DADiSP helps in the diagnosis and treatment of human infertility

Although computer-aided sperm analysis (CASA) has become an important tool in male infertility research, some researchers believe that it is proving to be no more accurate than manual measurement techniques. Human sperm motion is extremely complex: they don’t swim in straight lines; they move their tails as well as their heads; and they change direction. Since the pattern and vigour of a sperm cell’s motion is an indicator of its health, it is important to analyse and model this motion accurately.

Sperm motion has to be simplified somewhat in order to be modelled, but it is difficult to know what to simplify. Current instruments compute an average sperm path by smoothing a sperm’s curvilinear trajectory with a fixed-length running average, and the measurements are taken only from the sperm head. According to researchers Russel Davis, Paul Niswander, and David Katz from the University of California Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, this method of measurement causes a great deal of information to be lost, so that inaccurate conclusions may be drawn about the viability of a sperm sample. Dr. Davis and colleagues felt that a new kind of analysis was required to bring out the hidden patterns in sperm paths.

They now use DADiSP to help them implement an alternative approach to sperm motion analysis. They believe that their new method gives a more accurate characterisation of sperm motion than traditional methods.

Applying the fixed-length running average (FLRA) analysis method to sperm has the effect of overly smoothing some trajectories and insufficiently smoothing others. These errors are compounded further when scientists try to produce average values for an entire cell population. The new method for analysis pioneered by Dr. Davis and colleagues adapts the width of the running average of a sperm cell’s path to the changing wavelengths of the major spatial oscillations of each curvilinear trajectory. This new method of measurement may provide more accurate modelling of sperm paths so that more accurate judgments can be made about the healthiness of the sperm.

A high-speed video camera and recorder running at 200 frames per second make a first observation of sperm swimming in seminal plasma at 37 degrees C. The trajectories are recorded and digitised, then analysed for kinematic parameters for one second (200 data points). The trajectory data are then imported into PathTool, a program written in the lab, which computes their average lengths and two vectors which are exported to DADiSP for harmonic analysis. These new measurements, which reveal the frequencies and amplitudes that occur in highly irregular motion, are based on fast Fourier transforms (FFTs). They include the fundamental harmonic of motion (HAR), the magnitude of HAR (MAG), and the power bandwidth of HAR (PWB), which are basic window calculations in a DADiSP worksheet.

Dr. Russel Davis states that he considers DADiSP’s ease of use “one of its most important features.” He says he likes being able to use it to design a number of signal processing pathways to use with different signals: “For exploratory data analysis it is very useful.” DADiSP allows Dr. Davis and colleagues to discover patterns and periodicities in sperm motion that until now have been obscured.

As a result of their findings, Davis and colleagues have recommended vigorous empirical testing of their methods, and have made suggestions for new CASA instruments. Ultimately these research efforts will result in greater refinement of the methods used to investigate infertility, and DADiSP will have been a part of the success.

DADiSP is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

DADiSP helps to unlock the secrets about the diets of extinct mammals

Using high resolution surface mapping techniques, Dr. Philip Walker and graduate student, Ed Hagen of the Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) are attempting to develop a new topographical approach to dental microwear analysis. Recent anthropological research suggests that the study of dental microwear, the pits and scratches formed on a tooth surface through use, may go a long way to helping scientists reconstruct the diets of extinct mammals, including our early hominid ancestors.

Dental microwear features range in size from submicron to about one millimeter. To collect data on such small features, Dr. Walker’s lab has been using a surface profilometer and an interference microscope, which are both interfaced to PCs. The interference microscope works on the principle that when two light waves are brought together, they interact. In practice the microscope splits a light beam, with one beam reflecting off the specimen and the other directed at a reference mirror. When the beams are recombined, the number of degrees they are out of phase can be translated into a highly accurate map of the surface’s microtopography.

The research team has found enormous benefit in using the interference microscope over previous methods. Instead of laboriously digitising individual microwear features by hand, they can now measure the surface topography directly. In less than a minute their scanning equipment can record the x, y and z coordinates of more than 300,000 surface points. Typical data files range from less than 100K to over a megabyte, depending on the region examined and the scanning resolution, and are imported directly into DADiSP.

