8 April 2018

Research Picks – 8 Apr 2018

Saturn’s SIREN call
Small spacecraft have proliferated in recent years, largely thanks to NASA’s development of the CubeSat standard. Now, a Canadian team hopes that one such team of small spacecraft, going by the name of SIREN, will be able to investigate Saturn’s icy rings. The mothership for these smaller craft is based on the Saturn Ring Observer spacecraft and will deploy the smaller fleet from orbit around the gas giant. SIREN will allow in situ sampling of the environment of Saturn’s rings and of some of the particles comprising the rings themselves sometime between the years 2030 and 2040.
Shear, E.M. and Moores, J.E. (2018) ‘Saturn ice ring exploration network mission platform’, Int. J. Space Science and Engineering, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.16–42.

Computers gathering dust
Computer-enhanced movies, animated features, video games, virtual reality applications and much more could benefit from more realistic natural phenomenon and efficient ways to render them visually in the computer. Now, a team from Malaysia has found a way to render dust particles in the air in a realistic manner. Their computer model realistically shows the scattering of light from dust particles in a three-dimensional space that could be used in creating a realistic dusty street scene, a darkened, shadowy room with light creeping in, and many other scenes. Rendering shafts of light and realistic shadows are what give the system its realism in reproducing how a scene would look were it pervaded with dust particles.
Ali, H.H., Sunar, M.S. and Kolivand, H. (2018) ‘Interactive rendering of light scattering in dust molecules using particle systems’, Int. J. Computer Aided Engineering and Technology, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp.274–286.

Making all online courses free
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are commonly free courses offered with a range of options by universities and other educational establishments. They allow students anywhere in the world to take part in the education they offer virtually. There are critics of the free system, but researchers in India suggest that for their country at least efforts should be made to improve education and MOOCs have a useful role to play. They suggest that once MOOCs become available for primary education they will become a truly disruptive technology enabling near-universal education where it may well have been limited in many ways before. This could serve the nation well in the future allowing it to raise educated young people to address the country’s many problems.
Mohapatra, S. and Mohanty, R. (2018) ‘Making online courses free for everyone – an empirical study to determine the feasibility’, Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp.403–430.

Social housing in the UK
A preliminary investigation to understand customer perception and expectations of service delivery in relation to social housing within the UK has been undertaken by a team based at Nottingham Trent University. The research shows that there are many factors affecting customer expectations including quality of accommodation, fair rent, value for money, services, and the quality of repairs undertaken either as part of day to day repairs or in the form of planned maintenance. The findings could help inform tenants and landlords alike to improve the status of social housing.
Sagoo, A. and Khalfan, M.M.A. (2017) ‘What do customers expect from social housing providers in the UK?’, Int. J. Sustainable Society, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp.294–310.

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