Proceedings of 2015 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), Milan, Italy, Aug 25-29 2015. "Dynamic wheeled mobility" offers "on the fly" seating adjustments for wheelchair users such that various activities performed throughout the day can be matched by an appropriate seat position. While this has benefits for user participation and health, the added weight in existing dynamic wheelchairs may impact the user's ability to transport the frame, e.g. into cars. Other dynamic features to enable more participation avenues are also desirable. This paper outlines the development of a "kneeling" ultralight wheelchair design that offers dynamic wheeled mobility functionality at a weight that is comparable to many existing ultralight wheelchairs. In addition, the wheelchair's kneeling function allows a lowered seat position to facilitate low-to-the-ground tasks such as floor transfers and other activities where sustained low level reaching may be required (e.g. playing with children, changing a tire, etc.). This paper also describes the development and pilot testing of an end user evaluation protocol designed to validate the wheelchair's functionality and performance. Successful realization and commercialization of the technology would offer a novel product choice for people with mobility disabilities, and that may support daily activities, health, improved quality of life, and greater participation in the community., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of 1996 Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering, Calgary, Alberta on 26-29 May 1996. In many medical situations, the need for measuring the pressure applied to a tissue quickly and accurately is crucial. Most conventional devices do not measure the actual pressure applied to the tissue because they do not compensate for the tissue or device compliance characteristics and need to be calibrated for each measurement environment. Neuromuscular damage may occur if too much pressure is applied to a tissue for an extended period of time in applications such as tourniquet systems. Incorrect diagnosis may occur if too little pressure is applied in applications such as mammography units. A compliance-independent pressure transducer has other biomedical applications in surgical retraction devices and prosthetic sockets. To eliminate the compliance problem, a pressure transducer was developed using bulk micromachining technology., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Annual Conference 2011. The Elevation™ wheelchair was recently developed and introduced to the market as an alternative to conventional ultralight rigid wheelchairs normally used by paraplegics and others with disabilities necessitating the daily use of a manual wheelchair. The Elevation wheelchair provides independent user-adjustable seat positioning during normal usage. Elevation allows the user to quickly and easily adjust in real-time the seat height, as well as backrest recline angle, all in a manual ultralight rigid wheelchair form factor. This allows for dynamic seat positioning to suit the tasks and comfort of users throughout their daily activities. The rationale for and user-driven development of the Elevation wheelchair is summarized here., Conference paper, Published.
31st International Seating Symposium, Nashville, TN, February 26-28, 2015. The prevalence of upper limb pain in full-time manual wheelchair users living with SCI is estimated to be anywhere from 30-70%. For those who rely on an ultralight wheelchair for their day-to-day function, the consequences can be significant and will impact more than just their mobility. Since they were published in 2005, the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Preservation of Upper Limb Function Following Spinal Cord Injury (CPG’s) have served as a valuable evidence-based resource for clinicians and seating/wheeled mobility professionals who work with the SCI population. The recommendations related to wheelchair use are based on extensive research that has examined the effects of the wheelchair’s configuration and the user’s propulsion technique on upper limb function. The recommendations focus on three general areas: Ergonomics, Equipment Selection, and Training., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings from the 2017 ITiCSE Conference on Working Group Reports. As countries adopt computing education for all pupils from primary school upwards, there are challenging indicators: significant proportions of students who choose to study computing at universities fail the introductory courses, and the evidence for links between formal education outcomes and success in CS is limited. Yet, as we know, some students succeed without prior computing experience. Why is this? Some argue for an innate ability, some for motivation, some for the discrepancies between the expectations of instructors and students, and some -- simply -- for how programming is being taught. All agree that becoming proficient in computing is not easy. Our research takes a novel view on the problem and argues that some of that success is influenced by early childhood experiences outside formal education. In this study, we analyzed over 1300 responses to a multi-institutional and multi-national survey that we developed. The survey captures enjoyment of early developmental activities such as childhood toys, games and pastimes between the ages 0 --- 8 as well as later life experiences with computing. We identify unifying features of the computing experiences in later life, and attempt to link these computing experiences to the childhood activities. The analysis indicates that computing proficiency should be seen from multiple viewpoints, including both skill-level and confidence. Our analysis is the first to show, we believe, that particular early childhood experiences are linked to parts of computing proficiency, namely those related to confidence with problem solving using computing technology. These are essential building blocks for more complex use. We recognize issues in the experimental design that may prevent our data showing a link between early activities and more complex computing skills, and suggest adjustments for future studies. Ultimately, we expect that this line of research will feed in to early years and primary education, and thereby improve computing education for all., Peer reviewed, Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of Building Enclosure Science & Technology (BEST2) Conference, Portland, USA, April 12-14, 2010. During design process, building engineers evaluate the performance of various design alternatives in terms of their durability, comfort and indoor air quality, as well as energy efficiency using building envelope, indoor and energy analysis tools, respectively. But, usually the analysis tools are in the form of stand-alone package, where there is no direct link among them but rather simplifying assumptions are made on the other two when designing for one. In this paper, the development and benchmarking of a newly developed whole building hygrothermal model are presented. The model considers the building as a system and accounts for the dynamic heat, air and moisture (HAM) interaction between building envelope components and indoor environmental conditions including HVAC systems, moisture and heat sources. The methodology adopted in this work is to develop and validate two primary models: building envelope and indoor models independently and couple them to form the whole building hygrothermal model. After successful integration of the models, the whole building hygrothermal model is benchmarked against internationally published numerical and experimental test results. The holistic model can be used to assess building enclosures durability, indoor conditions (temperature and relative humidity), occupant comfort, and energy efficiency of a building in an integrated manner., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of 3rd International Conference on the Durability of Concrete Structures, 17-19 September 2012, Queen’s University Belfast. There is nearly unanimous consensus among scientists that increasing greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2 generated by human activity, are affecting the Earth’s climate. One essential area which will be affected is the durability of concrete infrastructure. Past research indicates that climate change will exacerbate the rate of carbonation of reinforced concrete structures, potentially leading to premature corrosion of embedded rebar. Cracking of the covering concrete could further increase carbonation rates, but the extent of the increase is unknown. The purpose of this study is to investigate the carbonation of cracked concrete under accelerated test conditions, and to numerically model the movement of the carbonation front in cracked concrete using the concept of effective diffusivity. It was found that the presence of a deep structural crack in a concrete specimen greatly increases the rate of carbonation, possibly leading to premature, localized corrosion within the specimen. The effect of cracks is likely to be much greater than the effect of increased temperatures and increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations. As a result, emphasis must be placed on designing durable infrastructure and following proper maintenance practices so that cracks are less likely to form, thereby extending the longevity of the structure in question., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings from the First Biannual Conference on Technological Learning and Thinking: Culture, Design, Sustainability, Human Ingenuity held in Vancouver, BC, Canada, 2010., Not peer reviewed, Conference paper
Proceedings of 4th International Building Physics Conference: 15 June 2009, Istanbul, Turkey.
