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Seeing is Believing: Mikrotron Camera Used in Developing Pupil Tracking Device for Eye Research

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

  • January 24, 2023
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Seeing is Believing: Mikrotron Camera Used in Developing Pupil Tracking Device for Eye Research
Seeing is Believing: Mikrotron Camera Used in Developing Pupil Tracking Device for Eye Research

Jan. 24, 2023 – The human eye is in constant involuntary movement even when it is fixating on a target. When involuntary eye movement goes to the extreme in amplitude and angular speed, it is a medical condition referred to as nystagmus. Nystagmus is most commonly caused by a neurological problem present at birth or develops in early childhood. Acquired nystagmus, which occurs later in life, can be the symptom of another condition or disease.
 
Nystagmus presents a number of problems for doctors using ophthalmoscopy to diagnose and monitor eye diseases including glaucoma, diabetes, and high blood pressure, or in evaluating symptoms of retinal detachment. Nystagmus can introduce substantial blur in ophthalmoscope images and distortion in scanning ophthalmoscope images, making the detection of eye disease challenging. Blur and distortion are particularly problematic in adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy, due to its high magnification and small fields of view.

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Pupil tracker optical setup showing Mikrotron camera, interferometric band-pass filter, and achromatic doublets (L1 to L3 ). Camera is tilted relative to the optical axis to compensate for the 45° object plane tilt which facilitates integration with ophthalmoscopes or other devices (Courtesy of Stanford University).

Researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology at Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA) have developed a low-latency monocular pupil tracker using hybrid FPGA-CPU computing. They found that by overlapping the image processing in a pixel stream downloaded from a high-resolution camera, as opposed to the more conventional approach in which images are fully downloaded before processing starts, they could reduce latency and therefore, image blur in ophthalmoscope images. High precision and low latency make their device suitable for retinal imaging, retinal functional testing, retinal laser treatment and refractive surgery that require real-time eye movement compensation.
 
The pupil tracker was built with off-the-shelf components with the aim being at improving both its performance and cost. It consists of an optical system with infrared illumination that relays the pupil of the eye onto a Mikroton CMOS camera connected to an FPGA in a computer with a powerful CPU. Two 940 nm light-emitting diodes are positioned to the left and right of the lens closest to the eye. The use of two LEDs, rather than one, spreads the retinal irradiance across two areas with their centers separated by approximately 25° of visual angle, providing better light safety than using a single LED.

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Raw pupil images (linear intensity scale) captured on the same subject using different camera gains and the corresponding binary images after thresholding. The annotations show the edges identified for ellipse fitting (green), and those discarded by the median linear fit (red) and the clustering (yellow) (Courtesy of Stanford University).

Specifically, the pupil tracker was evaluated with a Mikroton EoSens 3CL camera with extended-full configuration CameraLink interfaces when capturing 8-bit depth images to achieve the maximum download data rate that this interface allows. The compact EoSens 3CL camera’s maximum resolution is 1696 × 1710 pixels at a frame rate of 285 fps. The integrated and adjustable region of interest function enables operation at 628 fps with 1280 × 1024-pixel resolution, 893 fps at 1280 × 720, and 816 fps at 1000 × 1000. It achieves stepless adjustable frame rates of up to 285,000 fps at reduced resolution.
 
Three optical setups were used in testing with an approximate 18 mm square field of view tilted 45° with respect to the optical axis, and correspondingly tilted image plane. The third experimental approach used the Mikrotron setup to capture 210×284 pixel images with 0.18 ms exposure at 5400 frames/s. Raw pixel values of the camera were downloaded to a reconfigurable frame grabber featuring a Kintex-7 325T FPGA that was custom programmed using the LabVIEW FPGA module and the Vivado Design Suite. The frame grabber was installed in a PCIe slot of a computer with an Intel i7-6850K CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU. Raw images underwent background subtraction, field-flattening, 1-dimensional low-pass filtering, thresholding, and robust pupil edge detection on an FPGA pixel stream, followed by least-squares fitting of the pupil edge pixel coordinates to an ellipse in the CPU.
 
Pupil tracking was successfully demonstrated in a normal fixating subject at 575, 1250, and 5400 frames per second. According to the study, the approach seems well suited for tracking the pupil with precision comparable to or better than that of current pupil trackers. High precision and low latency make the device suitable for applications that require real-time eye movement compensation such as retinal imaging, retinal functional testing, retinal laser treatment and refractive surgery.
 
The project was funded by Research to Prevent Blindness and National Eye Institute. 

1. Bartlomiej Kowalski, Xiaojing Huang, Samuel Steven, and Alfredo Dubra, “Hybrid FPGA-CPU pupil tracker,” Biomed. Opt. Express 12, 6496-6513 (2021) 

About Mikrotron GmbH

Mikrotron GmbH, established in 1976 and located just outside Munich, Germany, provides a full range of high-end imaging solutions for challenging applications in industry, engineering, science and sports. The company designs, produces, and commercializes high-speed and high-resolution cameras, image recording cameras and systems, software and image processing components. Mikrotron’s slow-motion recording enables customers to optimize manufacturing processes, improve product design, revolutionize quality management and analyze motion. Mikrotron is ISO:9001 certified. Mikrotron is operated under the umbrella of SVS-Vistek.


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Oakmont welcomes EV charging stations

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

image

First came the goats, eating their way toward clearing out unwanted vegetation in Oakmont.

“That was very popular,” assistant borough manager Phyllis Anderson said. “They brought the community together. I had no idea that was going to happen.”

During the summer, quite a few local residents visited the banks of the Allegheny River to see nannies and billies munch on plants that otherwise would be eliminated through the use of herbicides.

“Not an option,” Anderson asserted.

Oakmont’s latest action with regard to sustainability may not have the mass appeal of a furry, cute Capra hircus, but it provides a vital resource for people who are shifting away from burning fossil fuels.

The installation of three dual-port charging stations for electric vehicles began Jan. 23, taking up seven of the 57 spaces — the port for people with disabilities requires two spaces — in Riverside Park’s Third Street lot.

“We did a tour of the town to see where the best place would be for the initial charging stations,” Anderson said, with locations near the municipal building on Fifth Avenue also receiving consideration.

Partnering with the borough on the project is Duquesne Light Co., which offers a Community Charging Program through which representatives of the utility company design and build the electrical infrastructure.

Oakmont received a state Driving PA Forward grant to help offset the cost, based on an application written by borough council member Jamie Leonardi. Estimates presented at an October council meeting, when elected officials approved moving forward with the project, placed the price tag at about $77,000.

As far as potential use of the ports, Anderson reported that as of the start of last year, nearly 50,000 electric vehicles were registered in Pennsylvania, with more than 10% located in Allegheny and Beaver counties. She also cited a 2021 Pew Research study concluding that nearly 40% of consumers are likely to give strong consideration to electric when purchasing or leasing their next vehicles.

Oakmont is a longtime participant in the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program, with designation as a Certified Silver Community in recognition of its policies and practices. Borough officials are “planning to elevate Oakmont’s sustainability efforts to the platinum status,” according to the municipal website, and have adopted a sustainability plan to reach the goal.

Projects on which Anderson is working include replacing incandescent bulbs with light-emitting diodes, through another program offered by Duquesne, and working with the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors to place panels on homes and other buildings. Other efforts are in the areas of leaf and food composting, she said, along with possibilities of rain gardens and a community garden in the borough.

And yes, the grazing goats will return, toward the end of spring. In the meantime, Oakmont residents have contributed to their cuisine by donating post-Halloween pumpkins — “gourds for goats”— to Capricious LLC, the company that provides and manages the animals.

“We collected 14 truckloads of pumpkins,” Anderson said. “When the owners would bring the pumpkins back, the goats were all excited, because they’re delicacies.”

She described a similar collection of after-holiday Christmas trees as netting 10 truckloads’ worth.

“The community really came together,” she said. “Anytime I put a request out to support something for the goats, it’s overwhelmingly popular.”

An example took place when they were scheduled to return home for the season.

“We had a going-away party for them, and we invited the Riverview High School band and cheerleaders to come. We made an announcement the day before, and over 150 people showed up,” Anderson said. “We got 100 cookies from the bakery with pictures of goats on them to pass out. So cute.”

She was encouraged by Patricia Friday, a former president of borough council, to work on behalf of sustainability. And the current president, Lindsay Osterhout, asked Anderson to pursue Duquesne’s charging-station program for Oakmont.

As someone who looks to “leave the world in a better place than I found it,” Anderson is happy to forge ahead.

“It’s for the greater good of the community,” she said. “Everybody is going to benefit from it.”

Harry Funk is a Tribune-Review news editor. You can contact Harry at hfunk@triblive.com.

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Beijing has filled Britain's homes with gadgets that China can use to spy on us 

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

Televisions, smart meters, fridges, doorbells… and even light bulbs: The very real fears Beijing has filled Britain’s homes with gadgets that China can use to spy on us

Last summer, the grand opening of the newest outlet in London‘s Westfield shopping centre was quite an event. Hundreds of people applauded the cutting of an orange ribbon and a queue of shoppers snaked around the block.

An orange double-decker bus toured London promoting the latest, orange-liveried addition to the sprawling temple of consumerism in Shepherd’s Bush.

So which retail giant was generating such a fuss? The answer is one you’ve probably never heard of. Nestled among big-name brands such as Guess, Pull & Bear and Currys PC World was the UK flagship store of Xiaomi.

The Chinese electronics company is intent on creating a ‘smart home’ for everyone, with a burgeoning range of devices connected to, and controlled by, smartphones and computers.

Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, speaks at a launch ceremony of Xiaomi Phone 2 in Beijing in this August 16, 2012 file photo

Lei Jun, founder and CEO of Xiaomi, speaks at a launch ceremony of Xiaomi Phone 2 in Beijing in this August 16, 2012 file photo

With Westfield — and similar malls up and down the country — crowded with shoppers snapping up TVs, sound systems and smartphones in the January sales, it’s time to take note of what such technology can do.

