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Signals, Volume 5, Issue 1 (March 2024) – 9 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We consider the challenge of detecting and clustering point and collective anomalies in streaming data that exhibit significant nonlinearities and seasonal structures. We propose a new method that combines the nonlinear autoregressive exogenous models with the sequential collective and point anomaly framework to identify real-time anomalies. It clusters the detected anomalies with fuzzy c-means clustering using empirical cumulative distribution functions. The new method has succeeded in online detecting and clustering point, split, interference, and shift anomalies for non-stationary time series, and it can also be extended to the signal processing of multichannel data streams. View this paper
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16 pages, 3607 KiB  
Review
A Review of Recent Advancements in Knock Detection in Spark Ignition Engines
by Vikram Mittal
Signals 2024, 5(1), 165-180; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010009 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 563
Abstract
In gasoline engines, the combustion process involves a flame’s propagation from the spark plug to the cylinder walls, resulting in the localized heating and pressurization of the cylinder content ahead of the flame, which can lead to the autoignition of the gasoline and [...] Read more.
In gasoline engines, the combustion process involves a flame’s propagation from the spark plug to the cylinder walls, resulting in the localized heating and pressurization of the cylinder content ahead of the flame, which can lead to the autoignition of the gasoline and air. The energy release from the autoignition event causes the engine cylinder to resonate, causing an unpleasant noise and eventual engine damage. This process is termed as knock. Avoiding knock has resulted in limiting the maximum engine pressures, and hence limiting the maximum efficiencies of the engine. Modern engines employ knock sensors to detect resonances, adjusting the spark plug timing to reduce pressures and temperatures, albeit at the expense of engine performance. This paper sets out to review the different signals that can be measured from an engine to detect the start of knock. These signals traditionally consist of the in-cylinder pressure, the vibrations of the engine block, and acoustic noise. This paper reviews each of these techniques, with a focus on recent advances. A number of novel methods are also presented, including identifying perturbations in the engine speed or exhaust temperature; measuring the ion charge across the spark plug leads; and using artificial intelligence to build models based on engine conditions. Each of these approaches is also reviewed and compared to the more traditional approaches. This review finds that in-cylinder pressure measurements remain as the most accurate for detecting knock in modern engines; however, their usage is limited to research settings. Meanwhile, new sensors and processing techniques for vibration measurements will more accurately detect knock in modern vehicles in the short term. Acoustic measurements and other novel approaches are showing promise in the long term. Full article
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18 pages, 4627 KiB  
Article
ApeTI: A Thermal Image Dataset for Face and Nose Segmentation with Apes
by Pierre-Etienne Martin
Signals 2024, 5(1), 147-164; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010008 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 370
Abstract
The ApeTI dataset was built with the aim of retrieving physiological signals such as heart rate, breath rate, and cognitive load from thermal images of great apes. We want to develop computer vision tools that psychologists and animal behavior researchers can use to [...] Read more.
The ApeTI dataset was built with the aim of retrieving physiological signals such as heart rate, breath rate, and cognitive load from thermal images of great apes. We want to develop computer vision tools that psychologists and animal behavior researchers can use to retrieve physiological signals noninvasively. Our goal is to increase the use of a thermal imaging modality in the community and avoid using more invasive recording methods to answer research questions. The first step to retrieving physiological signals from thermal imaging is their spatial segmentation to then analyze the time series of the regions of interest. For this purpose, we present a thermal imaging dataset based on recordings of chimpanzees with their face and nose annotated using a bounding box and nine landmarks. The face and landmarks’ locations can then be used to extract physiological signals. The dataset was acquired using a thermal camera at the Leipzig Zoo. Juice was provided in the vicinity of the camera to encourage the chimpanzee to approach and have a good view of the face. Several computer vision methods are presented and evaluated on this dataset. We reach mAPs of 0.74 for face detection and 0.98 for landmark estimation using our proposed combination of the Tifa and Tina models inspired by the HRNet models. A proof of concept of the model is presented for physiological signal retrieval but requires further investigation to be evaluated. The dataset and the implementation of the Tina and Tifa models are available to the scientific community for performance comparison or further applications. Full article
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29 pages, 11556 KiB  
Article
A Complete Pipeline for Heart Rate Extraction from Infant ECGs
by Harry T. Mason, Astrid Priscilla Martinez-Cedillo, Quoc C. Vuong, Maria Carmen Garcia-de-Soria, Stephen Smith, Elena Geangu and Marina I. Knight
Signals 2024, 5(1), 118-146; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010007 - 13 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 729
Abstract
Infant electrocardiograms (ECGs) and heart rates (HRs) are very useful biosignals for psychological research and clinical work, but can be hard to analyse properly, particularly longform (≥5 min) recordings taken in naturalistic environments. Infant HRs are typically much faster than adult HRs, and [...] Read more.
