Archive for October 2016

Hardware Implementation Image Processing Algorithms on FPGA

Importance of Image and its analysis:

Today Digital Image Processing has a variety of applications such as remote sensing, automated industrial inspection, medical technology for X-Ray enhancement, surveillance and many more. As the image sizes become larger, software tools have become inefficient to analyze large amount of data. As we look for solutions, Image processing comes up as a fitting reply.

Image processing: Definition:

Image processing is used to modify pictures for improvisation purposes, such as image enhancement, contrast, brightness as well as to extract information. Besides, analysis, detection and changing the original structure like composition, image editing are also possible using as image enhancement.

Advantage of Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA):

There are two types of technologies available for hardware design-

  1. Full custom hardware design– It is also known as Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) and semi custom hardware device, which comprises programmable devices like Digital signal processors (DSPs) and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA’s). Full custom ASIC design offers high speed and lower power dissipation, but the complexity and the cost associated with the design are very high. The ASIC design is not reprogrammable and is time consuming. ASIC designs are used in high volume commercial applications.


  1. 2.     Digital signal processor-  DSPs are a class of hardware devices that fall somewhere between an ASIC and a PC in terms of the performance and design complexity. DSPs are specialized for microprocessors, typically programmed in C, or with assembly code for improved performance. It is well suited to extremely complex math intensive tasks such as image processing. Knowledge of hardware design is still required, but the learning curve is much lower than the other design choices. Field Programmable Gate Arrays are reconfigurable devices.


Hardware Implementation Image Processing Algorithms on FPGA


Hardware implementation of Image processing algorithms:

Images can be processed by optical, photographic, and electronic means, but image processing using digital computers is the most common method. It is mainly because digital methods are fast, flexible, and accurate. Software based image processing algorithms have many limitations and are hence unable to offer desired results. This is a lacuna that Hardware based image processing can rectify.

Hardware implementation is one of the most important tools for real time image processing application. Hardware based image processing is very fast and provides accurate analysis compared to software implementation. Moreover, Hardware design techniques such as parallelism and pipelining techniques can be developed on FPGA, which is not possible in dedicated DSP designs.

Earthquake Effect on Masonry Structures and Its Remedy

Earthquake is a natural phenomenon whose intensity, magnitude and chance of occurrence are highly unpredictable, even with the help of latest developments. The only way to counter earthquake is to provide enough safety measures in the structural system. While we can adequately design RC structures, masonry structures are the most vulnerable under the effect of earthquake. Unreinforced brick/ stone masonry are still prevalent in rural India. The masonry structure does not have enough capacity to withstand lateral forces of earthquake. It is likely to crush under compressive forces and develops cracks under tensile and shear forces caused by seismic shaking. The main attention point of earthquake-resistant masonry building construction is to ensure that these effects are sustained without major damage or collapse.

The masonry wall, under strong shaking due to earthquake, divides the structure into three subunits:

  1. The masonry between the roof and the lintel behaves as a deep beam spanning between roof slab and lintel band when subjected to lateral forces. This part of the masonry has good resistance against lateral forces.
  2. The masonry between the lintel and up to the sill of the opening behaves as a short column and initiates the failure of the masonry wall attracting large lateral forces. When subjected to strong shaking, this gets disconnected from the masonry above and below and topples or develops diagonal cracking.
  3. The portion of the masonry between the sill of the opening and the plinth offers good resistance to lateral forces.

Earthquake Effect on Masonry Structures and Its Remedy

Extensive damage in the masonry structures during the earthquake is mainly due to the following weaknesses in the materials and construction of the masonry.

  1. Heavy weight of masonry, especially stone masonry leading to generation of large inertial forces.
  2. Low tensile and shear strength of poor mortar.
  3. Brittle behavior of masonry units in compression as well as in tension.
  4. Improper masonry bonds.
  5. Stress concentration around large openings in the wall.
  6. Lack of interlocking between adjacent walls.
  7. Large slenderness of the masonry wall leading to reduced strength and stability.
  8. Asymmetry in the building due to unsymmetrical placing of openings, plan and elevation leading to torsion failure.

Following measures are recommended to ensure better seismic resistance:

  1. Masonry courses from walls meeting at the corners must have good interlocking. Proper masonry bonds should be used. Vertical joints should be broken from course to course of the masonry wall.
  2. Horizontal RC bands of depth not less than 75 mm and appropriately reinforced should be provided in the masonry walls at various levels such as plinth, sill, lintel and roof level.
  3. The provision of openings too close to the corners of the walls should be avoided.
  4. It is better to keep openings as small as possible and away from corners.
  5. An integrally connected staircase acts like a cross brace between floors and transfers large horizontal forces to various levels. These are the areas of potential damage in masonry buildings. It is better to completely separate the staircase from the main building. Adequate gap should be provided between staircase tower and masonry building to ensure that they do not touch each other during earthquake.
  6. A provision of vertical reinforcement in masonry should be introduced by embedding reinforcing rods in edges of walls and anchoring in foundation and roof band.


Multimedia and its uses

The word ‘multimedia’ is of Latin origin. One way of defining multimedia can be found in the meaning of the composed word-

Multi- [lat.: much] many; much; multiple.

  • Medium- [lat.: middle] An intervening substance through which something is transmitted or carried on, a means of mass communication such as newspaper, magazine, or television (from American Heritage Electronic Dictionary, 1991).

As per Fred T. Hofstetter “Multimedia is the use of a computer to present and combine text, graphics, audio and video with links and tools that let the user navigate, interact, create and communicate”.

