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Digital, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 11 articles

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11 pages, 220 KiB  
Article
Assistive Technology for Higher Education Students with Disabilities: A Qualitative Research
by Konstantinos Papadopoulos, Eleni Koustriava, Lisander Isaraj, Elena Chronopoulou, Flavio Manganello and Rafael Molina-Carmona
Digital 2024, 4(2), 501-511; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020025 - 23 May 2024
Viewed by 432
Abstract
The objective of this qualitative investigation is to identify the assistive technology recognized by students with disabilities and to determine the assistive technology (software apps and devices) they require both at university and at home. A total of forty-two students, comprising 20 males [...] Read more.
The objective of this qualitative investigation is to identify the assistive technology recognized by students with disabilities and to determine the assistive technology (software apps and devices) they require both at university and at home. A total of forty-two students, comprising 20 males and 22 females, were recruited from four different countries (Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain) for participation in this study. The sample encompassed 10 students with visual impairments, 11 with hearing impairments, 11 with mobility impairments, and 10 with specific learning disabilities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the students either online or in person. Content analysis was employed to scrutinize the data obtained from these interviews. The outcomes of this analysis shed light on the assistive technology acknowledged, utilized, or desired by students with disabilities in both academic and domestic settings. The findings from this study carry practical implications for fostering inclusive and accessible education within higher education institutions, benefiting accessibility units/offices staff as well as teaching personnel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital in 2024)
18 pages, 457 KiB  
Article
A Method for Solving Problems in Acquiring Communication Logs on End Hosts
by Youji Fukuta, Yoshiaki Shiraishi, Masanori Hirotomo and Masami Mohri
Digital 2024, 4(2), 483-500; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020024 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 312
Abstract
In the process of collecting evidence of activities and events in network devices, there are problems with content and storage, and we aim to solve the problems faced by network devices in network forensics. In this paper, we propose a simple method for [...] Read more.
In the process of collecting evidence of activities and events in network devices, there are problems with content and storage, and we aim to solve the problems faced by network devices in network forensics. In this paper, we propose a simple method for solving the problems with content and storage in acquiring communication logs on end hosts, implement a sniffing tool that captures raw packets with communication event control, compare it with existing tools, and conduct experiments and considerations. Through these experiments and considerations, we confirmed that the proposed communication log acquisition method can be implemented on the end host, and that the problem can be solved by using a tool that implements the proposed method. Also, we confirmed that it can be applied to real-world communication log collection scenarios, and that it can coexist with existing systems and tools that collect communication logs. Full article
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22 pages, 1375 KiB  
Article
Digital K–12 STEM Education through Human–Robot Interaction: Investigation on Prerequisites
by S. M. Mizanoor Rahman
Digital 2024, 4(2), 461-482; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020023 - 13 May 2024
Viewed by 294
Abstract
This article aims to explore, investigate, and determine the prerequisites that learners (students) should possess for participating in and being adequately benefitted from digital (robotics-enabled) K–12 STEM education offered through intuitive human–robot interaction. We selected 23 middle school mathematics and science teachers who [...] Read more.
This article aims to explore, investigate, and determine the prerequisites that learners (students) should possess for participating in and being adequately benefitted from digital (robotics-enabled) K–12 STEM education offered through intuitive human–robot interaction. We selected 23 middle school mathematics and science teachers who received training on how to design, develop, and implement robotics-enabled lessons. The teachers then implemented robotics-enabled lessons in actual classroom settings, and separately responded to a survey based on their training, classroom experiences and observations, and self-brainstorming. We derived a set of prerequisite knowledge, skills, and abilities, including their relative importance for the students by analyzing the survey responses. The results showed that the students should not only possess prerequisite knowledge in the subject matter, but also possess behavioral, social, scientific, cognitive, and intellectual skills and abilities to participate in and receive benefits from robotics-enabled human–robot interactive digital STEM education. Out of the many prerequisites, the computational thinking ability of students was identified as one of the most required prerequisites to participate in robotics-enabled digital STEM education. To validate the derived prerequisites, teachers separately assessed the fulfillment of prerequisites by 38 participating students, and the results showed user acceptance, effectiveness, and suitability of the derived prerequisites set. We also identified a set of limitations of the studies and proposed action plans to enable students to meet the prerequisites. The results presented herein can help determine required instructional efforts and scaffolds before implementing robotics-enabled digital STEM lessons, and thus foster incorporating technology-enhanced (robotics-enabled) digital STEM education into K–12 curricula. Full article
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15 pages, 4056 KiB  
Article
Advanced Swine Management: Infrared Imaging for Precise Localization of Reproductive Organs in Livestock Monitoring
by Iyad Almadani, Brandon Ramos, Mohammed Abuhussein and Aaron L. Robinson
Digital 2024, 4(2), 446-460; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020022 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Traditional methods for predicting sow reproductive cycles are not only costly but also demand a larger workforce, exposing workers to respiratory toxins, repetitive stress injuries, and chronic pain. This occupational hazard can even lead to mental health issues due to repeated exposure to [...] Read more.
