October 2018

SMART SYSTEMS RESEARCH GROUP

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This is a multi-disciplinary and cross-platform research group within the School of Engineering, Nazarbayev University, engaging in state-of-the-art techniques in control, sensory processing, electronics, communications, power systems, and mathematics with projects focusing in areas related to smart homes, smart grids, smart cities, smart transportation, smart sensing, SCADA systems and more.

Our group consists of Professors, Graduate Students, and Capstone Students.

We welcome collaborations within Kazakhstan and international partners.

 

GROUP MEMBERS

Senior Research Affiliates

Prof. Nazim Mir-Nasiri, PhD (Russia), Area: Robotics and Mechatronics

Prof. Blagojce Stojcevski, PhD (Australia), Area: Power Systems Engineering

Prof. Yau Hee Kho, PhD (New Zealand), Area: Signal Processing and Communications

Prof. Nicolas Rognin, PhD (France), Area: Medical Image Processing

Prof. Prashant Jamwal, PhD (New Zealand), Area: Mechatronics and Intelligent Systems

Prof. Corbett Rowell, PhD (Hong Kong), Area: Electromagnetics

Prof. Md Hazrat Ali, PhD (Japan), Area: Precision control, Industrial Automation, Intelligent Systems

Prof. Daniele Tosi, PhD (Italy), Area: Optical sensors

Prof. Refik Kizilirmak, PhD (Japan), Area: Communications

Prof. Sean Stewart, PhD (Australia), Area: Applied and Engineering Mathematics

Prof. Match Wai Lun Ko, PhD (Hong Kong), Area: Biomedical Engineering and Biomechanics

 

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Student Affiliates

  • Svyatoslav Nezhivenko, MSc (Canada), PhD Student, Area: Power Systems Protection & Communication, Supervisor: Blagojce Stojcevski, Co-Supervisor: Akhtar Kalam (external).
  • Daniyar Seitenov, MSc (UK), PhD student, Area: Wind Energy, Supervisor: Nazim Mir-Nasiri, Co-Supervisor: Blagoice Stojcevski.
  • Zhanar Samayeva, MEM (Kazakhstan), Masters student, Area: Engineering Management.
  • Saltanat Salpenova, Azamat Utekeyev, Merey Balgabayev, Mergen Alimaganbetov, B. Eng, Capstone Students, Project: Solar Road Panels for Future Smart Cities.
  • Serikbolsyn Duisembay, Nursultan Karimov, Yerden Kypshakpayev, Kuatbek Mukabak, B. Eng, Capstone Students, Project: A Hybrid Home Area Network (HAN) for Home Automation.
  • A. Mubarakov, Y. Zhengis, B.Eng, Capstone Students, Project: Assistive Home Monitoring System Based on Daily Activities.

External Industry & University Affiliates

  • Akhtar Kalam, Victoria University, Australia, Professor & Discipline Leader.
  • Nur Asyik Hidayatullah, Madiun State Polytechnic, Indonesia,  Professor.
  • Diego Rodas, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), USA, General Manager.
  • Alexander Apostolov, OMICRON Electronics, USA, Principal Engineer & TC57 working group panelist during the development of the IEC61850 International Protocol.
  • Huosheng Hu, University of Essex, UK, Professor (Human rehabilitation systems, biologically inspired systems, multi-modal human-machine interfaces, intelligent control).
  • Oussama Khatib, Stanford University, USA, Professor (Robotics, Intelligent and Autonomous Systems, Human-centered robotics, Haptic interaction).
  • Dennis M.L. Wong, Dean & Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology (Australia), Sarawak Campus, Malaysia.
  • Nguan Soon Chong, Software Engineer, TT Vision Technologies Sdn. Bhd., Penang, Malaysia.
  • Wei Jing Wong, Research Associate, Swinburne University of Technology (Australia), Sarawak Campus, Malaysia.
  • Syuhei Kurokawa, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kyushu University, Japan.