Infant electrocardiograms (ECGs) and heart rates (HRs) are very useful biosignals for psychological research and clinical work, but can be hard to analyse properly, particularly longform (≥5 min) recordings taken in naturalistic environments. Infant HRs are typically much faster than adult HRs, and so some of the underlying frequency assumptions made about adult ECGs may not hold for infants. However, the bulk of publicly available ECG approaches focus on adult data. Here, existing open source ECG approaches are tested on infant datasets. The best-performing open source method is then modified to maximise its performance on infant data (e.g., including a 15 Hz high-pass filter, adding local peak correction). The HR signal is then subsequently analysed, developing an approach for cleaning data with separate sets of parameters for the analysis of cleaner and noisier HRs. A Signal Quality Index (SQI) for HR is also developed, providing insights into where a signal is recoverable and where it is not, allowing for more confidence in the analysis performed on naturalistic recordings. The tools developed and reported in this paper provide a base for the future analysis of infant ECGs and related biophysical characteristics. Of particular importance, the proposed solutions outlined here can be efficiently applied to real-world, large datasets. Full article
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13 pages, 4542 KiB  
Article
Study of Time–Frequency Domain of Acoustic Emission Precursors in Rock Failure during Uniaxial Compression
by Gang Jing, Pedro Marin Montanari and Giuseppe Lacidogna
Signals 2024, 5(1), 105-117; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010006 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 366
Abstract
Predicting rock bursts is essential for maintaining worker safety and the long-term growth of subsurface infrastructure. The purpose of this study is to investigate the precursor reactions and processes of rock instability. To determine the degree of rock damage, the research examines the [...] Read more.
Predicting rock bursts is essential for maintaining worker safety and the long-term growth of subsurface infrastructure. The purpose of this study is to investigate the precursor reactions and processes of rock instability. To determine the degree of rock damage, the research examines the time-varying acoustic emission (AE) features that occur when rocks are compressed uniaxially and introduces AE parameters such as the b-value, γ-value, and βt-value. The findings suggest that the evolution of rock damage during loading is adequately reflected by the b-value, γ-value, and βt-value. The relationships between b-value, γ-value, and βt-value are studied, as well as the possibility of using these three metrics as early-warning systems for rock failure. Full article
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18 pages, 2663 KiB  
Article
Object Detection with Hyperparameter and Image Enhancement Optimisation for a Smart and Lean Pick-and-Place Solution
by Elven Kee, Jun Jie Chong, Zi Jie Choong and Michael Lau
Signals 2024, 5(1), 87-104; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010005 - 26 Feb 2024
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Pick-and-place operations are an integral part of robotic automation and smart manufacturing. By utilizing deep learning techniques on resource-constraint embedded devices, the pick-and-place operations can be made more accurate, efficient, and sustainable, compared to the high-powered computer solution. In this study, we propose [...] Read more.
Pick-and-place operations are an integral part of robotic automation and smart manufacturing. By utilizing deep learning techniques on resource-constraint embedded devices, the pick-and-place operations can be made more accurate, efficient, and sustainable, compared to the high-powered computer solution. In this study, we propose a new technique for object detection on an embedded system using SSD Mobilenet V2 FPN Lite with the optimisation of the hyperparameter and image enhancement. By increasing the Red Green Blue (RGB) saturation level of the images, we gain a 7% increase in mean Average Precision (mAP) when compared to the control group and a 20% increase in mAP when compared to the COCO 2017 validation dataset. Using a Learning Rate of 0.08 with an Edge Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), we obtain high real-time detection scores of 97%. The high detection scores are important to the control algorithm, which uses the bounding box to send a signal to the collaborative robot for pick-and-place operation. Full article
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27 pages, 15255 KiB  
Article
Investigation of LASSO Regression Method as a Correction Measurements’ Factor for Low-Cost Air Quality Sensors
by Ioannis Christakis, Elena Sarri, Odysseas Tsakiridis and Ilias Stavrakas
Signals 2024, 5(1), 60-86; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010004 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Air quality is a subject of study, particularly in densely populated areas, as it has been shown to affect human health and the local ecosystem. In recent years, with the rapid development of technology, low-cost sensors have emerged, with many people interested in [...] Read more.
Air quality is a subject of study, particularly in densely populated areas, as it has been shown to affect human health and the local ecosystem. In recent years, with the rapid development of technology, low-cost sensors have emerged, with many people interested in the quality of the air in their area turning to the procurement of such sensors as they are affordable. The reliability of measurements from low-cost sensors remains a question in the research community. In this paper, the determination of the correction factor of low-cost sensor measurements by applying the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression method is investigated. The results are promising, as following the application of the correction factor determined through LASSO regression the adjusted measurements exhibit a closer alignment with the reference measurements. This approach ensures that the measurements from low-cost sensors become more reliable and trustworthy. Full article
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20 pages, 6004 KiB  
Article
Online Detection and Fuzzy Clustering of Anomalies in Non-Stationary Time Series
by Changjiang He, David S. Leslie and James A. Grant
Signals 2024, 5(1), 40-59; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010003 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 549
Abstract
We consider the challenge of detecting and clustering point and collective anomalies in streaming data that exhibit significant nonlinearities and seasonal structures. The challenge is motivated by detecting problems in a communications network, where we can measure the throughput of nodes, and wish [...] Read more.