Traditional methods for predicting sow reproductive cycles are not only costly but also demand a larger workforce, exposing workers to respiratory toxins, repetitive stress injuries, and chronic pain. This occupational hazard can even lead to mental health issues due to repeated exposure to violence. Managing health and welfare issues becomes pivotal in group-housed animal settings, where individual care is challenging on large farms with limited staff. The necessity for computer vision systems to analyze sow behavior and detect deviations indicative of health problems is apparent. Beyond observing changes in behavior and physical traits, computer vision can accurately detect estrus based on vulva characteristics and analyze thermal imagery for temperature changes, which are crucial indicators of estrus. By automating estrus detection, farms can significantly enhance breeding efficiency, ensuring optimal timing for insemination. These systems work continuously, promptly alerting staff to anomalies for early intervention. In this research, we propose part of the solution by utilizing an image segmentation model to localize the vulva. We created our technique to identify vulvae on pig farms using infrared imagery. To accomplish this, we initially isolate the vulva region by enclosing it within a red rectangle and then generate vulva masks by applying a threshold to the red area. The system is trained using U-Net semantic segmentation, where the input for the system consists of grayscale images and their corresponding masks. We utilize U-Net semantic segmentation to find the vulva in the input image, making it lightweight, simple, and robust enough to be tested on many images. To evaluate the performance of our model, we employ the intersection over union (IOU) metric, which is a suitable indicator for determining the model’s robustness. For the segmentation model, a prediction is generally considered ‘good’ when the intersection over union score surpasses 0.5. Our model achieved this criterion with a score of 0.58, surpassing the scores of alternative methods such as the SVM with Gabor (0.515) and YOLOv3 (0.52). Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Artificial Intelligence Models, Tools and Applications)
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21 pages, 2384 KiB  
Review
A Benchmarking Study of Irrigation Advisory Platforms
by Soukaina Boujdi, Abdelkhalek Ezzahri, Mourad Bouziani, Reda Yaagoubi and Lahcen Kenny
Digital 2024, 4(2), 425-445; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020021 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 381
Abstract
In the contemporary agricultural landscape, agriculture faces four pressing demands: competitiveness, ensuring food security for a growing population, environmental sustainability, and providing farmers with acceptable living conditions. To meet this global challenge, digital technologies represent a major avenue for innovation and development towards [...] Read more.
In the contemporary agricultural landscape, agriculture faces four pressing demands: competitiveness, ensuring food security for a growing population, environmental sustainability, and providing farmers with acceptable living conditions. To meet this global challenge, digital technologies represent a major avenue for innovation and development towards modernized digital agriculture. In this context, irrigation advisory platforms have proven to be transformational tools for both farmers and policymakers, offering insights into the appropriate crop water requirements. This article presents a benchmarking analysis of around 20 professional irrigation advisory platforms. The methodology involves selecting 20 platforms based on accessibility ensuring geographical characteristic diversity. Our findings highlight key criteria shaping the ecosystem of such platforms, including the services offered and their objectives, the types of covered crops, the target users, the form, as well as the source, the availability of the platform, and the variety of data utilized. Lastly, we discuss the main conclusions drawn from our analysis and provide insights into the challenges and future perspectives of irrigation advisory platforms in enhancing agricultural practices and sustainability. Full article
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15 pages, 3776 KiB  
Article
Empowering Community Clinical Triage through Innovative Data-Driven Machine Learning
by Binu M. Suresh and Nitsa J. Herzog
Digital 2024, 4(2), 410-424; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020020 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 495
Abstract
Efficient triaging and referral assessments are critical in ensuring prompt medical intervention in the community healthcare (CHC) system. However, the existing triaging systems in many community health services are an intensive, time-consuming process and often lack accuracy, particularly for various symptoms which might [...] Read more.