 

RESEARCH FOCUS AREAS

Renewable Energy & Smart Cities

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Nazim Mir-Nasiri & Blagojce Stojcevski

Expertise:

  • Grid planning, design, simulation and integration of solar energy, wind power, hydropower, biomass, tidal power, geothermal, and biofuels.
  • Analysis of economic factors (i.e. simple payback, cost of energy, life-cycle costs, present worth and levelized costs, externalities).
  • Exploration into environmental, transportation, and infrastructure effects.
  • Proficiency of softwares such as HOMER energy, PSCAD, Hybrid 2, and Matlab Simulink.

Smart Metering

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Blagojce Stojcevski

Expertise:

  • Experience with hardware structures within smart meters (i.e. voltage sensing unit, current sensing unit, power supply, energy measurement unit, microcontroller, real time clock, communicating systems).
  • Smart meter applications (distributed generation, voltage control in Smart Grids, load control, demand side primary frequency variation, enhancement of HVAC system performances, worldwide load control programs, optimal energy management, smart homes).
  • Smart meter standards (IEC & EPRI protocols).

IEC61850 Substation Communication

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Blagojce Stojcevski and Svyatoslav Nezhivenko

Expertise:

  • Awareness of SCADA supervisory tasks (i.e. station, bay, process, and enterprise levels), along with architectures, functions, and middlewares.
  • Assessing the environmental conditions of a substation yard.
  • Capability of connecting different vendor Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs), Ethernet switches, and other peripherals conformant to the AS/NZS 3000 wiring regulations.
  • Simulating Generic Object Oriented Substation Event (GOOSE) messages in the form of CID, ICD, SCD, and SSD files to achieve interoperability through logical node grouping.
  • Use of complex vendor proprietary tools including AcSELerator QuickSet, AcSELerator Architect, MiCOM S1 Studio, PCM600, CCT, DIGSI 5, SIGRA 4, QuickCMC, IEDScout, ROS Web Server, etc.
  • Importing and exporting relay files through virtual maps to obtain overall system configurations.

Cyber Security

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Blagojce Stojcevski

Expertise:

  • Identifying cyber security vulnerabilities (i.e. internal, external, or targeted attacks).
  • Classifying cyber agents and threats (Website/SQL, E-mail, malware, remote control usage, zombie recruitment, firewall configuration).
  • Recognising physical security warnings (Access control – manual/electronic/hybrid, access tracking, illegal-entry alarms, physical isolation of assets, defence layers, protection of information, critical ancillary subsystems – telecommunications/LANs/electric power).
  • Observation of operational security dangers (policies and administration controls, recovery procedures, employee background checks).
  • Smart Remote Terminal Unit technologies (serial ports, local display, downloadable logic parameters, accumulator freeze, global positioning system time receivers).
  • Telecommunication technologies (voice graded telephony, data carriers, WiFi, WiMAX, TCP/IP networking, IPv4, IPv6).

Wind Energy- New Horizontal Axis Semi-Exposed Wind Turbine (HASWT)

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Nazim Mir-Nasiri

Renewable energy sources are fast growing. Nowadays a lot of effort made to find new and more efficient designs and configurations of wind turbines by companies and universities all over the world. The project focuses on mechanical design and dynamic simulation of new wind turbine structure HASWT. The design with flat blades minimizes the axial component of the wind force that adversely affects rotor bearing and produces only useful rotary or radial component of driving force around the shaft axis. This enhances the efficiency of the turbine as compared to complex shape blades in traditional HAWT.


Exoskeleton Design for Human Motion and Medical Assistance  

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Nazim Mir-Nasiri

Exoskeletons for human performance enhancement are wearable devices that can support and assist the user besides increasing their strength and endurance. During the last decade, researchers have focused on the development of lower limb exoskeletons for users to run faster or travel long distances with heavy loads, such as soldiers and police personnel, as well as those elderly people or patients with disabilities caused by spinal cord injuries, acquired brain damage, cerebral palsy or post-polio syndrome. The research is on conceptual design and control strategies for a new and fully autonomous lower limb exoskeleton system. The main advantage of the system is its ability to decouple the weight/mass carrying function of the system from the forward motion function which reduces power consumption, weight and size of the propulsion motors.