With DADiSP, Walker and Hagen can view and analyse up to a dozen different surface scans in parallel using a variety of filters, spectral analyses and data integration. Thus, they can easily examine the statistically significant differences and similarities in dental microwear among individuals. Using artificially abraded model surfaces, Dr. Walker and colleagues have already been able to demonstrate that certain aspects of microwear feature size distributions correlate highly with important dietary variables.

Once their surface analysis technique has been thoroughly worked out with model surfaces, Dr. Walker plans to apply it to microwear on the teeth of early hominids and related animals found in the same region. His ultimate goal is to provide a sounder scientific basis for describing the diets of our earliest ancestors.

To Dr. Walker’s research team, it is becoming clear that simple analogies between the microwear patterns on the teeth of living animals of known diet and those of extinct animals with similar microwear patterns can lead to serious errors in reconstructing the diets of extinct species. The amounts and types of grit in an animal’s diet determine the nature and extent of dental microwear. Differences in local geology, soil formation, drought and volcanic eruption history can all affect the quantity and quality of ambient grit in an animal’s diet. So rather than analyse a single individual out of its environmental context, the UCSB group plans to investigate dental microwear from the entire collection of animal bones found in a specific region. With the sheer amount of data that needs to be viewed and compared, DADiSP should play a significant role in this ongoing research.

DADiSP is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Analysing handwriting with DADiSP leads to diagnosis

In a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Littleton Meeks of Meeks Associates, Inc. used a computer to analyse the handwriting of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These studies have looked at handwriting of children when they are unmedicated and medicated using Ritalin. Meeks is hoping to develop a test instrument to diagnose ADHD, as well as evaluate the effects of Ritalin on handwriting, perhaps providing an algorithm to allow a proper dosage level to be set for an individual child.

Advances in computer technology have made it possible to record and analyse handwriting. Meeks uses a WACOM digitiser interfaced to a personal computer to sample and record the position of the pen tip during the writing process. The digitiser has a sampling rate of 205 points/sec with a resolution of 0.01 mm. DADiSP was used to analyse the recorded x and y position of the pen, calculate pen speed, and measure pauses in pen motion. This system allows even small rapid handwriting to be recorded. The WACOM system also has the advantage of recording the axial force of the pen or the pen pressure against the paper.

It is a well-known fact that many children with ADHD have difficulty writing neatly and legibly. Furthermore, pediatricians and clinicians have noted that the handwriting of these children may improve markedly when they are medicated with Ritalin. Because of this, Meeks decided to study the handwriting of children with ADHD when they are unmedicated and after they have received their prescribed medication.

The goal of Meeks Associates in doing this study is to develop a method of assessment of ADHD based on the accurate measurement of the children’s handwriting. According to Meeks, “With DADiSP we can investigate the process of handwriting in detail: how pen speed and pen pressure change with time and where pauses occur.” It is hoped that this experiment will provide an objective test for the diagnosis of ADHD. The study may also be extended to evaluate the effect of Ritalin on handwriting and may be used in the future to verify the correct dosage of Ritalin used to properly medicate a child.

DADiSP is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Allied Signal/Bendix uses DADiSP in automotive brake system design

Allied Signal/Bendix Automotive Systems is a worldwide organisation that designs, develops, and manufactures brake components and complete brake systems for automobiles. It is the responsibility of Walt Stringham, project engineer, to track down and resolve noise and vibration problems during the development phase of new products. To investigate these problems, it is necessary to analyse noise and vibration test data in three different mathematical domains, and to compare the results with analyses from other research departments. A software solution was needed to make data conversions easy, to store process data from one day to the next, and to be programmable by use of macros for specific situations.

The solution came in the form of DADiSP, graphic display data processing software.

The search for brake problems begins with the recording of a brake assembly from an operational vehicle test. DADiSP is sometimes used for direct data acquisition: interfacing with analogue-to-digital data acquisition boards to acquire up to 16 channels of data directly. For ordinary operations tests, however, a digital data acquisition system is used, and data are downloaded to DADiSP.