Xiaomi is one of a number of Chinese companies whose devices are commonly found in UK homes. But what innocent buyers don’t know is that, as well as providing entertainment, they are capable of tracking our behaviour.

Most of us find it alarming enough that internet service providers know what we buy and which websites we visit, yet we seem happy to give up this kind of personal data in return for the right to trawl through social media and buy goods online.

But what happens when our online lives are being monitored not by a company for marketing gain but by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), whose interest could be considerably more suspect?

This is a danger that increasingly concerns privacy campaigners as well as security experts. Yesterday the Government was warned that Chinese ‘Trojan Horse’ technology posed a ‘wide-ranging’ threat to the UK in a report by Ooda, a Washington-based security consultancy. Microchips embedded in Chinese-made cars, domestic appliances and even light bulbs can be ‘weaponised’ to spy on millions of people in Britain.

Earlier this month, the Government’s own surveillance watchdog, Professor Fraser Sampson, raised the alarm about the ‘digital asbestos’ of Chinese technology, as it emerged that more than a third of police forces in the UK are using CCTV cameras, drones and other technology from companies with close links to the CCP.

Beijing monitors the lives of its own citizens through electronic goods connected to the internet, such as TVs and smartphones.

What is to stop China doing the same to British householders?

Kayla Blomquist, director of the research institute Oxford China Policy Lab, warns that consumers are ‘unaware of potential privacy risks posed’ by Chinese smart home devices. ‘It is highly challenging, if not impossible, to distinguish between careless programming and purposeful backdoor [snooping] . . . for planned cyberattacks,’ she says.

And harvesting millions of customers’ data can reveal behavioural insights and political leanings that could open up ‘opportunities to interfere in domestic political processes’ such as ‘sophisticated online disinformation campaigns’.

Beijing monitors the lives of its own citizens through electronic goods connected to the internet, such as TVs and smartphones

Beijing monitors the lives of its own citizens through electronic goods connected to the internet, such as TVs and smartphones

Vahri Fotheringham, of the International Cyber Policy Centre, goes even further: ‘Data from smart devices in our homes can be aggregated with other public data to . . . orchestrate seemingly benign situations ripe for extortion, leverage, coercion and recruitment.’

He warns that data from UK citizens could be used by China to ‘manipulate opinions’ and gain economic insights ‘to undercut prices and solidify Chinese dominance in the technology sector of the UK’.

In fact, Chinese companies have already infiltrated many British homes. Last year, a Mail investigation revealed that 250,000 smart meters made by a company with links to the Chinese government have been installed in British homes — and now ministers are calling for them to be ripped out.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, himself the subject of Chinese sanctions for criticising Beijing over human rights, has raised the ‘nightmare’ prospect of the CCP shutting down power to hundreds of thousands of households through access to the meters’ remote power switch.

At least three major domestic energy suppliers have struck deals with the company supplying the meters, Kaifa Technology UK, which is controlled by a subsidiary of the state-owned China Electronics Corporation (CEC). The CEC was an exhibitor at Beijing’s major military exhibition Airshow China 2021, parading more than 100 products designed to assist in the state’s technological and security endeavours.

Nick Hunn, a director at WiFore Consulting, who gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry on smart meters, warned that the remote power switch in Kaifa meters presents a real threat because it could potentially black out homes, ‘destroying’ the National Grid.

Energy suppliers insist that meter manufacturers cannot access the switch.

The IoT can hook up devices such as fridges and ovens to the internet. It powers smart doorbells and internet routers, provides information for and about 'smart' cars and can remotely operate anything from lighting systems to kitchen devices

The IoT can hook up devices such as fridges and ovens to the internet. It powers smart doorbells and internet routers, provides information for and about ‘smart’ cars and can remotely operate anything from lighting systems to kitchen devices

But Mr Hunn says it ‘shows a frightening complacency if they think the system can’t be hacked’.

He adds that installing such technology ‘is handing a loaded gun to China’.

Michael Wu, the head of Kaifa UK, said the accusations were not ‘an honest reflection of our company’ but the result of an ‘adversarial political narrative’.

Both Energy UK and the Government stressed that all smart meters operating in Britain were subject to ‘robust security standards’. But Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, warned in October that the way China deploys emerging technology could represent ‘a huge threat to us all’.

Central to this is China’s so-called National Intelligence Law, passed in 2017, making it mandatory for any Chinese firm to aid national intelligence-gathering, including through the collection of data on both foreign and domestic targets.

Most companies in China are either outright state-owned, have the CCP as a majority shareholder or are lavished with generous subsidies by government.

So whether encouraged by carrot or by stick, China’s technology firms all toe the party line. In China, smart TVs are routinely used as a mass surveillance tool by the CCP to spy on citizens.

Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper shut down after being raided by 500 police officers in June 2021, reported that the Chinese government ‘uses the Android operating system [of smart TVs] to achieve full domain coverage, full network sharing, round-the-clock and remote-controlled video surveillance for policing purposes’.

Code-named the ‘Sharp Eyes Project’, spyware is allegedly inserted into Chinese users’ smartphones and TV sets and ‘uploaded . . . to a government database for online monitoring’.

The paper quoted analysts saying that the Chinese Communist Party appeared to be implementing a nationwide surveillance network which included watching people in their own homes and monitoring their contacts and interactions. But could the same surveillance be happening here in Britain?

The UK has become ever more reliant on Chinese smart technology

The UK has become ever more reliant on Chinese smart technology

In 2021, the UK imported £63.6 billion worth of goods from China, according to the Office for National Statistics — and electronics was the biggest sector.

By using cameras, microphones, smart home devices and internet connections — all of which can be hacked to record and amass personal information without the user knowing — we have brought the surveillance threat from China straight into our living rooms.

Take Beijing-headquartered Xiaomi, for example, which is the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer, behind Apple and Samsung. In 2021 the U.S. banned Xiaomi, naming it as a company ‘owned or controlled’ by the People’s Liberation Army.

This followed a report by Forbes which revealed that Xiaomi was ‘recording millions of people’s ‘private’ web and phone use’.

Of course, it is the same company whose flagship ‘Mi’ store in Westfield White City was teeming with customers the moment it opened last summer.

Hardly surprising when its main product, smartphones, retail for as little as £99.

Many technology companies, including Western firms, harvest data from the devices they sell.

But a cybersecurity researcher, as part of the Forbes investigation, discovered a ‘worrying’ amount of data being taken from Xiaomi devices — which included his search-engine queries, pornography searches and the folders he opened, even when browsing in ‘incognito’ mode.

Xiaomi said the Forbes report ‘misrepresented the facts’ and that all data collection is by consent and anonymised.

The company took legal action against the U.S. government’s ban and denied having ties to China’s military, as had been previously alleged. As a consequence of this, the U.S. removed its ‘military-linked’ designation and allowed the company to continue trading.

Clearly, Xiaomi is trading legally in Britain, too, although — intriguingly — its privacy policy states that ‘in accordance with . . . requests from . . . government agencies, Xiaomi may need to disclose your personal information [if] the disclosure is necessary or appropriate for national security.’

Xiaomi said it complies with data protection legislation and would not provide ‘local law enforcement’ with data without ‘sufficient legal grounds’.

Quite what these might be remains unclear — and the technology certainly presents every opportunity for surveillance.

In the UK, telecommunications firm Huawei was eventually banned from Britain's 5G network in 2020, over fears about Huawei spying for the Chinese government

In the UK, telecommunications firm Huawei was eventually banned from Britain’s 5G network in 2020, over fears about Huawei spying for the Chinese government

Smart televisions, in particular, pose some of the greatest opportunities for backdoor snooping as many come with inbuilt ‘smart home’ voice-controlled functionality with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

They also allow social media access and internet browsing.

Many of the most popular TVs in the UK — which were no doubt bought as presents last Christmas — are ‘Made in China’.

TCL, headquartered in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, makes televisions that Currys sells from £149. Argos and Carphone Warehouse both sell TCL mobile phones from £79.

Many TVs from what shoppers believe are trusted heritage brands are actually Chinese.

Hisense — one of the World Cup sponsors — is an electronics conglomerate headquartered in Qingdao, Shandong Province.

Hisense-branded TVs are sold in Argos, which offers a 32in device complete with ‘voice control’ and ‘internet browser’, while the fashion site Very sells £179 versions with integrated streaming.

The company has acquired the right to make and sell televisions under the Japanese brand names Toshiba and Sharp, although Hisense says that while it heads global production and sales for Toshiba TVs, it manufactures neither Toshiba nor Sharp TVs for the UK market.

For its part, Toshiba says it complies with all data laws, while Sharp declined to comment.

A Hisense spokesman said that ‘Hisense UK is a wholly operated UK subsidiary, running for the last ten years’, that it was fully compliant with data laws, and ‘has not shared any data of its customers with the Chinese central government’.

Yet Hisense UK’s privacy policy says it shares data ‘within the Hisense group’, and its U.S. and Canadian policies state that ‘we may . . . transfer personal information we collect from you to the People’s Republic of China’.

Meanwhile, Haier, headquartered in China’s Shandong province, is one of the world’s largest white goods companies, selling everything from fridges and air conditioners to water purifiers and washing machines.

In 2017, Christopher Moore, a British software engineer, discovered a hidden function in OnePlus smartphone software that harvested data from its device and sent it back to OnePlus

In 2017, Christopher Moore, a British software engineer, discovered a hidden function in OnePlus smartphone software that harvested data from its device and sent it back to OnePlus

Its products are so popular that in the U.S. it offers a ‘Military Discount Program’ which it says ‘recognises our front-line American heroes who are working around the clock to keep us safe’.

In October, a report by the National Pulse news and investigations website in the U.S. raised concerns that Chinese-made smart televisions ‘in the homes of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and their families . . . could be collecting massive amounts of personal and technical data and transmitting it back to CCP affiliates in mainland China’.

Haier declined to comment.

Then there is BBK Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers, headquartered in Guangdong province. Its subsidiary, OnePlus, sells a range of premium smartphones in UK department stores and online.

In 2017, Christopher Moore, a British software engineer, discovered a hidden function in OnePlus software that harvested data from its device and sent it back to OnePlus.