Smart Control for Optimizing Occupant Comfort and Energy Consumption in Building Room

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Nazim Mir-Nasiri

The fenestration system of a commercial building drives much of the building’s energy consumption for heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and lighting. When exterior shading is inadequate, building occupants must rely on interior shading devices such as venetian blinds and shades for controlling the amount of light and heat that enters their offices. Even though such devices can make conditions more comfortable for building occupants, previous research has shown that venetian blinds are adjusted infrequently. When used correctly, shading devices can greatly reduce the amount of direct sunlight admitted into office space, substitute light with daylight, and thus reduce energy consumption. In order to achieve such energy-saving benefits from daylight, many fenestration systems with automated components integrated with daylight dimming systems have been developed. The new research introduces the intelligent way of controlling light and cooling sources in the office to provide comfort for the room occupant using fuzzy control theory. The integrated building management platform that increases performance and enhances your image, offers you more safety, security, and comfort, and drastically reduces your costs.


Assistive Indoor Monitoring based on Detection and Tracking using Wireless Signals

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Yau Hee Kho & Refik Kizilirmak

Assistive technology such as location-based service is increasingly gaining momentum due to the widespread proliferation of smart mobile devices.  While outdoor tracking using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is popular, the study on indoor tracking remains as a challenge and largely conceptual due to significant attenuation of satellite signals caused by buildings, furniture, obstacles, etc. We propose a passive tracking strategy where the emphasis is on using a tagless (i.e. device-free) approach. The tracking system will be transparent to the subject being tracked, which means that the tracking activity will not be known to the subject. Scenarios that make use of a passive approach are plentiful. Due to the anonymity in the tracking data, it is useful to deploy such a system in locations where the privacy of the subject cannot be violated, while at the same time, the observation is only required for monitoring purposes.  Another advantage for this type of system is the convenience of deployment from the observer’s point of view because tracking tags/devices are not required. Taking an example of customers in a departmental store, it is possible to monitor their visiting pattern within the store layout. The identity of the customers in not important but it could be useful to know the “hotspot” of the store so that relevant sales activities or tryout events can be positioned at a more strategic location. This is possible without requiring the customers to carry some sort of awkward devices when visiting and there is no issue of identity disclosure. Other possible deployment of a passive tracking system could be old folks home, museum, etc.

Publications (selected):

[1] Y.H. Kho, N.S. Chong, and R.C. Kizilirmak, “A Passive Wireless Tracking System for Indoor Assistive Monitoring,” IEEE International Conference on Sensing Technology (ICST’15), Dec. 2015, 5 pages (accepted for presentation)

[2] Y.H. Kho, N.S. Chong, G.A. Ellis and R.C. Kizilirmak, “Exploiting RF Signal Attenuation for Passive Indoor Tracking of an Object,” IEEE International Conference on Computer, Communication, and Control Technology (I4CT’15), Apr. 2015, pp. 152 – 156. DOI: 10.1109/I4CT.2015.7219556


Autonomous Navigational Vehicles using Omnidirectional Vision

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Yau Hee Kho

Intelligent vehicle control and traffic management is an integral part of smart city initiatives. For example, vehicle tracking systems are currently being developed with integrated solutions that allow vehicles to drive in platoons resulting in improved road safety, reduced fuel consumption and convenience of the drivers. The platoon would be led by a vehicle driven by a trained proficient driver and the following vehicles will be fully automated to follow at a close distance. šThe system is estimated to help reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20% depending on the aerodynamic geometry and spacing of the vehicle arrangement as it would reduce air drag on the vehicle for high speed driving or highway transportation. The traffic flow would be improved since platooning will also reduce the variations in speed among the vehicles. Using omnidirectional vision with 360 degree of field of view, the lead vehicle may also operate autonomously, and the whole platoon may be integrated into an existing smart city network.

Publications (selected):

[1] Y.H. Kho, A.E. Abdulla and J. Chan, “A Vision-based Autonomous Vehicle Tracking Robot Platform”, IEEE Symposium on Industrial Electronics and Applications (ISIEA’14), Sept. 2014, 5 pages.

[2] Chong N.S., Wong M.L.D., and Kho Y.H.,  “Accelerated Catadioptric Omnidirectional View Image Unwrapping Processing using GPU Parallelization”, Journal of Real-Time Image Processing, Springer, 15 pages, Dec. 2013. DOI: 10.1007/s11554-013-0390-x.

