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Haptic Discrimination of Object Size via Tactile Sensation vs. Vibratory Sensory Substitution

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Humans rely on a complex interworking of visual, tactile and proprioceptive feedback to accomplish even the most simple of daily tasks. These senses work together to provide information about the size, weight, shape, density, and texture of objects being interacted

Humans rely on a complex interworking of visual, tactile and proprioceptive feedback to accomplish even the most simple of daily tasks. These senses work together to provide information about the size, weight, shape, density, and texture of objects being interacted with. While vision is highly relied upon for many tasks, especially those involving accurate reaches, people can typically accomplish common daily skills without constant visual feedback, instead relying on tactile and proprioceptive cues. Amputees using prosthetic hands, however, do not currently have access to such cues, making these tasks impossible. This experiment was designed to test whether vibratory haptic cues could be used in replacement of tactile feedback to signal contact for a size discrimination task. Two experiments were run in which subjects were asked to identify changes in block size between consecutive trials using wither physical or virtual blocks to test the accuracy of size discrimination using tactile and haptic feedback, respectively. Blocks randomly increased or decreased in size in increments of 2 to 12 mm between trials for both experiments. This experiment showed that subjects were significantly better at determining size changes using tactile feedback than vibratory haptic cues. This suggests that, while haptic feedback can technically be used to grasp and discriminate between objects of different sizes, it does not lend the same level of input as tactile cues.

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2015-05

Jan Dismas Zelenka: Complete chamber music I

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2006-11-03

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Furniture longevity: how mass-produced heirloom furniture supports sustainable consumption

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In recent years, the length of time people use and keep belongings has decreased. With the acceptance of short-lived furniture and inexpensive replacements, the American mentality has shifted to thinking that discarding furniture is normal, often in the guise of

In recent years, the length of time people use and keep belongings has decreased. With the acceptance of short-lived furniture and inexpensive replacements, the American mentality has shifted to thinking that discarding furniture is normal, often in the guise of recycling. Americans are addicted to landfills. The high cost of landfill real estate and other considerable ecological impacts created by the manufacturing of furniture should persuade people to give their belongings a longer life, but in reality, furniture is often prematurely discarded. This grounded theory study takes a multi-method approach to analyze why some types of furniture are kept longer and to theorize about new ways to design and sell furniture that lasts well past its warranty. Case studies bring new insight into designer intention, manufacturer intent, the world of auction-worthy collectables and heirlooms, why there is a booming second-hand furniture market and the growing importance of informed interior designers and architects who specify or help clients choose interior furnishings. An environmental life cycle assessment compares how the length of furniture life affects environmental impacts. A product's life could continue for generations if properly maintained. Designers and manufacturers hoping to promote longevity can apply the conclusions of this report in bringing new pieces to the market that have a much longer life span. This study finds areas of opportunity that promote user attachment, anticipate future repurposing, and provide services. This thinking envisions a paradigm for furniture that can re-invent itself over multiple generations of users, and ultimately lead to a new wave of desirable heirloom furniture.

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2011

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Schooling choice during structural transformation

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This dissertation consists of two essays. The first measures the degree to which schooling accounts for differences in industry value added per worker. Using a sample of 107 economies and seven industries, the paper considers the patterns in the education

This dissertation consists of two essays. The first measures the degree to which schooling accounts for differences in industry value added per worker. Using a sample of 107 economies and seven industries, the paper considers the patterns in the education levels of various industries and their relative value added per worker. Agriculture has notably less schooling and is less productive than other sectors, while a group of services including financial services, education and health care has higher rates of schooling and higher value added per worker. The essay finds that in the case of these specific industries education is important in explaining sector differences, and the role of education all other industries are less defined. The second essay provides theory to investigate the relationship between agriculture and schooling. During structural transformation, workers shift from the agriculture sector with relatively low schooling to other sectors which have more schooling. This essay explores to what extent changes in the costs of acquiring schooling drive structural transformation using a multi-sector growth model which includes a schooling choice. The model is disciplined using cross country data on sector of employment and schooling constructed from the IPUM International census collection. Counterfactual exercises are used to determine how much structural transformation is accounted for by changes in the cost of acquiring schooling. These changes account for small shares of structural transformation in all economies with a median near zero.

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2011

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Laboratory determination of hydraulic conductivity functions for unsaturated cracked fine grained soil

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In geotechnical engineering, measuring the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of fine grained soils can be time consuming and tedious. The various applications that require knowledge of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function are great, and in geotechnical engineering, they range from

In geotechnical engineering, measuring the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of fine grained soils can be time consuming and tedious. The various applications that require knowledge of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function are great, and in geotechnical engineering, they range from modeling seepage through landfill covers to determining infiltration of water under a building slab. The unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function can be measured using various direct and indirect techniques. The instantaneous profile method has been found to be the most promising unsteady state method for measuring the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function for fine grained soils over a wide range of suction values. The instantaneous profile method can be modified by using different techniques to measure suction and water content and also through the way water is introduced or removed from the soil profile. In this study, the instantaneous profile method was modified by creating duplicate soil samples compacted into cylindrical tubes at two different water contents. The techniques used in the duplicate method to measure the water content and matric suction included volumetric moisture probes, manual water content measurements, and filter paper tests. The experimental testing conducted in this study provided insight into determining the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity using the instantaneous profile method for a sandy clay soil and recommendations are provided for further evaluation. Overall, this study has demonstrated that the presence of cracks has no significant impact on the hydraulic behavior of soil in high suction ranges. The results of this study do not examine the behavior of cracked soil unsaturated hydraulic conductivity at low suction and at moisture contents near saturation.

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2011

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The emergence and scaling of division of labor in insect societies

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Division of labor, whereby different group members perform different functions, is a fundamental attribute of sociality. It appears across social systems, from simple cooperative groups to complex eusocial colonies. A core challenge in sociobiology is to explain how patterns of

Division of labor, whereby different group members perform different functions, is a fundamental attribute of sociality. It appears across social systems, from simple cooperative groups to complex eusocial colonies. A core challenge in sociobiology is to explain how patterns of collective organization are generated. Theoretical models propose that division of labor self-organizes, or emerges, from interactions among group members and the environment; division of labor is also predicted to scale positively with group size. I empirically investigated the emergence and scaling of division of labor in evolutionarily incipient groups of sweat bees and in eusocial colonies of harvester ants. To test whether division of labor is an emergent property of group living during early social evolution, I created de novo communal groups of the normally solitary sweat bee Lasioglossum (Ctenonomia) NDA-1. A division of labor repeatedly arose between nest excavation and guarding tasks; results were consistent with hypothesized effects of spatial organization and intrinsic behavioral variability. Moreover, an experimental increase in group size spontaneously promoted higher task specialization and division of labor. Next, I examined the influence of colony size on division of labor in larger, more integrated colonies of the harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus. Division of labor scaled positively with colony size in two contexts: during early colony ontogeny, as colonies grew from tens to hundreds of workers, and among same-aged colonies that varied naturally in size. However, manipulation of colony size did not elicit a short-term response, suggesting that the scaling of division of labor in P. californicus colonies is a product of functional integration and underlying developmental processes, rather than a purely emergent epiphenomenon. This research provides novel insights into the organization of work in insect societies, and raises broader questions about the role of size in sociobiology.

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2011