In a distinctive pattern now seen in Chinese-manufactured electronics, Moore found that the discreet data-harvesting function appeared to be have been ‘built into’ the operating system when the device was made.

A OnePlus spokesman said the company had ‘made privacy protection a prerequisite for all products and services we provide’, and that it fully complies with all data protection laws. BBK Electronics declined to comment.

While consumers are dazzled by this influx of cheap new technology, cybersecurity experts are particularly concerned about China’s role in the wider ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), the vast network of smart devices which connect and share data with one another, processing commands via the internet.

The IoT can hook up devices such as fridges and ovens to the internet. It powers smart doorbells and internet routers, provides information for and about ‘smart’ cars and can remotely operate anything from lighting systems to kitchen devices.

The IoT’s global network also serves most of the world’s major industries, including logistics, agriculture, security, transport, manufacturing and military operations, as well as the supply chains that connect them all.

IoT is thus the ‘central nervous system’ of the global economy, and accessing it could lead to a devastating cyber attack.

At the heart of the IoT is a tiny device called the IoT module, a component responsible for connecting virtually anything to wireless networks.

And just three Chinese companies now control more than 50 per cent of the global markets for IoT modules.

Furthermore, they represent nearly 75 per cent of the connections made by these modules — which, according to analysts, means the West is becoming dangerously dependent on China’s technological capability in this area.

In the UK, telecommunications firm Huawei was eventually banned from Britain’s 5G network in 2020, over fears about Huawei spying for the Chinese government. Huawei said the ban was politically motivated and not based on a fair evaluation of the risks.

The UK, however, has become ever more reliant on Chinese smart technology. And while we look for High Street bargains this year, the danger is that they are primed to work against us for a sinister foreign power.

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County recommends more than 30 projects to mitigate climate-change impacts

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

image

ALBANY COUNTY — Albany County is counting the ways it’s threatened by climate change, and outlining the steps it can take to protect itself. 

In its draft climate-resiliency plan, the county details, in 270 pages,  20 long-term, large-scale projects it should undertake to protect its residents from the adverse effects of climate change, in addition to several smaller-scale projects. 

“The threats [of weather] are not new,” Albany County’s Economic Development and Sustainability Coordinator Luke Rogers said at a public-input meeting about the draft plan earlier this month. “It’s the frequency and severity that has increased over time, and we see that nationwide. We see it globally. There’s a lot we can do to fight climate change — we take seriously reducing our emissions — but that is really a regional, national, and global issue. 

“Arguably, on the resilience front, there’s even more that we can do to directly prepare the county to address and be ready for these climate threats when they do arise,” he said. 

 

Risks and assets

The threats mentioned by Rogers are primarily heat- and flood-related, in Albany County’s case, and the plan reveals the degree of risk that residents face through a highly detailed map that assigns parcels one of six descriptors, ranging from “minimal” risk to “extreme” risk. 

All the towns in the Enterprise coverage area appear to be mostly at “minor” risk — the second-lowest rank — but each has a significant area determined to be at moderate, major, or severe risk. The highest risk-areas in the county are within the city of Albany, and are predominantly along the bank of the Hudson River, but Coeymans has the greatest degree of risk over the largest area, with the entire town appearing to be at moderate risk or greater. 

These rankings compile subscores related to:

— The estimated chance of flooding and its severity as determined by First Street Foundation;

— The risk of heat as determined by the New York State Department of Health; and

— Social vulnerability in each parcel as indicated by data from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation and Energy Research and Development Authority, and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In The Enterprise coverage area, flooding is the highest risk to residents compared with heat, which is considered a minor risk everywhere except in Rensselaerville, in a portion of Guilderland, and in Voorheesville, where it’s a moderate risk. 

That same portion of Guilderland — slightly northeast of Voorheesville — the village of Altamont, and a bit of Westerlo and New Scotland are considered to be beyond the lowest score for social vulnerability, with all those areas except Altamont containing “major” vulnerability, the third-highest of five possible rankings. Altamont is considered “moderate.”

All areas within Albany County have at least a “minor” ranking to account for individual circumstances, the plan explains. 

Besides hurting people directly, the plan says, heat and particularly flooding can disrupt services critical to health, safety, and quality of life. So, while flooding may not be a risk in a particular parcel, it can still create danger for people by removing an important service. 

The plan indexes and maps all the various assets inside the county that it wants to protect, which fall into one of the following categories: housing, infrastructure systems, health and social services, national and cultural resources, and economic systems.

Fire departments in Rensselaerville, Guilderland, and New Scotland are at an “extreme” flood risk by 2050, meaning that there’s at least a 27 percent chance of these facilities being flooded by at least two feet of water in the next 30 years. Voorheesville Elementary School is also considered to be at an extreme risk of flooding. 

Two reservoirs in the Enterprise coverage area are at Also at extreme risk of flooding: the Watervliet Reservoir in Guilderland and the Vly Creek Reservoir in New Scotland.  

At “severe” risk of flooding are the Westerlo Rescue Squad building, the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society facility in Menands, and the Guilderland wastewater treatment plant.  

 

Projects

The 31 projects recommended within the plan are split into two tiers, with Tier 1 projects being those that are relatively easy to implement because of their scale and, in some cases, already partly finished. 

These projects are: 

— Inventory greenhouse gas emissions from county facilities and operations;

— Electrify county buildings;

— Electrify the county’s vehicle fleet;

— Install electric-vehicle charging stations on public properties;

— Pursue renewable energy generation on county property;

— Retrofit streetlights to light-emitting diodes;

— Participate in the Climate Smart Communities and Clean Energy Communities programs;

— Support the Nature Bus program, which takes urban residents to park locations, and other initiatives to expand access to public transit;

— Provide climate-risk data to the public and the development community;

— Conduct an energy-resilience study; and

— Conduct a communications and broadband resiliency study. 

Tier 2 projects are bigger and more complicated than those in Tier 1, the plan says, and may require cooperation between various municipalities and/or agencies. 

These projects are: 

— Increase county capacity to support resilience efforts;

— Create a Climate Justice Corps network;

— Purchase First Street Foundation’s Flood Factor data;

— Support municipal participation in the c0mmunity rating system for floodplain management run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency;

— Create a “Resilient Homes Program”;

— Build out the county’s network of rain and stream gauges;

— Conduct a county-wide culvert analysis; 

— Conduct a county-wide transportation vulnerability assessment;

— Increase resilience at municipal facilities;

— Plan for sea-level rise at the county’s north and south wastewater treatment plants;

— Increase resilience to extreme temperature events;

— Prepare for long-term and large-scale displacements;

— Expand the county-wide trail network;

— Create a “Green Streets Initiative”;

— Develop a county-wide open-space plan;

— Create a “Business Resiliency Program”;

— Develop a “Sustainable Albany” campaign;

— Create a network of demonstration projects;

— Advance the resiliency recommendations included in the County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan; and

— Create an “Agricultural Resiliency Program.”

 

Project specifics

The plan details specific steps the county should take for each project — some to a very high level — as well as potential funding sources. 

The climate justice corps project, for instance, involves seven actions: become a host community for a NYSERDA climate justice fellow; develop a list of climate-resiliency actions this fellow would work on, such as tree-planting or trail and open space maintenance; create a workforce training program that targets youth in vulnerable communities to develop skills necessary for other resiliency projects; create a guide for municipalities to start their own corps; find partner organizations; establish a corps-to-workforce pipeline; and identify renewable funding sources. 

Potential partners include Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Albany County Land Bank, the Stormwater Coalition of Albany County, and the Pine Bush Preserve, among many others, the plan says. 

The timeline to complete all actions for the justice corps is 10 years, the plan says, and would cost $40,000 up front to fund the climate fellow position. 

Funding might come from NYSERDA or the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the plan says. 

The resilient homes project, on the other hand, primarily involves outreach, though the plan suggests that the county develop a guide for homeowners to educate themselves on the benefits of “green infrastructure,” as well as financial and technical assistance.

Green infrastructure includes things like trees, cisterns, and porous surfaces that reduce the likelihood of flooding and erosion on a property.

Between developing a guide and conducting outreach, the plan estimates this project to take about five years to implement and would be kept up indefinitely from there. The estimated cost for the guide is $100,000, with funding possibly available from FEMA, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. 

The green-streets project is similar to the resilient-homes project in that it involves increasing the amount of green infrastructure, but in this case it would be along roadways and would be undertaken by governments rather than homeowners. Benefits go beyond climate resiliency, the plan says, extending into mental health, since studies have shown that sufficient tree cover can reduce stress. 

Steps include the county planting many, many trees — the plan offers 40,000 as a potential goal — in areas where trees are more scarce, and working with communities to raise awareness of this project while helping them connect to funding sources. No timeline or project up-front cost is provided in the draft plan, but potential funding sources include various state agencies as well as the federal Healthy Streets Program. 

To benefit rural areas, where agriculture is at risk because of flooding and heat, the plan encourages the county to follow through on its agricultural and farmland protection plan, which was last updated in 2018. 

Specifically, the draft resiliency plan says the county should establish a critical farm loan program to help would-be farmers buy up agricultural land that’s at risk of being used for non-agricultural purposes, such as residential development, and provide new farmers financial incentives to meet certain conservation goals. 

It also suggests that businesses that support farmland be recognized as “essential” to help sustain farm operations.

No timeline is provided, except that a task force should be established in the “near-term,” and the farmland protection plan is referred to for cost estimates. 

“A big part of being resilient is that we can have a local agricultural economy that in times of emergency could provide local food for our communities,” said Liz King, of Bergmann Associates, at the meeting.  

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Artificial Intelligence in Military Market Size Expected to Reach $ 17.63 Bn by 2028 |CAGR of 13.4% By Emergen Research.

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

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ODU has raised nearly $18M for its baseball stadium overhaul. Next step: Bringing it to life.

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

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NORFOLK — Old Dominion University has been fundraising for renovations to its baseball stadium for the past 11 months.