In the field of Information and Communication Technology, multimedia means more than the use of the various media. A computer user interacts with the computer to perform tasks such as finding information or play games to develop a skill. There are five main elements in a complete multimedia system: Text, Graphic, Audio, Video, and Animation. Multimedia is a tele-service concept that provides integrated and simultaneous services of more than one telecommunication services, namely, voice-world, video-world and data-world.

Typical examples of multimedia applications are:

  • Residential Services: WWW, Video-on-Demand, Home Shopping, Interactive TV, Interactive movies
  • Business Service: WWW, e-Business, Corporate Education
  • Education: Digital Libraries, Distance Education, electronic Journals, E-Magazine
  • Entertainment: Games, Interactive TV, Post Production of Movie and Music, Digital Video Editing, Animated movie, Morphing
  • Medicine and Health care: High quality magnetic resonance, 3D images of human bodies are captured through X-ray, CT Scan, Ultra-sonography images
  • Industry: Computer Based Training (CBT) for staff training and development
  • Information Kiosk
  • Travel and Tourism: Travel companies can market packaged tour by showing prospective customers glimpses of the places they would like to visit, with other attractions.
  • Content Based Storage and Retrieval(CBSR) Systems: Matching fingerprint from police records to identify a criminal using finger-print recognition system


Multimedia proposes to simulate human-like communication and services amidst a conducive environment of “You see as I see” and “You feel as I feel”. Virtual reality is inseparable from multimedia services. Multimedia is telling stories, transmitting modes of entertainment, or imparting education using sound, video and picture. Multimedia is indispensable in today’s world.

Computer Technology Research of 1993 brought out a remarkable statement- “People retain only 20% of what they see and 30% of what they hear. But they remember 50% of what they see and hear, and 80% of what they see, hear and do simultaneously.”

Employing multiple media for communicating messages and content increases the delivery efficiency, the message impact and the multisensory experience. Multimedia increases receiver’s knowledge and understanding of the received messages.

The power of multimedia and the Internet lies in the way in which information is linked. Multimedia and the Internet require a completely new approach to writing as well. The style of writing that is appropriate for the ‘on-line world’ is highly optimized and designed to engage the readers in the best possible way. One thing should be kept in mind that multimedia technology demands constant updates and expert maintenance to function efficiently. Because equipment failure prevents multimedia from fulfilling its purpose.

Multimedia allows the convergence of texts, pictures, videos, graphics, animation and sound into a single form.  It captures one’s attention and reaches the target audience at the greatest speed yielding the best possible outcome. This brings to mind a Chinese proverb-“Tell me and I shall forget; show me and I shall remember; involve me and I shall understand.” And this exactly defines the spirit behind multimedia.

  • Ranjan Parekh,’Principles of MULTIMEDIA’ 2e,Tata McGraw-Hill Education
  • Ralf Steinmetz, Klara Nahrstedt, ‘Multimedia:Computing,Communication & Applications’, PEARSON Education.


Importance of Environmental Engineering as an Integral Part of Civil Engineering

It is a frequently asked question why Environmental Engineering should be considered as an integral part of Civil Engineering. Many argue that as Environmental Engineering is a multi-disciplinary subject and comprises many facets of the environment, it should be separated from Civil Engineering and a new department should be formed. Students who will pursue the course in this department will get a degree in Environmental Engineering. Accordingly, some of the institutes in a few states have started to confer degrees on Environmental Engineering to students who qualify.

Premier institutes like IITs, NITs, IIEST, JU have not accepted the above proposition. In these institutes, Environmental Engineering is still under the domain of Civil Engineering. In the master degree level there is specialization in this discipline only.

The main argument raised by these institutes is that Environmental Engineering covers a wide area of civil construction part, which may be possible to impart to students only if it remains, tied up with Civil Engineering.

The name Environmental Engineering is a new coinage.  Originally the name of the subject was Public Health Engineering. The coverage of the subject was Water Supply and Sanitary Engineering. Water Supply Engineering includes source of water, water quality, water requirement, water treatment, water storage (both impounded and overhead reservoir), water distribution and so on.  Sanitary Engineering, which was later renamed as Wastewater Engineering, includes wastewater collection system, wastewater characterization, wastewater treatment and disposal.

sewage treatment station

Sewage treatment station

Gradually this subject engulfed many aspects of environment, viz. air, water and land. It includes- Air pollution and control, noise pollution and control, water pollution and control, land pollution and control and industrial pollution and its abatement. All the branches of science starting from physics, chemistry, mathematics, biochemistry, microbiology are very much integrated with Environmental Engineering.

‘Environment’ has become a very popular word of the day. Scientists from different fields are conducting research on many important aspects related to environment. Right thinking of people all over the world recognizes that the very sustainability of civilization and mankind depends entirely on proper maintenance of ecological balance. Over extraction and uncontrolled use of natural resources without due cognizance of its renewal will only lead to destruction. As a result, the importance of the subject ‘Environmental Engineering’ has been recognized and the subject has established a strong foothold in higher education all over the world.

In many universities abroad there is a Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering highlighting equal importance to environment and other disciplines of Civil Engineering. In our country, environmental pollution has become an issue of concern for the Governments (both Central and State). Environmental Laws and Regulations are enacted in the Parliament and regulatory authorities are established to control environmental degradation as a whole.

Unfortunately, in spite of above efforts and initiatives, environmental pollution has still remained as a menace in our country. People at large are getting affected by the adverse effects of the degraded environment. Lack of awareness can be attributed behind this untoward consequence.

In order to apprise people, due emphasis should be given to knowledge imparting on the environment. Alongside, subjects like Environmental Science and Engineering have to gain their due impetus. Importance of ‘Environmental Engineering’ as an integral part of Civil Engineering should get its rightful place among all the branches of engineering at the earliest.