This is the first of a series of papers to present the results of this major project. In this paper, an overview of the project, its objectives and the theoretical approach to determine the WER are presented. A description of air leakage and R-value test procedures, wall samples construction and the experimental results of two walls and a sample of the analytical results of the same two walls will also be presented. Future papers will summa-rise the experimental and analytical results of the remaining walls, along with the results of the computer modeling of the air leakage and thermal performance of all the walls tested in this project., Conference paper, Published. A version of this document is published in: 4th International Building Physics Conference, Istanbul, Turkey, June 15-18, 2009, pp. 1-8.
Proceedings of the 3rd Building Enclosure Science & Technology (BEST3) Conference, Atlanta, USA, April 2-4, 2012. The thermal performance of two innovative pre-fabricated wood-frame wall systems was evaluated in comparison with a conventional 2x6 wood frame wall through one year’s field monitoring on BCIT’s Building Envelope Test Facility. Prefabricated wall system I has 4” Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) infill in the stud cavity with 1” additional EPS added on the interior side of 2x4 wood stud. Prefabricated wall system II has 4” EPS infill in the stud cavity only. The conventional 2x6 wood frame wall has 5-1/2” fiberglass insulation infill in the stud cavity. The effective thermal efficiency of these test walls is evaluated in terms of heat flux, effective in-situ R-values, and temperature distribution. The heat flux measurements show that, in comparison with the conventional 2x6 wood frame wall, prefabricated wall system I with 4” EPS infill in the stud cavity has 5.1% less heat loss and 16% less heat gain and the prefabricated wall system II with 1" extra EPS has 22.9% less heat loss and 37.5% less heat gain. The improvement of thermal efficiency in the prefabricated wall systems is mainly attributed to the significant improvement over the stud areas. Estimated effective R-values over the winter months from December 2008 to March 2009 show that the R-value over the stud area in prefabricated wall system I is improved by 32.7% while the R-value over the cavity area is reduced by 8.7%, resulting in a net improvement of effective wall R-value by 2.9%; and the R-value over the stud area in prefabricated wall system II is improved by 112.3% with only a 2.6% improvement in the R-value over the cavity area, resulting in a net improvement of effective wall R-value by 26.5%. Temperature measurements show that the interior surface temperatures over the stud area in the conventional wall fluctuate much more and are higher during the summer months and lower during the winter months compared to the prefabricated systems, due to the thermal bridging effect of the stud., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of 2012 IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CIBCB) on 9-12 May 2012 in San Diego, CA, USA. We use in silico evolution to study the generation of gene regulatory structures. A particular area of interest in evolutionary development (evo-devo) is the correspondence between gene regulatory sequences on the DNA (cis-regulatory modules, CRMs) and the spatial expression of the genes. We use computation to investigate the incorporation of new CRMs into the genome. Simulations allow us to characterize different cases of CRM to spatial pattern correspondence. Many of these cases are seen in biological examples; our simulations indicate relative advantages of the different scenarios. We find that, in the absence of specific constraints on the CRM-pattern correspondence, CRMs controlling multiple spatial domains tend to evolve very quickly. Genes constrained to a one-to-one CRM-pattern domain correspondence evolve more slowly. Of these, systems in which pattern domains appear in a particular order in evolution, as in insect segmentation mechanisms, take the longest time in in silico evolutionary searches. For biological cases of this type, it is likely that other selective advantages outweigh the time costs., Conference paper, Published.
Proceedings of 8th IAPR International Conference, PRIB 2013, Nice, France, June 17-20, 2013. Early fruit fly embryo development begins with the formation of a chemical blueprint that guides cellular movements and the development of organs and tissues. This blueprint sets the intrinsic spatial coordinates of the embryo. The coordinates are curvilinear from the start, becoming more curvilinear as cells start coherent movements several hours into development. This dynamic aspect of the curvature is an important characteristic of early embryogenesis: characterizing it is crucial for quantitative analysis and dynamic modeling of development. This presents a number of methodological problems for the elastic deformation of 3D and 4D data from confocal microscopy, to standardize images and follow temporal changes. The parameter searches for these deformations present hard optimization problems. Here we describe our evolutionary computation approaches to these problems. We outline some of the immediate applications of these techniques to crucial problems in Drosophila developmental biology., Conference paper, Published.