As of Friday, “nearly” $18 million of the $20 million needed for the renovations to and expansion of current Bud Metheny Ballpark has been collected, a press release from the school revealed.

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“We want this facility to be one that everyone in the community will be proud of,” ODU athletic director Wood Selig said in the release.”We want to give our coaches a facility that will help them recruit and our student-athletes a world-class training and competition venue.”

The revamped facility will be named the Ellmer Family Baseball Complex, thanks to a $2.5 million donation from local businessman Dennis Ellmer and his wife, Jan.

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Old Dominion’s fundraising goal may be $20 million, but is not letting that number cap its efforts.

“Once we get to $20 million, we’re not stopping,” said John Vellines, an ODU athletic development officer. “We need to continue to upgrade the complex in the future in order to compete with the Power Five schools that we recruit against. And we still don’t know the final price tag.”

The renovations come almost two years after Old Dominion was unable to host an NCAA Tournament regional because the stadium did not meet NCAA standards.

The stadium is expected to have new locker rooms, new offices, improved seating behind home plate and expanded concessions and bathrooms among other things.

Populous — a world renowned sports architecture firm — has been announced as the company that will design the renovations.

Populous will be working with a familiar partner in Virginia Beach architecture firm Moseley. The two firms were also partners on the $72 million renovations to ODU’s football stadium.

Monarchs baseball coach Chis Finwood considers the recent installation of new LED lights at the stadium the unofficial phase one of the renovations.

Installed last Tuesday, the lights aren’t technically part of the stadium renovations that are planned to be completed before the 2025 season.

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New LED lights are being installed at Bud Metheny Ballpark.

The new LED lighting system replaces the lights that have been in place since 1984 — the year after Bud Methney Ballpark opened.

“Our lighting system had long outlived its useful life,” Finwood said in a release. “To be honest, our lights were terrible. This is such a huge upgrade for us.”

The new lights were expected to be close to $900,000, but cost the school $650,000.

“I hate to say it’s like night and day because that’s a cliché, but it is,” Finwood said. “But there were times last season when I wondered if I needed glasses.”

Michael Sauls, michael.sauls@virginiamedia.com

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Spin transport measured through molecular films now long enough to develop spintronic devices

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

Spin transport measured through molecular films now long enough to develop spintronic devices!
A three-layered sample consisting of a ferromagnetic metal Ni-Fe alloy film, an αNPD molecular film, and a palladium (Pd) film, prepared by vacuum deposition. Using spin pumping driven by ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) in the Ni-Fe alloy thin film, a spin current generated from the Ni-Fe alloy film went through the αNPD film and passed to the Pd film. Credit: Eiji Shikoh, Osaka Metropolitan University

Information processing devices such as smartphones are becoming more sophisticated because their information-recording density constantly increases, thanks to advances in microfabrication technology. In recent years, however, we are rapidly approaching the physical limits to processing, making further miniaturization difficult. Perhaps, though, the continued demand for more sophisticated technology requires a fundamental change in operating principles, so that faster, smaller, new devices can continue to be made.

To meet this demand, a technology called spintronics—using the magnetic spin and the charge of electrons—is attracting attention as a key technology that could unlock the next generation of advanced electronics. By aligning the direction of a and moving it like an , it is possible to propagate information using very little power that generates less waste heat.

A research group, led by Professors Eiji Shikoh and Yoshio Teki of the Osaka Metropolitan University Graduate School of Engineering, has successfully measured spin , at , in a thin film of alpha-naphthyl diamine derivative (αNPD) molecules, a well-known material in organic light emitting diodes. This molecular thin film was found to have a spin diffusion length of approximately 62 nanometers, a distance that they expect can be used in practical applications.

To use spin transport to develop spintronics technology requires having a spin diffusion length in the tens of nanometer range at room temperature for accurate processing. The thin molecular film of αNPD with a spin diffusion length of 62 nanometers—a long distance for molecular materials—was fabricated for this study through thermal evaporation in vacuum. While electricity has been used to control spin transport in the past, this new thin αNPD molecular film is photoconductive, making it possible to control spin transport using visible light.

“For practical use, it will be necessary to uncover more details about spin injection and spin transport mechanisms through thin molecular films to control spin transport,” noted Professor Shikoh. “Further research is expected to lead to the realization of super energy-efficient devices that use small amounts of power and have little risk of overheating.”

The work is published in the journal Solid State Communications.

More information:
Yuichiro Onishi et al, Spin transport properties in a naphthyl diamine derivative film investigated by the spin pumping, Solid State Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ssc.2022.115035

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Citation:
Spin transport measured through molecular films now long enough to develop spintronic devices (2023, January 24)
retrieved 24 January 2023
from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-molecular-spintronic-devices.html

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Investor Elliott builds key stake in Japan's Dai Nippon Printing – sources

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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Jan 24 (Reuters) – Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp has built a “significant” stake in Japanese automotive battery component supplier Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd (DNP) (7912.T), sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Elliott, one of the world’s most powerful activist investors, has become one of the top three shareholders in DNP with a significant position, said the sources, who declined to be identified as the matter is private.

DNP, with a market value of 829 billion yen ($6.36 billion) is among hundreds of listed Japanese companies undervalued relative to their assets.

A DNP spokesperson said the company had confirmed Elliott’s investment late last year, but declined to comment on details.

The Financial Times, which first reported the news, said Elliott now holds a stake just under 5% worth $300 million.

Elliott declined to comment.

DNP dominates the market for metal masks for making organic light emitting diode (OLED) display screens for smartphones. The masks are used to coat light-emitting materials at precise locations on panels.

The company holds a majority share in the market for pouches to contain lithium-ion in electric vehicle batteries. It is also involved in developing a new chipmaking technology called nano-imprinting.

To address chronic stock underperformance, the company has been reducing cross shareholdings, a controversial practice of business partners owning each others’ shares. It plans to announce a new business strategy in March.

Elliott has invested in several technology-focused companies, including a multi-billion dollar investment in software firm Salesforce on Monday.

It recently won a board seat at Pinterest Inc (PINS.N) when the company added Elliott portfolio manager Marc Steinberg as a director.

In Japan, it has invested in SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) and has an executive on the board of Toshiba Corp (6502.T).

($1 = 130.2700 yen)

Reporting by Jyoti Narayan in Bengaluru and Makiko Yamazaki in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Akriti Sharma; Editing by Eileen Soreng and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Where are the best places to see the stars at night?

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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The average night sky got has brighter by 9.6 percent since 2011, a study published in Science found, and it’s harder than ever to see stars.

Using data from the Globe at Night project in which citizen-scientists report their night sky brightness observations, the study found the visibility of stars is “deteriorating rapidly.”

“Over much of Earth’s land surface, the night sky no longer fully transitions to starlight and moonlight after sunset,” the study reads.

Instead, the sky glows with an artificial twilight that’s grown because of population growth, settlement expansion and new lighting technology. “The character of the night sky is now different from what it was when life evolved and civilization developed.”

The drop in star visibility means if someone could see 250 visible stars in a location, that number would fall to 100 visible stars in 18 years, according to the study.

Skyglow is expected to affect predator–prey interactions in nature and has been found to make changes in the physiology of fish, the study said. A 2016 study found the Milky Way is no longer visible to a third of humanity, including nearly 80% of North Americans.

Best places to stargaze in the West

If you want to see stars without light pollution, some of the best places in the U.S. are located out West. KOA, a private campground company, named Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park its No. 2 stargazing spot because of its high elevation, clean, dry air and distance from city lights.

Other sites that made the list were Glacier National Park in Montana, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Death Valley National Park in California, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, and Arches National Park in Utah.

The best time to stargaze is during a new moon and the days immediately before or after, because the sky is darker.

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Hydrogen Storage Tanks Market: A Look at the Industry's Current and Future State

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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Hydrogen Storage Tanks Market: A Look at the Industry’s Current and Future State – Lighting Industry News Today – EIN Presswire























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Battery Technology Market : Opportunities and Challenges in a Rapidly Evolving Industry

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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Battery Technology Market : Opportunities and Challenges in a Rapidly Evolving Industry – Lighting Industry News Today – EIN Presswire























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HVAC Controls Market Size to Reach USD 38.13 Billion by 2030; Industry Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9.5 %

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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HVAC Controls Market Size to Reach USD 38.13 Billion by 2030; Industry Compound Annual Growth Rate of 9.5 % – Lighting Industry News Today – EIN Presswire























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3D IC Market Size is Expected to Reach USD 34.9 Billion, at a 20.1% CAGR by 2030 – Report by Market Research Future (MRFR)

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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3D IC Market Size is Expected to Reach USD 34.9 Billion, at a 20.1% CAGR by 2030 – Report by Market Research Future (MRFR) – Energy Industry Today – EIN Presswire
















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Assessment of a Non-Invasive Brain Pulse Monitor to Measure Intra-Cranial Pressure Following Acute Brain Injury

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

Introduction

A major challenge in managing acute brain injury is how to continuously monitor the brain to detect secondary brain injury. Early detection of a complication is vital to reduce death and disability,1–4 and is recommended by expert panels, including the Australian Trauma Guidelines and The International Consensus Conference on Monitoring in Neurocritical Care.5–7

Monitoring for secondary brain injury in unconscious critically ill patients remains problematic. Options include intermittent clinical examination of brain stem reflexes or invasive forms of brain monitoring. Both have major limitations. Clinical examination is often poorly done, but even when done well it detects brain injury relatively late, at a potentially irreversible stage.8 The American Association of Neurological Surgeons Traumatic Brain Injury Guideline, therefore, recommends that treatment be informed by monitoring rather than clinical assessment.9 Invasive intra-cranial pressure (ICP) monitoring, while potentially providing continuous and earlier detection of complications, is expensive and has significant risks, including ventricular infection rates of up to 9%, haemorrhage of 22%, and haemorrhage causing clinical deterioration in 1% of cases.10 Due to the high costs and risks, invasive monitoring is usually reserved for cases of severe brain injury.2,11–13 For most patients, therefore, monitoring is confined to just clinical examination.

