17 January 2018

Research Picks Weekly – 17 Jan 2018

Patient patients
Successful treatment of patients in hospital emergency departments often depends on timeliness of the healthcare they receive. Often, congestion at busy or otherwise demanding times can compromise the work of doctors, nurses, and others involved in looking after emergency patients. Now, researchers from Ireland and the UK have examine the flow of patients through the emergency department of a large suburban acute general hospital in Ireland over the course of a year. They looked at the various factors that influence overcrowding and congestion, including patient-related factors and hospital-related factors. However, it seems that time of day and day of arrival are the main influencers of congestion in this hospital and so these might be addressed through changes to staffing levels when that is possible based on these temporal factors.
Brady, M., Kumar, V., Byrne, P.J., Conyngham, G., Liston, P. and Gilligan, P. (2017) ‘Towards a model of emergency department congestion’, Int. J. Healthcare Technology and Management, Vol. 16, Nos. 3/4, pp.303-318; DOI: 10.1504/IJHTM.2017.088870

Micro malting
Small, independent “craft” breweries are becoming big business. Researchers in Italy point out that craft producers give their brews a strong added value and local character through artisanal production techniques. One of the more stand out methods they use to distinguish the character of their lager beers is to use malt made from small batches of local cereal. A team from Università degli Studi di Palermo reports on the economics of profitability and cost-benefit analysis (CBA) for the workings of small breweries. The team suggests that presence of local maltsters could be a valuable tool to increase the added value of local products, following the trend in production sustainability, given that such micro-malting facilities are not widespread in Sicily not Italy, their development as a localized industry represents a significant opportunity for new commerce in this area.
Alfeo, V., Todaro, A., Asciuto, A., Borsellino, V. and Schimmenti, E. (2017) ‘New development opportunities for the craft brewing segment: the case study of a micro-malthouse’, Int. J. Globalisation and Small Business, Vol. 9, Nos. 2/3, pp.105-119; DOI: 10.1504/IJGSB.2017.10009848

Micro power for lighting and farming

Sustainability is high on the global agenda but it can become manifest through highly localized activities. Researchers in Nigeria have investigated how micro-hydro electricity-generation systems might be improved through examination of their mechanical torque and electrical power schemes and the development of a multiplier gear train to boost thermodynamic efficiency. Indeed, their tests with a micro-hydro power generator compensate for low hydraulic head using such a multiplier and allow the water to run the system at over 1250 revolutions per minute, a much more effective generation speed than the 200 rpm available without the basic device and no multiplier. The result is that a simple 12 Watt generator can be effectively upgraded to almost 125 Watts. Even when accounting for mechanical losses due to friction and vibration, the electrical power output could serve many lighting applications in a remote village or be used to drive farm equipment, such as dairy mixers and fertilizer reactors.
Odesola, I.F., Ige, E.O. and Akinsulie, O.A. (2017) ‘Harvesting mechanical torque and electrical power in a micro-hydro power system: effect of multiplier gear train’, Progress in Industrial Ecology – An International Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp.182–194; DOI: 10.1504/PIE.2017.088871

Clearing the blindspot

Researchers in India report that almost two-thirds of road traffic accidents can be blamed on either poor visibility or driver fatigue. Blindspots, glare, weather conditions, and the condition of headlamps often lead to poor visibility. However, it is the presence of blindspots that leads to most accidents associated with poor visibility. The team has turned their attention to driver seat design to help reduce this problem and thus reduce the incidence of those kinds of road accident. The computer-aided modeling the team has carried out has been demonstrated effective in heavy vehicles, specifically for buses in Southern India. The modeling was based on a hybrid multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) approach for computer aided engineering and technology and a fuzzy analytical hierarchy process. The team suggests that the same hybrid technique might be applied to many other engineering problems in transport.
Vincent, D.S., Pitchipoo, P., Rajini, N. and Rajakarunakaran, S. (2018) ‘Reduction of blind spots in heavy transport vehicles through the optimisation of driver seat design’, Int. J. Computer Aided Engineering and Technology, Vol. 10, Nos. 1/2, pp.3-14; DOI: 10.1504/IJCAET.2018.088823

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