5,373 research outputs found

    Inclusion through sport: A critical view on paralympic legacy from a historical perspective

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    Through its commitment to universalism, the inclusion of disabled people has become an increasingly prominent objective of the Paralympic Games. To achieve this, the organisers rely on the notion of legacy, which refers to the expected effects of major sporting events on host countries. This notion was initially founded on material aspects and then took an interest in certain intangible sides that were spotted within the organiser’s goals and studied in literature. Building on the historical literature about the Paralympic movement’s institutionalization, this article shows that this institutionalization took place in a context of tension between disabled communities, depending on their proximity to the Olympic model. What is the impact of this historical legacy in terms of inclusion of the greater number? By shedding light on the historical perspective of the obstacles encountered in the creation of an ‘all-disabilities’ sporting event, this article aims to discuss and challenge the current perspective on the inclusive legacy of the Paralympic Games

    Robot-era project: Preliminary results on the system usability

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    The European project Robot-Era is an ambitious integrated project (FP7-ICT-2011.5.4), which objective is the development of advanced robotic services, integrated in intelligent environments, to provide independent living to older people. In order to guarantee the matching of the users� need and the demands, two loops of experimentation were conceived, in realistic and real setting. The aim of the paper is to described the methods applied and the main results coming from the first experimental loop, concerning the degree of usability of the interfaces and provide guidelines for testing socially assistive robots with older people. � Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

    The SMILING project : prevention of falls by a mechatronic training device

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    Ageing is characterized by functional changes that can create gait and balance disturbances, which are the main risk factors of falling. Elderly people at risk of falling can be considered to be suffering from an involuntary motor behaviour that restricts their participation in society. One method to overcome such a situation is to activate a new learning process to train for real life tasks, which represents innovation. The SMILING system is intended to challenge the elderly to solve new problems in real time by inducing variable environments that need active response and problem solving. Variable environments induced by perturbations will weaken stiff motor behaviour(s), induce flexibility and thus enable effective training and improve mobility in real life environments. The SMILING solution provides a changeable yet safe environment that needs active response and problem solving by the user. It consists of a wearable non-invasive computer-controlled system that applies chaotic perturbations to the lower extremities during walking through small alterations of the height and slope of weight-bearing surfaces. The complete system consists of 3 modules: i) a complete walking analysis system; ii) a pair of motorised training shoes; iii) a user friendly portable control unit

    Search for strange quark matter and Q-balls with the SLIM experiment

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    We report on the search for Strange Quark Matter (SQM) and charged Q-balls with the SLIM experiment at the Chacaltaya High Altitude Laboratory (5230 m a.s.l.) from 2001 to 2005. The SLIM experiment was a 427 m2^{2} array of Nuclear Track Detectors (NTDs) arranged in modules of 24×2424 \times 24 cm2^{2} area. SLIM NTDs were exposed to the cosmic radiation for 4.22 years after which they were brought back to the Bologna Laboratory where they were etched and analyzed. We estimate the properties and energy losses in matter of nuclearites (large SQM nuggets), strangelets (small charged SQM nuggets) and Q-balls; and discuss their detection with the SLIM experiment. The flux upper limits in the CR of such downgoing particles are at the level of 1.310−151.3 10^{-15}/cm2^{2}/s/sr (90% CL).Comment: 4 pages, 7 eps figures. Talk given at the 24th International Conference on Nuclear Tracks in Solids, Bologna, Italy, 1-5 September 200

    Organic enrichment can increase the impact of microplastics on meiofaunal assemblages in tropical beach systems

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    The cumulative impact of microplastic and organic enrichment is still largely unknown. Here, we investigated the microplastic contamination, the organic enrichment and their effects on meiofaunal distribution and diversity in two islands of the Maldivian archipelago: one more pristine, and another strongly anthropized. Field studies were coupled with manipulative experiments in which microplastic polymers were added to sediments from the non-anthropized island (i.e., without organic enrichment) to assess the relative effect of microplastic pollution on meiofauna assemblages. Our results reveal that the impact of microplastic contamination on meiofaunal abundance and taxa richness was more significant in the anthropized island, which was also characterized by a significant organic enrichment. Meiofauna exposed experimentally to microplastic contamination showed: i) the increased abundance of opportunistic nematodes and copepods and ii) a shift in the trophic structure, increasing relevance in epistrate-feeder nematodes. Based on all these results, we argue that the coexistence of chronic organic enrichment and microplastics can significantly increase the ecological impacts on meiofaunal assemblages. Since microplastic pollution in the oceans is predicted to increase in the next decades, its negative effects on benthic biodiversity and functioning of tropical ecosystems are expected to worsen especially when coupled with human-induced eutrophication. Urgent actions and management plans are needed to avoid the cumulative impact of microplastic and organic enrichment

    On the commutability of homogenization and linearization in finite elasticity

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    We study non-convex elastic energy functionals associated to (spatially) periodic, frame indifferent energy densities with a single non-degenerate energy well at SO(n). Under the assumption that the energy density admits a quadratic Taylor expansion at identity, we prove that the Gamma-limits associated to homogenization and linearization commute. Moreover, we show that the homogenized energy density, which is determined by a multi-cell homogenization formula, has a quadratic Taylor expansion with a quadratic term that is given by the homogenization of the quadratic term associated to the linearization of the initial energy density
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