While a non-invasive method to measure ICP would greatly enhance patient care, available methods have limitations. Brain4care (B4C) have developed an extra-cranial strain gauge sensor that detects small variations in skull deformation induced by intracranial pressure changes; the “brain stethoscope” has a similar approach with the signal arising from tympanic membrane pulsations.14–17 These methods both detect a ICP waveform. Only B4C has published preliminary data in brain injured patients.18,19 Other approaches include the HeadSense monitor that uses an acoustic method.20 Both optical nerve ultra-sound and transcranial Doppler have been demonstrated to provide a reasonable correlation with invasive ICP levels, but require a skilled operator and are difficult to use continuously and cannot be positioned over multiple regions of the brain.21

Diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS), and other near infrared (NIRS) non-invasive techniques, can capture a pulsatile brain signal. While the pulsatile waveform morphologies do not closely resemble an ICP waveform, features may be extracted to assess parameters such as cerebral blood flow, cerebral blood volume and ICP.22–26 A relationship with ICP levels was demonstrated in some studies, but the algorithms also included other variables known to correlate with ICP, such as blood pressure.22,23 The contribution of the scalp tissues blood flow to the signal may also be a limitation.22,26–28 To date these approaches remain at a research stage.

We have developed a non-invasive brain pulse monitor that captures a brain photoplethysmographic (PPG) signal.29,30 The PPG waveform shares similar morphological features with the invasive ICP pulse waveform. These features may allow measurement of the intracranial pressure.31–33 The aim of this study was to assess the potential correlation between the invasive ICP measurement with the non-invasive brain PPG signal in patients with acute brain injuries.

Methods

Subject Selection

The inclusion criteria were critically ill adult patients admitted to the Critical Care Unit with an acute brain injury that may require intracranial pressure monitoring. Patients were excluded if non-invasive brain monitoring was not possible due to a wound dressing, skin or bone trauma or severely damaged brain or haematoma, preventing placement of the sensor for brain PPG detection.

The brain pulse monitor uses the wavelength 660 nm to capture a brain pulsatile waveform that is used to assess ICP levels. The monitor may also be used to assess brain oxygen levels, for this purpose 660 nm and 940 nm are used. This paper presents data in relation to ICP assessment only.

Unlike a number of other brain near infra-red (NIR) monitors, such as cerebral oximeters, each sensor has a single light emitting diode (LED) and photodetector (PD). As with any NIR approach removing potential contamination of photon absorption by the extra-cranial scalp layers is fundamental to obtain an accurate brain signal. The novel geometry of the LED and PD in the sensor hub preferentially detects photons reflected from deeper tissues, minimising pulsatile extra-cranial sources contributing to the PPG signal. This is achieved, in part, by the position of the LED and PD, relative to the skin. This and other aspects of the sensor’s hub allow the detection of a PPG signal arising from the brain. Further details of the sensor design are not disclosed at this time for commercial reasons.

The major blood source of the brain PPG signal is likely to arise from cardiac induced blood volume changes in the pial venous vessels that lay on the surface of the cortical gyri. The pial venules contain 75% to 85% of the total pial vessel’s blood volume.34–36 The blood volume in the pial vessels is 4-fold higher relative to the capillary vessels deeper in the cortex.37,38

The brain PPG signal has distinctive features that allow it to be distinguished from a conventional skin PPG signal. The brain pulse waveform is typically inverted, relative to the skin PPG waveform. The inverted brain PPG signal likely represents compression (and emptying) of the pial (low pressure) vein/venules by the expanding brain volume during early systole.39–41 Consequently, unlike the skin, the blood volume in the pial vein/venules may reduce during systole, giving rise to the inverted PPG signal.

The Brain Pulse Monitor

The bedside monitoring unit is comprised of a roll-stand with an enclosure containing the Graphical User Interface (GUI) (a Tablet PC), a power supply for all components (Figure 1).

Figure 1 The bedside monitoring unit.

The monitors LED and PD are controlled and processed by an Integrated Analog Front End circuit board, which digitizes the received signal from each sensor and sends the data stream to the Tablet PC. The PC receives the sensor data from the Processing Unit, and presents the data on a display, along with patient identifier data to the operator, via a custom software application. The power supply is a medical grade (IEC60601-1 approved) 120 V AC power supply for the processing unit. The architecture of the system is shown in Figure 2. All components of the Brain Pulse Monitor were developed and built by Cyban Pty Ltd in Melbourne, Australia.

Figure 2 Architecture of the brain pulse monitoring system.

A brain pulse sensor was placed over each hemisphere. A NellcorTM SPO2 Forehead Sensor was placed on the forehead (midline) to provide a reference conventional skin pulse oximeter PPG waveform (wavelengths 660 and 900 nm) for comparison purposes only (Figure 3). The brain pulse sensors were typically placed over the frontal or the temporal lobes and secured in position with a headband. The sensor’s position may need to be adjusted if a skin PPG signal is initially obtained. The distinctive features of the brain PPG signals provide a method to adjust the position the sensor for optimal brain signal detection. This need for adjustment may reflect the fixed geographical distribution of pial veins and venules in relation to the cortical gyri and sulci. Each gyrus has a dominant vein or veins occupying the centre with abundant arborisations and vast numbers of venules. Larger cortical draining veins lay along the sulci. The venule rich gyri are the likely source of the brain signal, as the relative blood volume is higher compared to the other areas. Consequently, to obtain an optimal brain signal the sensor may need placement over a gyrus.42 If required, the hair was shaved to improve signal quality. The sensor was not placed over areas of large focal haemorrhages, present on routine brain imaging, as this may give rise to an atypical ICP waveform. Synchronous recordings were made from all three sensors and the invasive ICP.

Figure 3 A brain pulse monitor was placed on each temple. A NellcorTM SPO2 A skin pulse oximeter was placed on the forehead (midline) to provide a reference conventional skin PPG waveform for comparison. The extra-ventricular drains (EVD) used to measure intracranial pressure are highlighted by the Orange arrows.

Abbreviation: ICP, intracranial pressure.

Invasive ICP Measurement

An extra-ventricular drain was placed into the left or right lateral ventricles. The pressure levels were zeroed at the tragus and monitored by a Philips IntelliVue system. The physiological data were exported, including the ICP waveforms using ICM+ (Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge, UK).

Brain Pulse Signal Pre-Processing

We applied a Butterworth bandpass filter with order 3 and lower and higher 3-dB frequencies 0.1 (Hz) and (8.5 Hz), respectively, using the Scipy signal “butter” and “filtfilt” (v1.9.0). The sampling frequency is set to 500 (Hz). Pulse starts were identified using methods previously applied to QRS complex whereby the signal second derivative is taken through filters, which exaggerates areas of the graphs of fastest change.43 Then, a moving average filter is applied to merge minor peaks, where a broader the moving average filter merges larger features. We then added an additional layer of logic to localise these pulse starts to within −80 milliseconds preceding and +60 milliseconds following the skin pulse starts. A pulse-end was defined as the next pulse-start. The algorithm was developed through an iterative comparison to the invasively measured ICP levels over the range of 0 to 40 mmHg. The invasive ICP level was defined as the highest point during the ICP pulse. Invasive ICP levels >40 mmHg were given the value of 40 mmHg. For each participant, a timestamp at each hemisphere was visually inspected and recorded whereby a clean signal was identified at the time of invasive ICP measurement. Non-invasive ICP measurements were calculated for each pulse and averaged over a window of recording which was at least 30 seconds.

Brain Pulse Monitor ICP Estimation

An automated algorithm was developed to assess the brain pulse monitor’s correlation with ICP levels based on the brain pulse waveform, using ICP morphological waveform features known to be associated with raised ICP.44–46 The normal ICP waveform typically comprises 3 peaks P1 (the percussion wave, representing the early systolic increase in brain volume), P2 (the mid/late systolic tidal wave) and P3 (the dicrotic wave, following closure of the aortic valve during diastole). The dicrotic notch represents an earlier nadir associated with aortic valve closure. Normal ICP levels are associated with the relative amplitudes of the peaks, where P1 > P2 > P3. With raised ICP levels there is an increase in the amplitude of P2 and P3 relative with P1, a temporal delay in the pulse’s peak, an increasingly indistinct P3 and dicrotic notch and changes in the area under curve of the waveform.44–47 The peaks were determined using the Scipy signal “find_peaks” function (v1.8.0) and area under the curve was estimated using the Numpy “Trapz” function (v1.22.3). Further details of the algorithm are not disclosed at this time for commercial reasons.

St Vincent’s Hospital (Melbourne, Australia) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) granted ethics committee approval. Because participants lacked the capacity to consider participation at the time of eligibility, informed consent was obtained from their person responsible prior to enrolment. This was written consent except when the person responsible was unable to attend the hospital; in these circumstances, and in accordance with the approved consent procedures, verbal (telephone) consent was obtained. All medical protocols in this study adhered to the Declaration of Helsinki. All methods were performed in accordance with the relevant guidelines and regulations of our hospital. Informed consent to release information and images from online open-access publications was obtained from all participants.

Statistical Analysis

We used linear regression to determine the coefficient of correlation between the non-invasive ICP prediction and the invasive ICP measurements. Figures and the Pearson correlation was performed using GraphPad Prism version 9.4 (Graph Pad Inc, San Diego, USA). The slope of the line of best fit was used to determine the predicted ICP measurements from the algorithm estimations. All assumptions for statistical tests were met. Aggregate patient demographic data is presented as median with interquartile range (IQR) unless otherwise stated. Values over p < 0.05 were considered significant.

Results

Patient Characteristics

A total of 24 simultaneous recordings were recorded in 12 (4 males, 8 females) patients with a median age of 61 (46–72) years (Table 1). Eight patients suffered a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), one suffered a stroke, 2 suffered intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and one underwent complicated surgery for a retro-orbital tumour. The median length of stay in hospital was 22.5 (IQR, 16.5–28.75) days, and 11 (IQR 7–14.5) days in the critical care unit. Seven patients survived.