[3] Chong, N.S., Kho, Y.H., Wong, M.L.D., “Visual Detection in Omnidirectional View Sensors”, Signal, Image and Video Processing, Springer, 18 pages, July 2013. DOI: 10.1007/s11760-013-0528-0.


Secured Bio-Cryptography Systems

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Yau Hee Kho

Biometrics refers to technologies that measure and analyze human body characteristics, such as DNA, fingerprints, eye retinas and irises, voice patterns, facial patterns and hand measurements, for authentication purposes. Biometrics such as fingerprints, faces, irises, etc., are considered as uniquely linked to individuals and hence are powerful in authenticating people, but biometric systems themselves are not attack-proof and are vulnerable against several types of attacks. The solution would be to integrate the authentication feature of biometrics with the core function of conventional cryptography to make the resulting biometric templates secured.

Publications (selected):

[1] W.J. Wong, A.B.J. Teoh, Y.H. Kho and M.L.D. Wong, “’Kernel PCA Enabled Bit-String Representation for Minutiae-Based Cancellable Fingerprint Template”, Pattern Recognition, Oct 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.patcog.2015.09.032.

[2] W.J. Wong, A.B.J. Teoh, M.L.D. Wong and Y.H. Kho, “Enhanced Multi-line Code for Minutiae-Based Fingerprint Template Protection”, Pattern Recognition Letters, vol. 34 issue 11, pp 1221 – 1229, Elsevier, Aug. 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.patrec.2013.03.039.

[3] W.J. Wong, M.L.D. Wong and Y.H. Kho, “Multi-line Code: A Low Complexity Revocable Fingerprint Template for Cancellable Biometrics,” Journal of Central South University of Technology, vol. 20 issue 5, pp 1292 – 1297, Springer Verlag, May 2013. DOI: 10.1007/s11771-013-1614-8.


Multi Nozzle Based 3D printer


Md Hazrat Ali and Nazim Mir-Nasiri

This research focuses on development of five-nozzle extrusion system for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)-type 3D printers. It addresses color and operating time limitations of single-nozzle extruders and current issues of state-of-the-art multi-nozzle extruders, namely, efficiency in terms of number of motor usage, weights of extruders and production costs. The proposed model gives solutions to the abovementioned challenges by the use of low cost materials and production methods, isolation of cold-end to reduce the weight applied on rails by having only lightweight hot-end which is mounted on it, and use of only two motors for the extrusion. Five-nozzle extrusion system would enable printing up to five different colors simultaneously without the requirement of filament change process. Currently, in the market, there is not a wide range of multi-nozzle printers. Successful development and performance optimization of this system will help to produce competitive 3D printer of high performance in near future.

Publications (selected):

[1] A. Abilgaziyev, T. Kulzhan, N. Raissov, Md. Hazrat Ali, Match W.L.KO, N. Mir-Nasiri, “Design and Development of Multi-Nozzle Extrusion System for 3D Printer”. IEEE Conference, ICIEV, June 15-18, 2015, Fukuoka, Japan.

[2] N. Mir-Nasiri, Md. Hazrat Ali, Syuhei KUROKAWA, “Development of 3D Printer with Integrated Temperature Control Systems”. IEEE Conference, ICIEV, June 15-18, 2015, Fukuoka, Japan.


Automated loading of drugs into red blood cells

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Md Hazrat Ali and Kulzhan Berikkhanova

This project focuses on the development of a new mechanism which is aimed to apply in medical centers. The designed new machine for automated loading of selected drugs into red blood cells will be manufactured and tested in our laboratory. Competitiveness of the proposed new medical technology based on the expected results is defined low-cost, high clinical efficacy, as well as the possibility of introducing in the surgical wards, emergency intensive care unit of regional and district hospitals. The project has very high probability to be commercialized upon successful development. It can also be sold to medical institutions in Kazakhstan, in the CIS countries and abroad.


Three-dimensional patient-specific reconstruction of optic nerve head morphology for risk assessment of glaucoma development and progression


Match Wai Lun Ko

The eyes are one of the most important sensory organs and are specialized for the conversion of lights into electrochemical signals so that our brain can interpret. Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve is damaged, and can cause irreversible blindness if it is left untreated. The presumed primary location of the glaucomatous damage is within the optic nerve head (ONH), the site where retinal ganglion cell axons converge to leave the back of the eye and connected to the brain. The objectives of this project are 1) to develop an algorithm to detect and reconstruct three-dimensional ONH morphology, 2) to monitor the change in ONH morphology in a progressing glaucomatous eye, and 3) to develop a computational patient-specific ocular model for the risk assessment of glaucoma development and progression.