We consider the challenge of detecting and clustering point and collective anomalies in streaming data that exhibit significant nonlinearities and seasonal structures. The challenge is motivated by detecting problems in a communications network, where we can measure the throughput of nodes, and wish to rapidly detect anomalous traffic behaviour. Our approach is to train a neural network-based nonlinear autoregressive exogenous model on initial training data, then to use the sequential collective and point anomaly framework to identify anomalies in the residuals generated by comparing one-step-ahead predictions of the fitted model with the observations, and finally, we cluster the detected anomalies with fuzzy c-means clustering using empirical cumulative distribution functions. The autoregressive model is sufficiently general and robust such that it provides the nearly (locally) stationary residuals required by the anomaly detection procedure. The combined methods are successfully implemented to create an adaptive, robust, computational framework that can be used to cluster point and collective anomalies in streaming data. We validate the method on both data from the core of the UK’s national communications network and the multivariate Skoltech anomaly benchmark and find that the proposed method succeeds in dealing with different forms of anomalies within the nonlinear signals and outperforms conventional methods for anomaly detection and clustering. Full article
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22 pages, 3319 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Jittered Stimulus Onset Interval on Electrophysiological Markers of Attention in a Brain–Computer Interface Rapid Serial Visual Presentation Paradigm
by Daniel Klee, Tab Memmott and Barry Oken
Signals 2024, 5(1), 18-39; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010002 - 09 Jan 2024
Viewed by 682
Abstract
Brain responses to discrete stimuli are modulated when multiple stimuli are presented in sequence. These alterations are especially pronounced when the time course of an evoked response overlaps with responses to subsequent stimuli, such as in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm [...] Read more.
Brain responses to discrete stimuli are modulated when multiple stimuli are presented in sequence. These alterations are especially pronounced when the time course of an evoked response overlaps with responses to subsequent stimuli, such as in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm used to control a brain–computer interface (BCI). The present study explored whether the measurement or classification of select brain responses during RSVP would improve through application of an established technique for dealing with overlapping stimulus presentations, known as irregular or “jittered” stimulus onset interval (SOI). EEG data were collected from 24 healthy adult participants across multiple rounds of RSVP calibration and copy phrase tasks with varying degrees of SOI jitter. Analyses measured three separate brain signals sensitive to attention: N200, P300, and occipitoparietal alpha attenuation. Presentation jitter visibly reduced intrusion of the SSVEP, but in general, it did not positively or negatively affect attention effects, classification, or system performance. Though it remains unclear whether stimulus overlap is detrimental to BCI performance overall, the present study demonstrates that single-trial classification approaches may be resilient to rhythmic intrusions like SSVEP that appear in the averaged EEG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advancing Signal Processing and Analytics of EEG Signals)
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17 pages, 934 KiB  
Article
Complex Parameter Rao and Wald Tests for Assessing the Bandedness of a Complex-Valued Covariance Matrix
by Zhenghan Zhu
Signals 2024, 5(1), 1-17; https://doi.org/10.3390/signals5010001 - 04 Jan 2024
Viewed by 440
Abstract
Banding the inverse of a covariance matrix has become a popular technique for estimating a covariance matrix from a limited number of samples. It is of interest to provide criteria to determine if a matrix is bandable, as well as to test the [...] Read more.
Banding the inverse of a covariance matrix has become a popular technique for estimating a covariance matrix from a limited number of samples. It is of interest to provide criteria to determine if a matrix is bandable, as well as to test the bandedness of a matrix. In this paper, we pose the bandedness testing problem as a hypothesis testing task in statistical signal processing. We then derive two detectors, namely the complex Rao test and the complex Wald test, to test the bandedness of a Cholesky-factor matrix of a covariance matrix’s inverse. Furthermore, in many signal processing fields, such as radar and communications, the covariance matrix and its parameters are often complex-valued; thus, it is of interest to focus on complex-valued cases. The first detector is based on the complex parameter Rao test theorem. It does not require the maximum likelihood estimates of unknown parameters under the alternative hypothesis. We also develop the complex parameter Wald test theorem for general cases and derive the complex Wald test statistic for the bandedness testing problem. Numerical examples and computer simulations are given to evaluate and compare the two detectors’ performance. In addition, we show that the two detectors and the generalized likelihood ratio test are equivalent for the important complex Gaussian linear models and provide an analysis of the root cause of the equivalence. Full article
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