Table 1 Patient Characteristics

Brain Pulse Waveform Morphology

The brain pulse monitor PPG demonstrated features similar to the invasive ICP waveform. These included peaks at P1, P2, P3 and a dicrotic notch. Figure 4 demonstrates the morphological features of the left and right brain pulse monitor PPG signals in relation to the conventional forehead skin PPG signal and simultaneous invasive ICP waveforms.

Figure 4 Simultaneous conventional skin and brain PPG signals (over one pulse period) compared with the invasive intracranial pressure from a patient presenting with a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage. The shape of the waveforms for both the right and left brain pulse monitor PPG signals are inverted compared with the skin PPG. The morphological features of the right and left brain waveforms were similar to the invasive ICP waveform in terms of the peaks’ temporal positions (P1, P2, P3) and the dicrotic notch (indicated by arrow). Note the raw skin PPG signal is presented without being flipped as is the convention with bedside commercial monitors.

Abbreviations: ICP, intracranial pressure; V, Volts; PPG, photoplethysmography.

The relationship of these waveform features (P1, P2, P3, notch) was similar to the invasive ICP waveform, over a range of ICP levels. Figure 5 demonstrates the changes in the brain pulse monitor PPG signal in comparison to the invasive ICP waveform in a patient over a 3-day period in which the ICP increased. Both methods demonstrated an increase in the amplitudes of P2 and P3 relative to P1, a later pulse peak and a progressively indistinct notch and P3.44–46

Figure 5 The evolution of the morphological waveform features of the brain pulse monitor PPG signal over a 3 day period in relation to the simultaneous invasive ICP (one pulse period) measured from an external ventricular drain positioned in the right lateral ventricle of a patient with a grade 5 sub-arachnoid haemorrhage. Day 1: Normal ICP. The relative amplitudes of the waveform peaks were P1 > P2 > P3, (indicated by the angle of the green line segment), and there is a rapid increase from the beginning of the pulse wave to the pulse peak in early systole (t1; 0.13 seconds). Day 2: Raised ICP. The P2 amplitude is now greater than P1 and P3 and there is an increased time lag (t2; 0.22 seconds) to the highest pulse peak. Day 3: Markedly raised ICP. The P2 and P3 amplitudes are very much greater than P1 and the time lag to reach the pulse peak is extended further (t3; 0.24 seconds).

Abbreviations: ICP, intracranial pressure; V, Volts; PPG, photoplethysmography, (t time to peak).

Based on these waveform morphological features, an automated algorithm was developed to predict ICP from the brain pulse waveform. A single outlier data point was removed based on analysis of the standard residuals which identified a z-score of 3.49, more than 3 standard deviations less than the mean. A significant correlation between the invasive and predicted ICP levels, R2=0.66, p<0.001 (Figure 6).

Figure 6 (A) Correlation between the brain pulse monitor predicted ICP and invasive ICP measurements. The solid line represents the best linear fit and the dark shaded area represents the 95% confidence interval of the fit, and the light shaded area represents the prediction interval of the fit; (B) Bland-Altman plot (difference as a percentage vs mean ICP), the central dashed line represents the mean bias that was less than 1%, the outer dashed lines represent the mean ± 1.96 standard deviations demonstrating that 95% of the data points were ± 13.6% of the invasive measurement. R2 = 0.66, P<0.001 (Pearson).

Abbreviation: ICP, intracranial pressure.

Discussion

We found the non-invasive brain pulse monitor’s PPG waveform demonstrated morphological features similar to the invasive ICP waveform across a range of ICP levels. These features were used to develop an algorithm which demonstrated a significant correlation with invasive ICP levels. Our findings suggest the brain pulse monitor may provide a simple method to continuously and safely monitor the brain to provide earlier detection of brain injury and its complications. Early detection and treatment of complications could markedly improve patient outcomes.

Cardiac induced pulsatile blood volume changes are the likely source of the common waveform features seen with the 2 monitoring methods. During early systole brain volume increases with the arterial inflow of blood, from mid systole the brain volume falls as venous drainage exceeds arterial inflows.39,48 Early systolic expansion of the brain volume may compress the low pressure pial veins/venules on the cortical surface emptying these vessels, while subsequent relaxation of the brain re-expands the pial blood volume.39 This mechanism may also explain why the brain and skin PPG signals are inverted in relation to each other, unlike the skin, the blood volume in the pial veins/venules reduces during systole.

These distinct differences between the brain and skin PPG signals provide a method to reduce extra-cranial contamination from the skin by allowing adjustment of the sensor position till an optimal brain waveform is found. This is a major difference with existing commercial NIR devices, such as cerebral oximeters, which may have significant levels of extra-cranial contamination.49–51

Brain swelling from acute brain injury may negatively impact on venous drainage through compression of the large venous sinuses, particularly the sagittal and transverse sinuses.48,52–54 The ICP waveform and the brain PPG changes seen with raised ICP are likely to represent prolonged systolic brain volume expansion due to a mismatch between arterial blood flow in and limited venous flows out. The ICP waveform peak is therefore delayed with a dominant P2. The brain relaxation phase is shorter.55 Studies have demonstrated that augmenting venous drainage resolves these ICP waveform changes and reduces the ICP.48,52–54

Limitations

To obtain an optimal brain PPG signal and to avoid a skin PPG signal the sensor’s position may need adjustment. This process can, however, delay obtaining a signal and if the sensor moves the brain PPG signal may be lost.

The brain pulse monitor waveform assesses ICP levels in the sub-arachnoid space, we compared with invasive ICP levels measured at a much deeper and distinct anatomical site, the lateral ventricle with an extra-ventricular drain. Studies have shown that both the pressure levels and waveforms vary at these distinct anatomical sites.56–58 Furthermore, following a focal injury that has not resulted in a global insult, ICP increases may be localised and vary between regions of the brain.59,60 In addition, the ICP waveform also reflects changes in brain compliance, hence in patients with early compliance changes, the ICP may still be normal.61–63 These factors could result in an anticipated loss of accuracy and variation in the relative waveform morphologies relative to the invasive ICP levels used in the study. Other limitations include the absence of blinding in the study design.

Conclusion

The non-invasive brain pulse monitor PPG waveform demonstrated morphological features similar to the invasive ICP waveform over a range of ICP levels. An algorithm based on the PPG morphology found the brain pulse monitor ICP levels were significantly correlated with invasive ICP levels. Our findings raise the possibility that this novel non-invasive monitor could provide a simple method to continuously and safely monitor the brain to provide earlier detection of brain injury or its complications.

Data Sharing Statement

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge Robert Tran from Keylead Health for his contributions to the algorithm development.

Author Contributions

All authors made a significant contribution to the work reported, whether that is in the conception, study design, execution, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, or in all these areas; took part in drafting, revising or critically reviewing the article; gave final approval of the version to be published; have agreed on the journal to which the article has been submitted; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work. Specific contributions included but were not limited to the following. B.D conceived the study. B.D., J.D.S., A.U. and P.S. designed the human study protocol. B.D and J.S.S developed the sensor hub. B.D., J.S., and E.J.T collected data. B.D., J.S., S.A.G. J.H and E.J.T analyzed the data and interpreted the results. B.D. wrote the first manuscript draft.

Funding

The research was supported by a grant from the Biomedtech Horizons Program part of the Medical Research Future Fund of the Australian Government.

Disclosure

BD is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cyban, Pty Ltd and reports grants, personal fees from Cyban, during the conduct of the study; In addition, Dr Barry Dixon has patents US9717446B2 and WO2008134813A1 issued to Cyban. J.M.S., S.A.G., E.J.T., J.H and J.S.S. are paid employees of Cyban. The hospital departments of J.D.S, and A.U. received financial support from Cyban to undertake the study. A.U. reports non-financial support from Integra Lifesciences, outside the submitted work. The remaining author, P.S., has no conflicts of interest to declare for this work.

References

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Categories
All About Lights

Brickbat: We'll Leave the Light on For You

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

image

Since August 2021, the lights at Minnechaug Regional High School in Massachusetts have remained on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The school building has a “green lighting system” that’s supposed to save energy and money by adjusting the lights when a room is not in use. But the system broke more than a year ago and went into default mode, which keeps the lights on at all times, costing the school system thousands of dollars each month. The company the school bought the system from a decade ago has since changed hands several times, and they couldn’t find anyone to fix it. But officials said they now have the parts they need and should be able to fix it during the February break.

Categories
All About Lights

'People just won't bother coming to the towns'

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

Plans to seal off parts of a critical route for two months will drive tourists away from two Kent seaside towns, business owners fear.

Both carriageways running along the A299 New Thanet Way between Whitstable and Herne Bay will take it in turns to shut for four weeks from the beginning of April.

Parts of the A299 New Thanet Way between Herne Bay and Whitstable will be sealed off to traffic for two months. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Parts of the A299 New Thanet Way between Herne Bay and Whitstable will be sealed off to traffic for two months. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Kent County Council officials say teams will replace the lights in the Chestfield tunnel and carry out “deep carriageway reconstruction repairs” in the area while the closures are imposed.

With much of the coast- and London-bound traffic expected to be directed along the Old Thanet Way, locals worry there will be gridlock on the approach to the towns at Estuary View and Greenhill.

Nejmi Hassan, who runs Makcari’s Coffee Lounge in Herne Bay, believes the hold-ups will cause him and other traders to a lose a sizeable chunk of their custom at the start of the summer.

“Of course I think that – it’s going to be the worst-possible time,” he told KentOnline.

“A lot of our customers check to see if the traffic’s bad before they come and if it is they just won’t bother.

Nejmi Hassan (left) fears gridlock near Whitstable will make customers decide not to bother coming into Herne Bay
Nejmi Hassan (left) fears gridlock near Whitstable will make customers decide not to bother coming into Herne Bay

“I understand roadworks need to get done, but what surprises me is the council seem to have no consideration for local businesses when setting the date.”

Mr Hassan thinks his business could lose money as perishable stocks might go unused during what should be his busiest time of year.

A notice penned by the county council states the lighting in the Chestfield tunnel needs replacing as it “has reached the end of its life”.

The authority will close the Thanet-bound side for 24 hours a day between April 24 and May 26.