Efficient triaging and referral assessments are critical in ensuring prompt medical intervention in the community healthcare (CHC) system. However, the existing triaging systems in many community health services are an intensive, time-consuming process and often lack accuracy, particularly for various symptoms which might represent heart failure or other health-threatening conditions. There is a noticeable limit of research papers describing AI technologies for triaging patients. This paper proposes a novel quantitative data-driven approach using machine learning (ML) modelling to improve the community clinical triaging process. Furthermore, this study aims to employ the feature selection process and machine learning power to reduce the triaging process’s waiting time and increase accuracy in clinical decision making. The model was trained on medical records from a dataset of patients with “Heart Failure”, which included demographics, past medical history, vital signs, medications, and clinical symptoms. A comparative study was conducted using a variety of machine learning algorithms, where XGBoost demonstrated the best performance among the other ML models. The triage levels of 2,35,982 patients achieved an accuracy of 99.94%, a precision of 0.9986, a recall of 0.9958, and an F1-score of 0.9972. The proposed diagnostic model can be implemented for the CHC decision system and be developed further for other medical conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital in 2024)
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21 pages, 2924 KiB  
Article
A Digital Vaccination Pass Using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources: A Proof of Concept
by Tobias Klausen, Valentin Hartig, Dominik Fuchs, Nils Krueger, Vincent Melchior Jeltsch, Raffael Bild and Raphael Scheible
Digital 2024, 4(2), 389-409; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020019 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 504
Abstract
The traditional manual recording of vaccination records in Germany faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the introduction of a COVID smartphone app with QR codes. However, this solution brought new challenges, emphasizing the need for a centrally managed European digital vaccination record [...] Read more.
The traditional manual recording of vaccination records in Germany faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the introduction of a COVID smartphone app with QR codes. However, this solution brought new challenges, emphasizing the need for a centrally managed European digital vaccination record for efficiency and validity. This study assesses the feasibility of using the HL7 FHIR standard in the healthcare industry for implementing a digital vaccination pass management and monitoring system. The system aims to offer convenience and improved efficiency for both patients and healthcare providers while promoting interoperability with other healthcare systems. To this end, we developed a prototype using modern technologies, such as React, Quarkus, and Keycloak. Results indicate potential benefits for patients and healthcare providers, offering access to immunization records, personalized recommendations, and streamlined management. However, integrating nuanced vaccination processes into the standardized FHIR system requires custom extensions, which might hinder interoperability. Manual data entry and the integration of an identity provider present further obstacles in industry scenarios. Despite these challenges, this study suggests that implementing HL7 FHIR can enhance efficiency, data accessibility, and accuracy in the vaccination process, supporting broader digitization efforts in the German healthcare system and beyond. Full article
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17 pages, 887 KiB  
Article
Key Challenges of Cloud Computing Resource Allocation in Small and Medium Enterprises
by Abdulghafour Mohammad and Yasir Abbas
Digital 2024, 4(2), 372-388; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020018 - 23 Apr 2024
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Although cloud computing offers many benefits, such as flexibility, scalability, and profitability, some small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are still unable to fully utilize cloud resources, such as memory, computing power, storage, and network bandwidth. This reduces their productivity and increases their expenses. [...] Read more.