Somewhere between 70 and 120 revolutions of a rotor assembly take place in a six-to-eight second test recording. DADiSP is used to sort them out and extract them by means of a macro that Walt wrote himself. Next, time domain, frequency domain, and order domain analyses are carried out on the extracted data, and hardcopy plots are generated. Analysis results are compared to the tested vehicle’s component characteristics and to data from other divisions. At this point in the testing cycle, suggestions are made about mechanical modifications that might help produce a quieter or more comfortable brake.

Walt says that before his team started using DADiSP, going from the operations test to the data analysis took up to two weeks. Three computers were running “round the clock” doing data downloading and conversion. Now, this procedure takes under an hour. DADiSP’s storage capabilities enables them to compare one day’s process data to the next. Walt says he particularly likes DADiSP’s capacity for custom automation. He has built up a library of application-specific macros that he wrote himself to isolate selected data for analysis. He also uses DADiSP at conferences during demonstrations.

Because other research divisions at Allied now use DADiSP, they find data-swapping and comparison much easier. Their engineers can investigate the physical problems causing excessive vibration much faster as a direct result of DADiSP.

DADiSP is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Ford Heavy Truck Development uses DADiSP to ensure high quality control standards

The Problem:

Ford Heavy Truck Development in Dearborn, Michigan uses DADiSP for several everyday tasks to improve efficiency and productivity in the area of product development. Since Ford keeps data acquisition and analysis operations in separate departments, we asked Heavy Truck supervisor Rich Bond to describe how DADiSP helps make the “divide-and-conquer” approach to dealing with data both efficient and cost-effective. Rich Bond’s engineers may be called upon to work on any component of a vehicle, or they may work on data taken on a complete Heavy Truck as it travels down a public highway. As such, a general purpose tool that can be set up to quickly accommodate the current job is required.

The Solution:

A typical task Rich and his team perform with DADiSP is determining whether resonance occurring in engine-mounted brackets is a result of engine vibration. Multichannel acceleration data are recorded from the brackets and engine while the revolutions per minute (RPM) are swept from idle to maximum. Meanwhile, DADiSP receives data in an empty spreadsheet template while running unattended on a Sun SPARCstation by means of command files built by the engineers. The resulting time history is broken into small increments for each channel of acceleration data. Power Spectral Density Plots (PSDs) are performed on these increments; the average RPM for each increment is calculated; and the PSDs for all increments are combined into a waterfall plot. Since a typical data run is large – over 200,000 points per channel – DADiSP runs overnight to perform these operations and produce a hard copy for the morning. Before DADiSP, engineers had to extract segments of data manually, perform PSDs by hand on each segment, and then overlay hard copies to obtain a quasi-waterfall plot. The new method requires significantly fewer hours and fewer people.

Since Ford’s data are collected in a special department, reduced according to standard algorithms, and passed on to whomever requested them, there are occasionally processing problems resulting from the fact that the people who acquire data may not know how it will be used. To make matters worse, errors in a data set may be masked if the set is averaged in with a larger sample. DADiSP provides methods for correcting errors, late in data processing, that used to cause a lot of trouble. For example, sometimes it is discovered during analysis that the signal to noise ratio of the acquired data is so low that the shape of the data is masked. It is seldom possible to reacquire the data. Since the expected shape of the data is usually known from previously verified computer models, there is almost always hope for correction. Before DADiSP, engineers had to review and reprocess the data, usually in teams of people both from the department that acquired the data and from the department that wanted to analyse them. This extra step took a long time. Now, DADiSP’s digital filter modules clean up the extra noise. Information about the expected shape of the data allows one engineer working alone to filter the original signal and separate signal from noise in minimal time.

Before DADiSP was introduced, approximately 40% of data acquisition expenses were associated with the data reduction and analysis stage: it took too long and required too many people. Data analysis was performed on a mainframe computer, so a job would sit in a queue for a long time, causing delay. Now that the mainframe programs are being transferred to DADiSP templates, the analysis of one channel of data takes about 10 minutes. An entire job can run in half a day. This use of DADiSP has reduced data analysis costs by an estimated 20%.