It will then seal off the carriageway used by motorists heading towards London until June 30.

The Old Thanet Way between Herne Bay and Whitstable is expected to be gridlocked by the work nearby. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The Old Thanet Way between Herne Bay and Whitstable is expected to be gridlocked by the work nearby. Picture: Barry Goodwin

And to make matters worse, Herne Bay-to-Canterbury rat-run Bullockstone Road will remain closed until the end of July.

“Just as we prepare to go back to some form of normality we get hit with this, but now it’s not the pandemic, it’s the council making silly decisions,” Mr Hassan continued.

“We’re a tourist town, and when you rely heavily on that, timetabling is of the utmost importance – you’d have thought they would have that in mind.

“Another fear is we will lose the customers to other towns such as Folkestone or Ramsgate and then they may never come back.”

One Bay resident also says his “town is basically getting cut off” by the roadworks.

Herne Bay and Whitstable councillor Neil Baker
Herne Bay and Whitstable councillor Neil Baker

He expects the projects to “massively clog up” the A2990, with “every car heading to Thanet or the other way affected”.

Tankerton councillor Neil Baker has also warned “those who didn’t experience the area before the New Thanet Way was built might soon get a taster” of what it was like.

His Tory colleague Ashley Clark says the works are a “damn nuisance”.

“All over the county wherever you drive it’s traffic lights, it’s delays,” the Seasalter councillor explained.

“The trouble is there doesn’t seem to be coordination between different works being carried out by KCC.

Seasalter councillor Ashley Clark says the planned works will be a "damn nuisance". Picture: Chris Davey
Seasalter councillor Ashley Clark says the planned works will be a “damn nuisance”. Picture: Chris Davey

“It’s a nightmare – a vicious cycle.”

County council bosses say teams will replace Chestfield tunnel’s lighting system, which has “reached the end of its life”.

They plan to carry out the works under day-long carriageway closures to allow teams work on each bore of the tunnel.

“Work will be carried out between April 24 and June 30,” a traffic notice reads.

“The lighting has reached the end of its life and needs replacing therefore we propose converting the lighting to energy efficient LED lighting.

“The replacement lighting will not only improve visibility within the tunnel but will also reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.

“While the lighting replacement work is being carried out, we will also be carrying out deep carriageway reconstruction repairs to the A299 Thanet Way in various locations.”

KCC has been contacted to comment further.

Categories
All About Lights

[Photo News] LG Gram marks 10th anniversary

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

(LG Electronics)

(LG Electronics)

LG Electronics on Tuesday unveiled LG Gram Style, a new addition to the tech giant’s Gram premium laptop lineup that marks its 10th anniversary this year. The Gram debuted in 2014 as the industry’s lightest 13-inch laptop, weighing just 980 grams. The Style comes in 14- and 16-inch models. The 16-inch model is the first Gram laptop equipped with an organic light-emitting diode display.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)

Categories
All About Lights

Tyne and Wear Metro’s Old Gosforth Metro depot shuts doors

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

image

Tyne and Wear Metro’s old depot at Gosforth in UK has shuttered, with Stadler’s maintenance crews moving over to the new £70m depot on the same site.

Originally constructed in 1923, the facility will now be demolished. This 100-old facility housed Metro’s rolling stock for 43 years.

Metro owner and manager Nexus called the old depot closure a ‘milestone’.

The new depot, built by Volker FitzPatrick on behalf of Stadler, will be home to Metro’s existing fleet and the new 46 trains from Stadler.

It will incorporate sustainable elements such as natural light penetration, energy efficient lighting system throughout the premises and solar panels on the roof.

Besides, it will recycle water on site and carry out rainwater harvesting for use in train washing facilities and toilets. 

Charging bays will be deployed for electric cars, while a dedicated area for bikes, and showers will be offered for people cycling to and from work.

In November last year, Stadler started shifting its employees to the new depot.

Stadler Rail Service UK managing director Paul Patrick said: “This is a momentous occasion as we transition from the old to the new, and I am confident that the new depot and fleet will enhance the passenger experience, making rail more attractive, promoting modal shift, and contributing to regional and national environmental targets.”

The new depot will support preventative and corrective maintenance, overhauls and train presentation.

It will comprise storage space for spare parts and material supplies in addition to office space for training and support functions. 

Nexus head of Fleet and Depot Replacement Programme Michael Richardson said: “We have looked after the Metro fleet at Gosforth for 43 years, but the facilities we were using had become dated, so the move to the new depot is long overdue.

“The Stadler team are leaving behind a building that dates back to 1923, and have moved into a new, more modern, state-of-the-art train care facility. It really is transformational for Metro and its workforce.

Categories
All About Lights

Star visibility eroding rapidly as night sky gets brighter

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

Light pollution is growing rapidly and in some places the number of stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky is being reduced by more than half in less than 20 years, according to a study released Thursday.

The researchers, whose findings were published in the journal Science, said the increase in light pollution — skyglow — that they found was much larger than that measured by satellite observations of Earth at night.

For the study of the change in global sky brightness from artificial light, the researchers used stellar observations from 2011 to 2022 submitted by more than 51,000 “citizen scientists” around the world.

Participants in the “Globe at Night” project run by the US National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory were given star maps and asked to compare them to the night sky at their location.

The change in the number of visible stars reported was equivalent to a 9.6 percent per year annual increase in sky brightness, averaged over the locations of the participants, the researchers said.

Over an 18-year period, given such star brightness change, a location with 250 visible stars would see that number reduced to 100.

Most of the naked-eye star observations came from Europe and the United States said Christopher Kyba, one of the authors of the study, but there was also good participation in Uruguay, South Africa and Japan.

“The global trend in skyglow that we measure likely underestimates the trend in countries with the most rapid increases in economic development, because the rate of change in light emission is highest there,” the researchers said.

The study coincided with the replacement of many outdoor lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), but the researchers said the impact on skyglow from the transition to LEDs is unclear.

“Some researchers have predicted that it will be beneficial; others, that it could be harmful because of spectral changes or a rebound effect, in which the high luminous efficacy of LEDs leads to more or brighter lights being installed or longer hours of operation,” they said.

According to the study, the global LED market share for new general lighting grew from under one percent in 2011 to 47 percent in 2019.

“The visibility of stars is deteriorating rapidly, despite (or perhaps because of) the introduction of LEDs in outdoor lighting applications,” the researchers said.

“Existing lighting policies are not preventing increases in skyglow, at least on continental and global scales.”

– ‘Confronted with the cosmos’ –

Kyba, a physicist at the German Research Center for Geoscience, told AFP that while the team was able to evaluate erosion of star visibility due to skyglow, not a lot of research has been done on its ecological impact.

“There’s tons of research on light shining directly on animals and plants,” he said. “But it’s really hard to do experiments on the impact of skyglow.

“You’re not going to do something like just turn off New York City and see what happens in the East River.”

Science aside, light pollution has changed the character of the night sky.

“For all of human history, when people went outside at nighttime, they were sort of confronted with the cosmos, at least on clear nights with no moon,” Kyba said.

“You’d walk outside and there’s the stars, there’s the Milky Way. It’s there and it’s shining down on you,” he said.

“And now that’s like a really unusual experience,” he said. “It surely makes a difference to us as people that we don’t have this experience that used to be a very universal experience.”

The Globe at Night campaign hosts an interactive data map at globeatnight.org and is seeking volunteers to collect more observations in 2023.

Related Links

Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It



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STELLAR CHEMISTRY
Study finds active galactic nuclei are even more powerful than thought

Santa Cruz CA (SPX) Jan 17, 2023


Powered by supermassive black holes swallowing matter in the centers of galaxies, active galactic nuclei are the most powerful compact steady sources of energy in the universe. The brightest active galactic nuclei have long been known to far outshine the combined light of the billions of stars in their host galaxies.

A new study indicates that scientists have substantially underestimated the energy output of these objects by not recognizing the extent to which their light is dimmed by dust.

read more

Categories
All About Lights

Light pollution dimming natural glow of stars: study

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

Presents:

image

Wishing upon a star would be great—only if they can be spotted in the night sky.

Stargazers hoping to spot stars in the sky now face a more difficult task ahead of them due to the increase of light pollution, a new study found.

Published by Science Magazine, the study found that artificial lights have dimmed the natural glow of stars, making them less visible for humans to spot with the naked eye.

The study compared the visibility of stars between 2011 and 2022, concluding that the night sky’s brightness increased by 9.6% on an annual basis. Researchers said the figure amounts to the doubling of the sky’s brightness per eight years.

Measuring the number of visible stars, researchers were able to reach the conclusion by looking at the increase of sky brightness, which they said ranges between seven to 10% on a yearly basis “in the human visible band.”

Illustrating the rather gloomy view, the study said that over the span of 18 years, the number of stars seen in a location would drop from 250 to 100.

“This increase is faster than emissions changes indicated by satellite observations. We ascribe this difference to spectral changes in light emission and to the average angle of light emissions,” the scientists warned.

The research pointed to the dramatic population growth and the development of new lighting technologies over the years as the reason behind the growing light pollution.

“The generation of skyglow and changes in its character are related to social, economic, and technological processes, and we therefore expect skyglow trends to differ within and across countries,” the study noted.

Separate research in 2016 found that Qatar was the world’s third-most light-polluted country in the world, with Kuwait ranked as the second after Singapore.

Research on light pollution has seemed to be a glimmer of hope as it provides scientists the ability to further look into its causes and impact.

The recent study also said awareness on the issue “has led some policy-makers to introduce measures that attempt to control light pollution.”

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Region One Opposition MP Cox agitates for hinterland development projects

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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Region One Opposition MP Cox agitates for hinterland development projects – News Room Guyana































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Westborough manufacturer lays off about 20% of workforce amid restructuring

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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Following the retirement of its founder and CEO and the resignation of one of its executive vice presidents, Westborough display manufacturer Kopin Corp. is restructuring, resulting in about 30 layoffs.

