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2017-11 28

[Academics][Excellent R&D] Inventing Eyes for Robots

Augmented Reality, self-driving cars, and facial recognition are no longer a technology of future. Such advanced technologies are deep in our daily lives. In order for machines to properly function as they are meant to, they need something called ‘machine vision’. Machine vision (MV) is the technology and method used to provide imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis for such applications as automatic inspection, process control, and robot guidance, usually in industry. And the field that encompasses the subject is Computer Vision, which Lim majors. For December’s Researcher of the Month, News H interviewed Lim Jong-woo (Professor, Department of Computer Science) who recently won a major government project to acquire the source technology for such field. Lim is enthusiastically explaining how the technology can be applied in real lives. For example, with the structure modeling, calculating the altitude of a person's eye level (when wearing an AR/VR glasses) would be possble. The final goal of this four-year project is to develop a high-level video situation recognition technology based on structural modeling and geometrical analysis of images acquired in extremely congested situations such as the real environment. Structural modeling of a video means to draw lines and actually structure the surrounding environment within the video, either in a two-dimensional or three-dimensional form. Up to current technology, a system can process a single object in the video or occasionally multiple objects. However, it is not yet developed for computers to recognize and analyze a ‘congested’ video with dozens of moving objects, which is often the case in real life footage. “If developed further enough, a computer would be able to track irregular paths taken by a suspect from CCTV video and alert us,” mentioned Lim. (Left) Estimation of the structure of a space through existing technology (Right) Provisioned result of structure estimation (Photo courtesy of Lim) One of the ultimate goals of the project is to also integrate multi-object detection and tracking with the environment. “There are a lot of people trying to integrate detection and tracking technology,” said Lim. Because it is highly improbable for researchers to set a model human face for the computer to detect all human faces, integrating such technology with tracking a moving person is even more intricate and difficult. Nevertheless, if it does become reality, computers will be able to read the context of a specific video. For instance, because they can recognize each person, it would be able to write a storyline and understand relationships between characters in a show or a movie. As mentioned in the earlier part of the article, computer vision is a crucial part of augmented reality and autonomous cars. In the case of AR, the computer must be able to structure its environment to decide where to put the virtual object. Also, by such mapping, the machine can change its perspective in accordance with the user’s change of perspective. Furthermore, autonomous cars require even higher accuracy of computer vision in order to detect obstacles and prevent unwanted accidents. Unlike the facial detection of a camera app on our cellphone which is not really a matter of life and death, technology related to transportation has higher standards for that reason. "I aim to research for use, rather than a reasearch for research." Another surprising aspect of this research project plan is that the team will upload their findings on the web, free of charge as an open-source. When asked why not commercialize it, Lim answered “It is mutually beneficial for us to have the crowd test our algorithm and give feedback to us, as we cannot test it in every environment. Also, it is a trend to release algorithms open-source, because most of them fall short to be commercialized yet.” The research has begun this August and will be continued until the end of 2020. News H is looking forward to observing Lim’s progress and the social impact his team will bring. Kim So-yun dash070@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Choi Min-ju

2017-10 23

[Academics]Wastewater Treatment Facility to a Potential Power Plant

"Biomass is the only replacement for fossil fuels," said Jeon with certainty. Biomass is defined as living or recently dead organisms and any byproducts of those organisms, plant or animal. It can be used to produce renewable electricity, thermal energy, or transportation fuels (biofuels). In his recent review article, "Recent progress in microalgal biomass production coupled with wastewater treatment for biofuel generation," Jeon reviewed the technologies required to successfully integrate the two seemingly different areas: wastewater treatment and cultivation of microalgae. Jeon is enthusiastically explaining his recent article and progress of related fields. In order to generate biofuel, a substantial amount of biomass is required. Biomass is found in the natural world, such as in food crops. However, and often times, they are rare and have a low energy yield. Microalgae overcome all of the stated shortcomings. Known as one of the fastest growing life forms on earth, microalgae are found in fresh water or marine systems but can also survive versatile environmental conditions. In other words, microalgae have optimal conditions to be converted into energy. This potential energy source requires abundant Nitrogen and Phosphorus along with diverse minerals, and surprisingly enough, wastewater is a source of such nutrients. With the adequate pre-treatment of wastewater, a sewage disposal plant can turn into a ground for the mass cultivation of microalgae. This particular review article written by Jeon and his colleagues discourse on the advantages and disadvantages of recent progress and research around the world on such point. The reason why Jeon's research team can write such a review article concentrated on the relationship between microalgae and wastewater treatment is because the very research team discovered that wastewater can be used as a type of microalgae farm. "I personally dream to change such disposal plants into energy plants," said Jeon. He mentioned that 0.5% of the national electricity is spent on the wastewater treatment facilities. What if that facility can generate the amount of resource they use? Or even better, utilize the infrastructure to produce even more energy? "Sewage plant is located in every other neighborhood, unlike other power plants such as nuclear or coal plants. If sewage plants can create energy, the town will be a self-sufficient town." A chart explaining the relations among microalgae cultivation facilities, microalgal biomass and how water is purified while generating biofuels. (Photo courtesy of Jeon) In becoming one of the leading labs in the field, Jeon emphasizes looking through the keywords. As a college student, Jeon believed that ‘environment' and ‘energy' are going to be one of the most conversed topics in the future. Environmental engineering and eco-friendly energy came naturally into his pathway, which led Jeon to where he is now. Mentioning the fact that Korea can produce only ca. 0.3% of biogas than that of Germany's, Jeon suggested that the environmental engineering field in Korea still needs further research and development. "The field is very future-oriented," said Jeon. "Among the many topics that are and going to be significant in the coming days, renewable and environmentally friendly energy are some of the areas that engineers can contribute to." Jeon plans to keep working on his dream to convert wastewater facilities into energy-independent, and energy-creating social infrastructure. Jeon is holding a cylinder with microalgae in his lab. Kim So-yun dash070@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Choi Min-ju

2017-08 31

[Academics][Researcher of the Month] What Makes People Pro-Environment?

