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Today, robots can be found helping humans with their daily tasks. Some tasks require the robot to visit a set of locations in the environment efficiently, like in the Traveling Salesman Problem. As indoor environments are maze-like areas, feasible paths connecting locations must be computed beforehand, so they can be combined during the scheduling, which can be impracticable for real-time applications. This work presents an on-line Route Scheduling supported by a Fast Path Planning Method able to adjust pre-built paths. Experiments were carried out with virtual and real robots to evaluate time and quality of tours.
The fraction of organic matter present affects the fragmentation behavior of sialoliths; thus, pretherapeutic information on the degree of mineralization is relevant for a correct selection of lithotripsy procedures. This work proposes a methodology for in vivo characterization of salivary calculi in the pretherapeutic context. Sialoliths were characterized in detail by X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) in combination with atomic emission spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Correlative analysis of the same specimens was performed by in vivo and ex vivo helical computed tomography (HCT) and ex vivo μCT. The mineral matter in the sialoliths consisted essentially of apatite (89 vol%) and whitlockite (11 vol%) with average density of 1.8 g/cm3. In hydrated conditions, the mineral mass prevailed with 53 ± 13 wt%, whereas the organic matter, with a density of 1.2 g/cm3, occupied 65 ± 10% of the sialoliths’ volume. A quantitative relation between sialoliths mineral density and X-ray attenuation is proposed for both HCT and μCT.
Lithotripsy methods show relatively low efficiency in the fragmentation of sialoliths compared with the success rates achieved in the destruction of renal calculi. However, the information available on the mechanical behavior of sialoliths is limited and their apparently tougher response is not fully understood. This work evaluates the hardness and Young’s modulus of sialoliths at different scales and analyzes specific damage patterns induced in these calcified structures by ultrasonic vibrations, pneumoballistic impacts, shock waves, and laser ablation. A clear correlation between local mechanical properties and ultrastructure/chemistry has been established: sialoliths are composite materials consisting of hard and soft components of mineralized and organic nature, respectively. Ultrasonic and pneumoballistic reverberations damage preferentially highly mineralized regions, leaving relatively unaffected the surrounding organic matter. In contrast, shock waves leach the organic component and lead to erosion of the overall structure. Laser ablation destroys homogeneously the irradiated zones regardless of the mineralized/organic nature of the underlying ultrastructure; however, damage is less extensive than with mechanical methods. Overall, the present results show that composition and internal structure are key features behind sialoliths’ comminution behavior and that the organic matter contributes to reduce the therapeutic efficiency of lithotripsy methods.
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