Rich Bond says he appreciates DADiSP’s user-friendliness, which helps make relatively non-trained people productive in very little time. He mentions the case of an engineer who picked up the product and the manual and within a day or so had a very good template working. He says his division owns other products similar in function to DADiSP, but that “they just kind of sit there.” When asked why, he responds, “They are a language; DADiSP has an intuitive feel for how things go. You can actually see things.” Rich mentions that he appreciates DADiSP’s ability to handle enormous data files. He says that some of the data acquisition runs produce huge sets, consisting of 160 seconds’ worth of data sampled at 8000 Hz per channel for 15 minutes. Other runs at lower sampling rates can last up to two hours. He says he and his engineers have no qualms about using DADiSP to handle these large sets when they have to analyse a long run.

Most important to Rich is DADiSP’s capability for running unattended by means of command files. “To put a workstation on an engineer’s desk with all the network support behind it, you spend about $50,000 to $70,000. Therefore, the computer has got to be running all the time. It can’t work eight-to-five, like the engineer does. DADiSP makes it possible for an engineer to hit the button to turn the program on at the end of the day, walk out of here, then come in the morning and find the work all done.” He feels it is extremely valuable to have the computer working while the engineer is not.

DADiSP is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

The Radio Communications Agency uses DADiSP to aid their mobile radio usage analysis

THE PROBLEM

As part of the British Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Radiocommunications Agency, based in Hertfordshire, monitors and manages public and private radio transmission throughout the UK. In 1994, the Agency set out to evaluate activity in the VHF (very high frequency) PMR (private mobile radio) high band used by emergency medical services, local government councils and private businesses. While monitoring user occupancy in the VHF PMR was a fairly straightforward project, analysing the volume of acquired data proved daunting.

The Agency’s Mobile Monitoring Section set up six unattended monitoring systems between the city centre and the M25, the major highway artery encircling the metropolitan area. A seventh manned monitoring system was activated in London’s Hyde Park. For thirteen weeks each of these monitoring systems collected 12 megabytes of ASCII data on more than 300 radio channels.

According to the Agency’s Quality Manager, Kevin Mylan, the spreadsheet and database software they were using “proved to be incapable of analysing the vast amount of data we were gathering and so the search began for new software.”

THE SOLUTION

A new data analysis solution was literally down the road from the Agency. Long-standing DADiSP dealer Adept Scientific responded to a query from Mylan with an on-site demonstration. Adept’s product manager went down the street to their offices with his PC and DADiSP and pulled their data straight in. Within 10 minutes they could visualise their data. The Agency immediately started using DADiSP for Windows.

“We were able to build up a profile of channel usage…for both base-transmit and mobile-transmit frequencies,” says Mylan. “At the end of two weeks solid work, we were able to meet with representatives of the radiocommunications industry armed with detailed line graphs showing occupancy of a radio channel from 0000 Hours on Monday morning through to 2359 Hours on Sunday evening for any channel and any location…all this at the click of a mouse button.”

In March 1995, the Agency published a comprehensive report for the radio industry, containing traffic distribution characteristics as well as best and worst case scenarios for all channels in the VHF PMR high band. After the success of the radio spectrum audit, Mylan’s group purchased additional DADiSP licenses from Adept and are now using the software on a daily basis.

DADiSP is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

DADiSP helps Hong Kong Polytechnic in London research the mechanical properties of fabric and sewing thread.

As garment manufacturers compete to increase rates of production, an increasingly important objective of research in the industry is to find fabric and thread combinations that can be sewed at high speeds without producing defects.

THE PROBLEM

Sewing is one of those ancient human activities that is difficult to automate because there are too many variables with wide parameters. Putting together a garment, for instance, requires choices of fabric and thread, variation in stitch size and thread tension, and the ability to compensate for aberrations in materials, among other factors. Richard Chmielowiec, a doctoral student at the Hong Kong Polytechnic in London, is conducting research into setting up a system for testing a factor he calls “sewability”- the capacity of a fabric and thread combination to be sewn without producing defects such as seam buckling. He investigates dynamic conditions during high-speed sewing to determine which variables involved in sewing a good seam can be tested reliably.

