis
Online: 24 April 2020 (03:30:03 CEST)
Purpose: To evaluate clinical outcomes after bilateral mix-and-match cataract surgery using extended depth of focus (EDOF) and diffractive multifocal (DMF) intraocular lenses (IOLs). Methods: Thirty-seven patients received Tecnis Symfony EDOF IOL (ZXR00) implantation in the dominant eye, and Tecnis +3.25 DMF IOL (ZLB00) in the non-dominant eye. Patients were followed for 3 months, and uncorrected and corrected distance visual acuity (UDVA, CDVA) , uncorrected intermediate and near visual acuity (UIVA, UNVA), contrast sensitivity, defocus curves, stereopsis, and patient satisfaction were assessed. Results: At 3 months, mean logMAR UDVA was 0.07 ± 0.09 in EDOF IOL eyes, 0.12 ± 0.11 in DMF IOL eyes, and 0.02 ± 0.05 in both eyes. UIVA was 0.11 ± 0.11 in EDOF IOL eyes, 0.16 ± 0.12 in DMF IOL eyes, and 0.04 ± 0.07 in both eyes. UNVA was 0.25 ± 0.15 in EDOF IOL eyes, 0.22 ± 0.16 in DMF IOL eyes, and 0.13 ± 0.13 in both eyes. Thirty patients(81.1%) were more than satisfied with near vision, and 8 patients(21.6%) complained of severe glare and halo. Spectacle independence for near vision was achieved in 34 patients(91.9%), and 31 patients(83.8%) had better than a 50 second arc of stereopsis. Conclusion: Mix-and-match cataract surgery with EDOF and DMF IOL implantation provided good visual outcomes through all distances. Also excellent patient satisfaction was achieved with high level of spectacle independence and minimal photic phenomena.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0031.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: user centred design; air pollution exposure campaign; report to participants; communication; focus group; design thinking
Online: 4 November 2021 (15:18:43 CET)
Using low-cost portable air quality (AQ) monitoring devices is a growing trend in personal exposure studies enabling a higher spatio-temporal resolution and identifying acute exposure to high concentrations. Comprehension of results by participants is not guaranteed in exposure studies. However, information on personal exposure is multiplex, which calls for participant involvement in information design to maximise communication output and comprehension. This study describes and proposes a model of a user centred design (UCD) approach for preparing a final report for participants involved in a multi-sensor personal exposure monitoring study performed in seven cities within the EU Horizon 2020 ICARUS project. Using a combination of human-centred design (HCD), human-information interaction (HII) and design thinking approaches, we iteratively included participants in the framing and design of the final report. User needs were mapped using a survey (n=82), and feedback on the draft report was obtained from a focus group (n=5). User requirements were assessed and validated using a post-campaign survey (n=31). The UCD research was conducted amongst participants in Ljubljana, Slovenia and the results report was distributed among the participating cities across Europe. The feedback received made it clear that the final report was well-received and helped participants better understand the influence of individual behaviours on personal exposure to air pollution.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0251.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Marketing Keywords: sustainable wine tourism; territorial marketing; wine marketing challenge; wine farm marketing; focus Group; multidimensional analysis
Online: 16 April 2020 (05:18:49 CEST)
This study measures the communication ability of wineries in two extreme territories of Southern Italy, Mount Etna and the island of Pantelleria. The evaluation of four dimensions of web communication was carried out by the AGIL Scheme (i.e. adaptation, goal-attainment, integration, latent pattern maintenance). The study provides a generalizable model to be applied in other similar studies. Also, focus groups of experts were carried out. The method proved to be suitable to measure the communication effectiveness of wineries through websites. Extreme territories may add value to the wine, regardless of the brand. The heroic wines may become the symbol of these territories helping environmental safeguard and contrasting territory abandonment by rural communities. The findings highlight that effective communication of heroic viticulture may be used to reposition these wines and increase their competitive advantage in foreign markets. The study generates new ideas for reflection on new types of web communication.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0399.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Applied Psychology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; mass testing; social isolation; social distancing; mental health; students; focus groups; qualitative
Online: 20 January 2021 (13:03:57 CET)
We aimed to explore university students’ perceptions and experiences of SARS-CoV-2 mass asymptomatic testing, social distancing and self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This qualitative study comprised of four rapid online focus groups conducted at a higher education institution in England during high alert (tier 2) national COVID-19 restrictions. Data were analysed thematically. Participants were purposively sampled university students (n = 25) representing a range of gender, age, living circumstances (on/off campus) and SARS-CoV-2 testing/self-isolation experiences. Six themes with 16 sub-themes emerged from the analysis of the qualitative data: ‘Term-time Experiences’, ‘Risk Perception and Worry’, ‘Engagement in Protective Behaviours’, ‘Openness to Testing’, ‘Barriers to Testing’ and ‘General Wellbeing’. Students described feeling safe on campus, believed most of their peers are adherent to protective behaviours and were positive towards asymptomatic testing in university settings. University communications about COVID-19 testing and social behaviours need to be timely and presented in a more inclusive way to reach groups of students who currently feel marginalised. Barriers to engagement with SARS-CoV-2 testing, social distancing and self-isolation were primarily associated with fear of the mental health impacts of self-isolation, including worry about how they will cope, high anxiety, low mood, guilt relating to impact on others and loneliness. Loneliness in students could be mitigated through increased intra-university communications and a focus on establishment of low COVID-risk social activities to help students build and enhance their social support networks. These findings are particularly pertinent in the context of mass asymptomatic testing programmes being implemented in educational settings and high numbers of students being required to self-isolate. Universities need to determine the support needs of students during self-isolation and prepare for the long-term impacts of the pandemic on student mental health and welfare support services.