“Whenever I go on a trip or big festivals, I always worry about all the trashes people throw away. It’s just too much.” Professor Hyun Sung-hyup of the Division of Tourism recently published his paper, "Fostering customers’ pro-environmental behavior at museum". The paper thoroughly investigates the affective and cognitive factors of individuals visiting museums and analyzes which factor has the most impact on their pro-environmental intentions. Hyun emphasized that most people are very environmentally friendly in their house. They recycle well, try not to waste food or water. However, the point is that the very same people behave entirely differently from the moment they leave their house. Trashes are disposed not separately, which then has to be combusted, letting carbon into the air. Tissues, water, food and all kinds of resources are wasted. Hyun wondered what is behind the people’s paradoxical behavior. He also wanted to figure out what needs to be triggered in order to resolve such paradox and to motivate eco-friendly behavior from the general public. A table showing relations of each factor and their effects (Photo courtesy of Hyun) Over the course of a year, Hyun went to a broad range of museums which deal with themes like art, war, and tradition to interview, survey and observe the visitors. From the data collected from 321 tourists, he ran statistical analysis simulation program to construct a conceptual framework that can predict people’s behavior in public spaces. He also sought for professional advice from other fields such as environmental specialists or professors in engineering for further insight. Based on his field research with dozens and hundreds of related papers he studied, Hyun found out that ‘Environmental Knowledge (EK)’ out of five cognitive factors, was the most significant factor in determining one’s environmentally responsible decision-making process. Hyun is explaining the process of his research. Hyun asserted that environmental education on a regular basis is essential. People with more professional knowledge on the vulnerability of the environment or the impact of their action is more inclined to show consistent behavior both in and outside of their home. "It seems like a lot of people lack education regarding the environment in both public and private sectors," said Hyun. Lamenting at such reality, Hyun wishes environmental education to be part of the public education curriculum in the near future. When asked what inspired him to become a researcher in Tourism, Hyun smiled and answered that his professors during college years influenced him a lot. “Hanyang University offers the best curriculum on Tourism, with respectful professors. I always looked up to them.” Hyun said he decided to study further because there are so much intriguing topics to research in the field of Tourism. He encourages future researchers in the field to boldly try out, because tourism is very future oriented, interdisciplinary and economically significant field of study. Hyun himself plans to vigorously research further on issues related with environment and tourism. “Researching while lecturing, mentoring and living personal life is tough but I still enjoy it,” said Hyun, with affection to his work. Kim So-yun dash070@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Choi Min-ju

2017-08 22

[Academics]Beyond the Matter of Life and Death

Most people do not enjoy postoperative scars, especially on the visible parts of their body. Professor Tae Kyung of Department of Medicine recently reported the outcomes of newly developed operation method in his paper “Functional and cosmetic outcomes of robot-assisted neck dissection by a postauricular facelift approach for head and neck cancer”. As from the title Tae’s research compared surgical outcomes of both conventional neck dissection and his new facelift approach, which takes cosmetic aspects of the patients into account. “Nowadays, it is more than just life and death. Quality of life after the operation is also important.” (Photo courtesy of Tae) In the case of patients with head and neck cancer, cancer cell often spreads to the lymph node of cervical (neck) area. The conventional surgical method to treat the lymph node metastasis is to give vertical and transverse cervical incision (cut), which leaves permanent mark in the patient’s neck. As always having interest in plastic surgery – which is part of Otolaryngology (Head and Neck Surgery) – Tae concerned for postoperative quality of life. Therefore, he took the facelift approach which is still mostly used for cosmetic purposes, especially to unwrinkle one’s face. This way, the scar is left in the back side of the patient’s ear alongside the hairline, which is significantly less visible. The paper “Functional and cosmetic outcomes of robot-assisted neck dissection by a postauricular facelift approach for head and neck cancer” specifically reports the postoperative outcomes of the revolutionary implication as short as one day after the surgery to as long as 12 months. From 2013 Tae and his co-researchers collected data of 113 patients who underwent unilateral neck dissection both through the particular approach and the conventional approach. As a result, the team led by Tae was able to compare the functional and cosmetic outcomes which proved that Tae’s method is advantageous. Namely, patients suffered from less neck edema (swelling of neck) and sensory loss. Cosmetically patients reported significantly lower satisfaction scores. (Note that the higher the satisfaction is, the lower the scores are.) Both neck edema and sensory loss is lower in the robotic procedure, as shown in the tables. (Photo courtesy of Tae) Another specialty of Tae’s method of operation is that it requires robotic assist called Da Vinci robot because the operation makes a very thin tunnel inside the neck, making it physically impossible for the surgeons otherwise. Tae, as one of the first person in the world to conduct robotic neck dissection wanted to further develop the method and evaluate it. This report is one of his efforts trying to keep evaluating and improving his new surgical method. “It is still early to report the cure rate of cancer through this method, but now we know about the postoperative sensory loss, motion limitations, and the satisfaction of patients through this research,” said Tae. Tae also struggles to improve Otolaryngology in Korea and Asia. He mentioned that he chose to become head and neck surgeon because the area was less developed and researched at that time, and that challenged him. Now he is a general secretary of Asia Pacific Society of Thyroid Surgery which he founded, wishing well for the future of the field. “I wish my students to improve Korea as much to be the leading country in Otolaryngology and become global leaders.” Kim So-yun dash070@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Choi Min-ju