Kopin announced the restructuring on Jan. 5, which included the micro-display technology company entering into a business deal with Lightning Silicon Technology Inc., a California company formed by Kopin’s Chairman and former CEO John Fan, who retired on Dec. 24. Kopin CFO Richard Sneider told the Boston Business Journal 30 people were impacted by the changes. He said a vast majority of the workers have new positions with Lightning Silicon Technology, and the rest of the people are being laid off by Kopin. The company has about 150 employees today, according to BBJ.

Kopin CEO Michael Murray expects the company’s annual payroll expense, excluding severance and similar benefits, to decrease about 20% since Dec. 31, according to a Jan. 5 press release from the company.

“We have been performing program reviews with our customers, and in some cases slowing deliveries to ensure we are delivering the highest quality products. In addition, in select situations, we are negotiating potential exits from non-profitable endeavors, if they cannot be rectified,” Murray said in a Thursday press release updating stakeholders on the restructuring.

The same day Kopin put out that Jan. 5 press release, Boryeu Tsaur, the company’s executive vice president for display operations, resigned from his position with the company, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Kopin manufactures micro-displays for military, industrial and consumer products. The displays are used in fighter pilot helmets and firefighter masks. 

Lightning Silicon Technology will license select Kopin intellectual property related to organic light emitting diode micro-displays, which are used for developing augmented reality and virtual reality. Lighting Silicon Technology will be able to develop, manufacture, and sell the OLEDs to the consumer market. 

As part of the agreement, Kopin receives 20% equity interest in Lightning Silicon and will get royalties from the sale of products related to the licenses. Kopin will develop, manufacture, and sell OLED displays and complete optical solutions that include microdisplays to the defense and enterprise markets.

As a result of the restructuring, Kopin said it expects its fourth quarter revenue to be about $11 million and for its fiscal 2023 revenue to be lower, according to the Thursday press release.
 

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Chinese company brings green energy to rural Africa | #…

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca

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This has been made possible by Shenzhen Power-Solution, a company from China’s Southeastern Guangdong province, that manufactures solar home lighting solutions. The company aims to serve the bottom of the pyramid (BoP), the people who live on less than $2 dollars a day.

Jemal Nura has been using a solar lantern for the last seven months and is impressed by the results.

Nura, whose monthly income is 3,000 birr ($104), said the lantern has saved him the 48 monthly birr ($2) he used to spend on candles and charging his mobile phone.

“I bought the lantern at 600 birr ($21) after my neighbor convinced me of its benefits and, for sure, I haven’t been disappointed. My phone is always on, because I charge it using the solar lantern,” he said.

Emo Goshamo expressed her gratitude to Shenzhen Power-Solution for enabling her to access green energy at an affordable price.

She engages in subsistence farming and said the lamp has saved her from purchasing kerosene as its price continues to rise.

“My house is now clean; there is no smoke that was produced by kerosene lamp. The air is also clean; I no longer cough because of the air pollution. I’m also at peace as the fires caused by kerosene lamps are now avoidable,” she said.

Festus Mutisya, a resident of the village of Mwatungo in Kenya’s Machakos County, bought a multifunctional solar lighting kit in 2016 during an exhibition in Nairobi.

“At first I doubted it, but I decided to give it a try because at the exhibition it was retailing at a discounted rate of $35 as opposed to $75 at the shop. Two years down the line, the kit has been functioning well, especially during sufficient sunlight when the battery is fully charged,” he said.

Mutisya said solar energy has saved him the money he used to spend on kerosene for lighting, dry cells for his radio and on charging his mobile phone. He has channeled the savings to other needs.

“The solution has saved me $30 monthly. Solar energy is the way to go. It’s not only a clean energy but also safe, hence fewer burn and accidents,” he said.

Gambian Savvy Simpson said he was grateful to the company for providing quality and affordable solar slighting products.

“My family of 12 now has access to clean energy, and the system lights four rooms. It’s a total transformation and we are very grateful,” Simpson said.

Sally Hayden, from Uganda, is also enjoying access to clean energy. Sally owns a solar reading light and said her children are able to read thanks to the brighter light that does not affect their eyesight.

“The light from candles and kerosene lamps is inefficient and dim and produces noxious fumes that affect my children’s eyes. I’m grateful that the solar reading light has enabled my children to comfortably do their homework as well as study,” she said.

Hayden said she is no longer worried about her children’s safety, especially when she is not in the house at night, because the lighting system is safer than kerosene lamps and candles.

According to Lumina, a social network for the global off-grid lighting community, more than 95 percent of deaths worldwide from fire and burns occur in the developing world. The mortality rate is estimated at five percent times higher in low- and middle-income populations in Africa than high-income countries in Europe.

In South Africa alone, the network reports that over 200,000 people are injured or lose property each year due to kerosene-related fires. Additionally, 79,750 young children unintentionally ingest kerosene.

Li Xia, Shenzhen Power-Solution founder, said her company is committed to enabling BoPs in Africa to access clean energy.

“Our motivation is not making money – we want to impact the lives of the BoPs with access to affordable solar products. That’s why I travel to the villages where we supply our products to get feedback from clients,” she said.

According to United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, nearly 600 million, or 48 percent, of Africa’s population still lack access to electricity, with the majority living in rural areas.

In order to effectively serve the African market, Li said plans are underway to establish a factory in Rwanda to manufacture solar home lighting systems. They also plan to set up after-sales services for customers in all their markets.

“We plan to expand our offerings to clean cooking stoves, among other solar solutions in the future,” Li said, identifying Ethiopia, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo as the company’s biggest markets.

Her company has presences in 63 countries across the globe and its products have benefited over 4.2 million families.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201905/12/WS5cd7d3f3a3104842260bb269.html

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Startups in Bhutan struggle to mature into commercial business…

Post Republished By Alfonso Hilsaca Eljadue (.com)

Turco Hilsaca, del Cristo Hilsaca

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It has been more than three years since the first Startup Weekend was organised in the country, way back in 2016. Of the many winners, only a few are riding on the waves of success.

It did not occur to Dupjay Pelzang, a graduate of College of Science and Technology (CST) and a winner of the first National Startup Weekend, that operating his business idea would be difficult. He had cash prize of Nu 800,000. “I thought the main challenge facing the startups was access to finance. Because I had received the prize money, I didn’t expect major challenges along the way.”

Processing the licence was the first big challenge Dupjay Pelzang had to face. He went to the offices of Cottage and Small Industry (CSI), National Environment Commission (NEC), and Thimphu Thromde to process the licence for his product Sunjab—an electronic scarecrow to protect crops from wild animals, made using light-emitting diode (LED) lights in the shape of a tiger with motion sensors and high pitched sound.

“I finally got environment clearance from thromde only to deny not long after,” later they rejected it,” Dupjay Pelzang said.

NEC helped Dupjay Pelzang process the clearance after framing a new policy but he had to go back to thromde for location clearance. By then, he had wasted Nu 10,000 and 6 months. He had not even begun laying the foundation for Sunjab.

The founder of InnoHome (smart switch system), Pema Singye, won two startup runners up but had to drop his first idea—smart milk cream separator—due to financial constraints. He said that starting a manufacturing unit would have cost him about Nu 8 million. That’s not taking into account payment for land and employees.

Pema Singye is currently working on InnoHome, a smart switch system on mobile to activate and deactivate electrical appliances at home. The idea won him Nu 600,000 at the Startup Weekend last year. There are myriad challenges still. To develop technical ideas into product, equipment and technologies have to be bought through international online shopping centres.

Pema Singye said that he did not own a credit card because the minimum bank balance required to avail of credit card was Nu 70,000; even if he used someone’s card, the amount was limited to USD1000 for a year.

“This process is delaying the project,” he said

Lack of proper payment gateway and platform to export the products even after the startups penetrate the market is the reason why most startups fail after few months of its initiation. Thus, Made in Bhutan brand cannot be exported abroad.

Founder of Miniature Bhutan, Sonam Tashi, said that the country should focus on exporting the products rather than emphasising on local market competition.

“I export my product (souvenirs) to nine countries. I use Facebook and Instagram to sell them. Many customers cancel their order because there is no payment gateway,” Sonam Tashi said.

The target customer for such CSI projects is tourist. Sonam Tashi said that while other organisations were exploring their products, Tourism Council of Bhutan neglected them. “Tourists visit only those places where guides are paid higher commission; we can’t pay them.”

Department of Information Technology and Telecom

So far, DITT has organised four technology-related Startup Weekends.

Information and communication officer with DITT, Deepika Rai, said that the National Startup Weekend was unique compared to other Startup Weekends in the country. The event was a risk-free experiential learning platform to help startups launch their business. The fund provided as prizes are monitored closely by the department and is released phase wise upon fulfilling the terms and conditions by the startups.

The fund is ‘a seed support’ provided just to start the business and to build prototype, she said. “The fund will help them build the idea into a prototype with which they can move onto next stage for fund from relevant agencies.”

The co-founder of bundle.bt Nagendra Kafley said that Startup Weekend produced a lot of ideas and teams but only few landed in the market. It would be better to invest in small start-up companies, so that startups did not die after penetrating into the market, he added.

Department of Employment

The startup programme was first organised by Jamyang Kitsho (QED group) and Deputy Chief of Entrepreneurship Department, MoLHR, Ram Bahadur Gururg. It was aimed at strengthening the Bhutanese entrepreneurship ecosystem through strategic partnerships and collaboration.

According to Ram Bahadur Gurung, to implement the ideas, government should build ecosystem to nurture the ideas. Currently, the department is organising idea-stage events only. “Startup flagship programme will provide support from idea stage to launch of product in the market.”

The department is currently focusing on entrepreneurship education. Bhutan Education Blueprint includes the integration of entrepreneurship education.

Startup and CSI is one of the approved flagship programmes of the government. The Startup and CSI blueprint will be implemented from July. “Startup Bhutan office is one of the priorities of the flagship programme. This will be a ‘one stop shop’ that can provide a total solution for our budding entrepreneurs for startup Bhutan,” Ram Bahadur Gurung said.
http://www.kuenselonline.com/startups-struggle-to-mature-into-commercial…