Although cloud computing offers many benefits, such as flexibility, scalability, and profitability, some small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are still unable to fully utilize cloud resources, such as memory, computing power, storage, and network bandwidth. This reduces their productivity and increases their expenses. Therefore, the central objective of this paper was to examine the key challenges related to the allocation of cloud computing resources in small and medium enterprises. The method used for this study is based upon qualitative research using 12 interviews with 12 owners, managers, and experts in cloud computing in four countries: the United States of America, the United Kingdom, India, and Pakistan. Our results, based on our empirical data, show 11 key barriers to resource allocation in cloud computing that are classified based on the technology, organization, and environment (TOE) framework. Theoretically, this research contributes to the body of knowledge concerning cloud computing technology and offers valuable understanding of the cloud computing resource allocation approaches employed by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In practice, this research is useful to aid SMEs in implementing successful and sustainable strategies for allocating cloud computing resources. Full article
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39 pages, 5364 KiB  
Article
Data-Driven Enterprise Architecture for Pharmaceutical R&D
by Nailya Uzhakova (née Sabirzyanova) and Stefan Fischer
Digital 2024, 4(2), 333-371; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020017 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 875
Abstract
This paper addresses the research gap in the realm of data-driven transformation by leveraging the Resource-Based View (RBV) theory and the dynamic capabilities concept to the contours of a data-driven enterprise. It confronts the limitations of conventional digital and data transformation programs, which [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the research gap in the realm of data-driven transformation by leveraging the Resource-Based View (RBV) theory and the dynamic capabilities concept to the contours of a data-driven enterprise. It confronts the limitations of conventional digital and data transformation programs, which often prioritize technological enhancements over crucial organizational and cultural shifts. Proposing a more holistic perspective, the Data-Driven Enterprise Architecture Framework (DDA) is introduced, emphasizing the domain decomposition and productization of an architecture, distributed ownership, and federated governance, while ensuring the continuous harmonization of data, application, and business architecture. A case study featuring a leading pharmaceutical company illustrates the practical implementation of the DDA framework as a pillar of their Digital Transformation Strategy. By integrating scalable and distributed data architecture into the overarching Enterprise Architecture landscape, the company has initiated their data-driven transformation journey, showcased through their initial and very early results. This research not only offers valuable insights for pharmaceutical organizations navigating the complexities of data-driven transformations, but also addresses a research gap in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Digital Transformation of Healthcare)
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17 pages, 26443 KiB  
Article
Generative Artificial Intelligence Image Tools among Future Designers: A Usability, User Experience, and Emotional Analysis
by Joana Casteleiro-Pitrez
Digital 2024, 4(2), 316-332; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020016 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 812
Abstract
Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) image tools hold the promise of revolutionizing a designer’s creative process. The increasing supply of this type of tool leads us to consider whether they suit future design professionals. This study aims to unveil if three GenAI image tools—Midjourney [...] Read more.
Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) image tools hold the promise of revolutionizing a designer’s creative process. The increasing supply of this type of tool leads us to consider whether they suit future design professionals. This study aims to unveil if three GenAI image tools—Midjourney 5.2, DreamStudio beta, and Adobe Firefly 2—meet future designers’ expectations. Do these tools have good Usability, show sufficient User Experience (UX), induce positive emotions, and provide satisfactory results? A literature review was performed, and a quantitative empirical study based on a multidimensional analysis was executed to answer the research questions. Sixty users used the GenAI image tools and then responded to a holistic evaluation framework. The results showed that while the GenAI image tools received favorable ratings for Usability, they fell short in achieving high scores, indicating room for improvement. None of the platforms received a positive evaluation in all UX scales, highlighting areas for enhancement. The benchmark comparison revealed that all platforms, except for Adobe Firefly’s Efficiency scale, require enhancements in pragmatic and hedonic qualities. Despite inducing neutral to above-average positive emotions and minimal negative emotions, the overall satisfaction was moderate, with Midjourney aligning more closely with user expectations. This study emphasizes the need for significant improvements in Usability, positive emotional resonance, and result satisfaction, even more so in UX, so that GenAI image tools can meet future designers’ expectations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital in 2024)
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14 pages, 298 KiB  
Review
Digital Communication in the Age of Immediacy
by Luís Miguel Pedrero-Esteban and Andrés Barrios-Rubio
Digital 2024, 4(2), 302-315; https://doi.org/10.3390/digital4020015 - 31 Mar 2024
Viewed by 923
Abstract
The media has become a central aspect of everyday life, providing information and entertainment, and serving as a basis for citizen consumption. The content that appears on the internet today is the result of numerous experiences accumulated throughout the history of media, particularly [...] Read more.
The media has become a central aspect of everyday life, providing information and entertainment, and serving as a basis for citizen consumption. The content that appears on the internet today is the result of numerous experiences accumulated throughout the history of media, particularly in the last four decades of technological and social development. The following text analyses how the hybridisation of analogue and digital technologies affects audience consumption patterns and expectations, leading to a more flexible relationship with the media. This study employed a theoretical examination of documentary sources, including texts, articles, and digital materials. The findings indicate a shift from simple, vertical, and linear communication systems to networks that enable horizontal and personalised consumption. The conclusion drawn is that technology has redefined structures and concepts, with the smartphone serving as the focal point of media consumption. Living culture is shaped by technology, because the message, more than the specific content, is the meaning, recognition, and exchange of a world that needs to be re-thought. Full article
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