8 March 2018

Research Picks – 8 March 2018

Ethical tourism
Tourism can have a serious detrimental impact on the environment. Air travel aside, most of the effects are localised and might be ameliorated by improved sympathetic infrastructure and design. Indeed, there are efforts at the local, national and even international level to reduce the effects of tourism. Environmental responsibility is important to such efforts and must become an incontrovertible part of the modern tourism industry, suggests research published by researchers from Greece.
“The role of environmental responsibility in tourism” in J. Int Business Entrepreneurship Dev, 2018, 11, 30-39; DOI: 10.1504/JIBED.2018.10005608

Human waste risk

Human waste is rich with bacteria and other pathogens some of which can cause serious illness in the vulnerable – the elderly, immuno-compromised, and infants, among others. A study of Escherichia coli from human waste can cause serious diarrhoea in small children, for instance. A study of indiscriminate waste dumps in informal settlements is the subject of recent research. The work shows that soil from these sites contains many types of pathogenic E coli, all of which represent a public health risk, especially to vulnerable groups and in the present work the under fives. “It is imperative that local government authorities take a collective leading role in combating the spread of indiscriminate dumping to prevent waste-dump exposure, specifically as ecological reservoirs of DEC pathogens in urban informal settlements,” the researchers assert.
“An ecological study of diarrhoeagenic E.coli associated with indiscriminate waste dumps and under five diarrhoea in six informal settlements in Durban, eThekwini Municipality, South Africa” in Int. J. Environ. Waste Manage., 2018, 20, in press; DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2017.090056

Medical watermarking

Watermarking can improve data protection and content enrichment. This is as true in the medical domain as anywhere. Indeed, watermarking can validate a medical image and link it incontrovertibly to the patient and their medical records. Researchers in Tunisia have now developed an adaptive watermarking system using a wavelets-based human visual system (HVS) and a fuzzy inference system (FIS) to embed a digital watermark. The resulting watermark is indelible and yet imperceptible except in instances when it needs to be recovered from the medical image. The team explains that their tests show the watermark to be easy to implement and to resist deliberate attempts at removal including JPEG compression, Gaussian noise, Gaussian blur, median filtering and rotation.
“Watermarking medical images with patient identification to verify authenticity” in Int. J. Med. Eng. Informat., 2018, 10, in press; DOI: 10.1504/IJMEI.2018.090087

You can tell me by the way I walk

Computers can recognise all kinds of biometric patterns – fingerprints, iris, lipstick traces, and more. One particular biometric that would be useful in forensic investigations and for security applications would be recognition of an individual based on how they walk, their gait. There are efficient gait templates that can pin down the features of a person’s gait and might then be used in recognition. However, there is much to develop before computers can unambiguously recognise a person from the gait. Researchers in Iran have taken a step forward along this path and devised a novel template feature, which they refer to as gait salient image. This, they suggest could improve gait recognition significantly. “GSI: efficient spatio-temporal template for human gait recognition” in Int. J. Biometr., 2018, 10, in press; DOI: 10.1504/IJBM.2018.090127

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