Research Picks Extra – October 2016

Quality food

A clearer understanding of the relationship between food quality and food safety is important to consumers the world over. But, of course, the details of this relationship are particularly poignant for urban consumers with almost unlimited choice of range of food and sources in the shops and markets. Researchers in Slovenia have laid the foundations, through a statistical study of local urbanites to find the right questions to ask in future research in value chain management and related areas of business research. Such work would ultimately have the goal of motivating consumers and nudging the industry towards better nutritional quality

Vukasovic, T. (2015) ‘Food quality and safety: added value in a customer-oriented concept‘, Int. J. Value Chain Management, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp.241-254.

African automobiles

Since the end of the twentieth century, the sub-Saharan African automobile industry has expanded rapidly, as have other areas of industry and commerce. Researchers at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, explain how the expansion of the middle class has led to a massive uplift in demand for vehicles, albeit from a very pedestrian base. Nevertheless, manufacturing is still rather limited and supply does not keep pace with demand. They suggest that the political stance across SSA and not just in the larger countries such as Kenya and Nigeria needs to embed investment and policy strategies to encourage growth and development.

Black, A. and McLennan, T. (2016) ‘The last frontier: prospects and policies for the automotive industry in Africa‘, Int. J. Automotive Technology and Management, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.193-220.

Mind control for robot hands

An interface that takes brain activity signals recorded using an electroencephalogram (EEG) and converts them into control commands for a robotic hand has been developed by researchers in India. The technology can control all five digits of the hand and could have applications in the design and development of prosthetic hands and for new ways to circumvent paralysis. It could also find application human-controlled robotics where health and safety precludes direct human touch but where a subtle grip is needed. The next step will be to optimise the hand’s response and to give the user control of each digit of the hand independently of the others.

Sandesh, R.S. and Venkatesan, N. (2016) ‘LabVIEW-based design and control of five-digit anthropomorphic robotic hand using EEG signals‘, Int. J. Biomedical Engineering and Technology, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp.258-271.

Going batty in the clouds

A fuzzy logic algorithm based on the hunting flight path of a virtual bat could help improve cloud computing services, according to researchers in China. As the complexity of user demands increase, the pressure is own cloud service providers to maintain and even improve quality of service under increasing pressure without accruing additional computational costs. Cloud Service Composition is one way to address the issue of resources. Complexity and scale make the problem CSC a so-called “NP hard” problem, which can be addressed by using fuzzy logic and a naturalistic algorithm in this way.

Xu, B. and Sun, Z. (2016) ‘A fuzzy operator based bat algorithm for cloud service composition‘, Int. J. Wireless and Mobile Computing, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp.42-46.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.