Publications (selected):

[1] Match WL Ko; Biomechanics of the Optic Nerve Head, the 30th Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Congress held in conjunction with the 20th Congress of the Chinese Ophthalmological Society (APAO 2015), Guangzhou, China, April 1 – 4, 2015.

[2] Match WL Ko and Christopher KS Leung; Three-dimensional reconstruction of optic nerve head surface topology for analysis of glaucoma progression, 6th World Glaucoma Congress (WGC 2015), Hong Kong, June 6 – 9, 2015.

[3] Match WL Ko, ZH Wu and Christopher KS Leung; Three-dimensional reconstruction of optic nerve head for Assessment of Optic Nerve Head Topology, 11th International Symposium of Ophthalmology (ISO 2015), Shantou, China, October 30 – November 1, 2015.

 


Translational Biomechanics in Ophthalmology

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Match Wai Lun Ko

This project comprises of a comprehensive study of the biomechanical linkage between the ocular biomechanics and momentary intraocular pressure variation contributing basically from the corneal, scleral, and LC biomechanics, to the etiology and diagnosis of eye diseases, including glaucoma, keratoconus and myopia. The project will build on the previous success on the ocular model development and optic nerve damage analysis, incorporate with the nonlinear viscoelastic properties of the ocular tissue to further develop a more comprehensive and sophisticated ocular model.

Publications (selected):

[1] Leo KK Leung, Match WL Ko and David CC Lam, Effect of age-stiffening tissues and intraocular pressure on optic nerve damages, Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 157-174, 2012.

[2] Match WL Ko, Effect of corneal, scleral and lamina cribrosa elasticity, and intraocular pressure on optic nerve damages, JSM Ophthalmology, Vol 3, No.1, pp. 1024, 2015.

[3] Match WL Ko; Correlation of corneal, scleral and optic nerve elasticity, and intraocular pressure on optic nerve damages, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (Asia-ARVO), Yokohama, Japan, February 16 – 19, 2015.

[4] Match WL Ko; Translational Biomechanics in Glaucoma, 2015 Workshop on Bioinspired Sensors, Circuits, Systems and Applications, Proceedings of Advances in Memristor Circuits and Bioinspired Systems, ISBN: 978-981-09-4424-7, doi:10.3850/978-981-09-4424-7_work2, pp. 84, Astana, Kazakhstan, February 23 – 25, 2015.

[5] Match WL Ko, DM Wei and Christopher KS Leung; Characterization of Corneal Indentation Hysteresis, The 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBC 2015), pp. 7784-7787, Milan, Italy, August 25 – 29, 2015.


CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS

[1]   Development of the world’s first IEC61850 Zone Substation Simulator Centre aimed at integrating Smart Grid Technologies; B. Stojcevski, in collaboration with Victoria University (VU), AusNet Services, Jemena, Zinfra, ABB, SIEMENS, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), GE, and OMICRON Electronics, 2015-2018.

[2]   Energy and Cost Saving Design of Legs Supporting Exoskeleton for Human Motion and Medical Assistance; 3-years NU funded project (7.67 ORAU evaluation passed), N. Mir-Nasiri, Y. H. Kho, P. Jamwal.

[3]   Design and Development of New Horizontal Axis Semi-Exposed Wind Turbine (HASWT) Structure; PhD project, NU, N. Mir-Nasiri and B. Stojcevski.

[4]   Robotic Long Bone Fracture Reduction: New Paradigms in Robot Assisted Orthopedic Surgery; Prashant K Jamwal; Collaborators (University of Auckland, New Zealand, Institute for Robotics and Process Control, Technical University of Braunschweig and Nazarbayev University).

[5]   Optical fiber sensors for smart thermal ablation of tumors; International consortium involving Biomedical Campus of Rome, Politecnico di Torino, Politecnico di Milano, Parthenope University, Federico II University; D. Tosi.

 

RESEARCH COLLABORATORS