Chmielowiec’s RSTM/SPMS instrumentation is called an ETS (Experimental Testing Sewability) station, where RSTM stands for Richard’s (Chmielowiec) Sewability Testing Method, and SPMS stands for Seam Pucker Measuring System. The instrumentation consists of a state-of-the-art Pfaff lock-stitch sewing machine with several sensors attached and uses a textile evaluation method called image processing analysis. The station’s data analysis software must be flexible enough to perform many kinds of analyses, and it must be menu-driven, so researchers can learn to use it in minimal time. Finally, it must be highly compatible with other software and hardware components, to accommodate changes in instrumentation and analysis methods over time.

THE SOLUTION

Richard Chmielowiec chose DADiSP, graphic display and data processing software, to provide him with flexible visual display and analysis capabilities for his sewing research station.

During an RSTM test, a straight seam is sewn on the Pfaff sewing machine, and signals are acquired by the six attached transducers. One A/D sensor is currently free for future design changes; the other three pick up needle penetration force (NPF), presser foot pressure force (PFD; the presser foot is the metal piece that holds down fabric for the needle), and sewing thread tension (STT). Two more transducers pick up digital signals: presser foot displacement (PFD) and real-time clock signal/system calibration. Data are generated at a rate of up to 480 points per shaft rotation, a cycle in which the needle moves down and up again to make one complete stitch. The four A/D signals – NPF, PFF, STT, and PFD – are displayed on a plot. These signals are amplified, then all six signals are transformed via Data Translation boards and acquired through specially designed software programs. Data go to an IBM-compatible 386-based personal computer and from there to a plotter and printer. Once an adequate amount of data is stored, DADiSP is used for further analysis. Using the incoming data, signals are separated from noise and peaks are found in the time and frequency domains. The results are compared with the properties of fabrics and threads being tested and are finally correlated with the incidence of seam buckling at the tested parameters.

Chmielowiec states that he appreciates DADiSP’s ability to store large amounts of data in several formats. He also likes its flexibility in carrying out many kinds of analyses as new ideas arise. His instrumentation has proved successful, and has now been assembled at the Hong Kong Polytechnic for permanent use. Research such as his will ultimately result in efficiency standards and materials recommendations across the industry.

DADiSP is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Analysing data where spreadsheets fear to tread

For any engineer or researcher working with long time series, DADiSP has long represented an intriguing third way of manipulating, editing, displaying or analysing data. The latest release, DADiSP/2002, available from Adept Scientific, contains a number of interesting developments, making it an even more powerful tool for analysing large data sets.

DADiSP acquires, reads and even generates data, displaying the results in multiple windows for immediate graphic comparison. A DADiSP worksheet is comprised of as many analysis windows as are required, each of which can contain either graphs or tables of raw data, or data transformed by one of DADiSP’s many analysis functions. The data and graphs in each DADiSP window can be related through formulae to those in other windows, enabling an analysis chain to be created without programming. When new data is loaded into the raw data windows, dependent analysis windows automatically recalculate and update, graphically.

The new DADiSP/2002 supports external Worksheet Documents or .DWK files (DADiSP Worksheet File). DWK files are single file, standalone worksheets that can be saved or opened by DADiSP. The program also functions as a full ActiveX Document Server. DADiSP Worksheets can be embedded, manipulated, saved and printed by any ActiveX Container application such as MS Excel or MS Word.

DADiSP/2002 employs an optimised memory management scheme to make the most of system memory when processing large or small datasets. Large series are transparently buffered to and from the disk while in memory buffers are sized specifically to the result of the calculation at hand. The maximum buffer size can be customised to take advantage of today’s large memory systems. Calculations involving smaller series are automatically compacted to conserve total memory space.

DADiSP/2002 includes over 80 new built-in and SPL routines spanning the areas of matrix and series manipulation, signal processing, maths, colour, series generation, curve fitting and statistics. It now offers over 1000 analysis routines with an intuitive and familiar user interface to provide one of the most complete and easy to use data analysis tools available today.

DADiSP/2002 is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site http://www.adeptscience.co.uk/. Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

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