SIAT - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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A whole body, kinaesthetic digital drawing tool for art therapy

Date created: 
2012-04-04
Abstract: 

This study is to explore the likelihood of a kinaesthetic user interface and algorithmically generated drawing tool to serve as an effective tool in art therapy. The author has assumed increasing the range of physical movement to full body can allow patients to reveal information about their mental and psychological state, which is to help achieve therapeutic goals. Based on this premise and the improvement upon current digital devices, a motion-sensing drawing tool has been created based on research findings to validate the impact of drawing and whole body movement on art therapy. With corroboration from research findings and artefacts, validated data were collected from art therapy practitioners and further analysed. The results indicate this tool can aid therapists’ achieving therapeutic goals by facilitating clients to express creatively. The clients who can benefit from this tool include people prone to impaired verbal communication and people with physical disabilities or emotional problems.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Prof. Steve DiPaola
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Alternatives in visual analytics and computational design

Date created: 
2011-11-23
Abstract: 

Clearly, one's ability to build, explore, and compare alternatives can lead to better decision making, problem solving, and design outcomes. However, I find that all too often many systems still work in a single state mode where the user can only see the result from one set of inputs at a time. Here I propose a formalism designed to represent alternatives and spaces of alternatives using the propagation-based parametric models. I choose the inputs (source nodes' independent properties) as the representation of an alternative, which I have labeled variation heads. A variation head may contain one or several inputs to the model. The information carried by several variation heads can be unified to create a new variation head. Then I define the concept of the variation space as a collection of many variation heads. A variation space is structured by an indexed array. Two key operations, Index Unification and Cartesian Unification, can be used to unify two or more spaces. The user defines a series of variation heads as a variation space and indexes them based on his/her preference, uses unification to unify the many variation spaces to create a space of the inputs for the system, and then generates a space of results based on these inputs. This research adopts design science research methodology to iteratively refine the formalism through loops of problem awareness, design, and evaluation. A prototypical system has been developed as a formative evaluation in order to confirm, explore, and expand the formalism from a purely mathematical perspective by testing out many varied and differing kinds of data organizations. To demonstrate its usage, I show how this formalism can be used on a specific visual analytics tool (CZSaw) in order to create a space of visualization variations; I then explain both how this formalism can be used to enrich the user's interaction in the variation space and how the indices of the space can help the user to navigate through the space.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Robert Woodbury
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Advances in multi-agent polygonal area coverage

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-04-12
Abstract: 

We address the problem of multi-agent repeated coverage of polygonal environments. The map of the environment and its static polygonal obstacles are given and each agent is equipped with a panoramic visual sensor with limited visibility range. Two graph-based methods are proposed to represent the environment based on the Visibility Graph and the Constrained Delaunay Triangulation. Using the two graph-based representations of the area, four coverage mechanisms are proposed and developed. The impact of the proposed graph-based representations are then investigated on the performance of the four variations of the coverage algorithm in terms of visiting frequency of points of the target area, total distance the agents traverse and quality of the workload distribution among the agents. The results show that optimizing each of the mentioned criteria requires a specific environment representation and choice of coverage algorithm. Therefore, more nuanced conclusions and guidelines are drawn from the results.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Using transparency in visualization

Date created: 
2011-11-22
Abstract: 

Over the last two decades, there have been a growing number of applications for transparency in visualization. Transparency is a visual feature that provides solutions to certain fundamental visualization problems. Currently, there is insufficient research regarding the benefits and the limitations of using transparency in visualization. The lack of research on this topic becomes more apparent when we compare the amount of research done towards applying colour in visualization. This thesis attempts to connect the research in perceptual transparency and the use of transparency in visualization. The first part of this thesis reviews prior research in perceptual transparency; different types of existing visualizations were analyzed using research from perceptual transparency. The final part of this study applies transparency in a grid structure; the study is built on previous research with Just Attendable Difference (JAD) for reference structure, examining factors of grid colours, image type and density of the data structure.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Lyn Bartram
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Technology self-perceptions: the effects of gender, education program and job type

Date created: 
2011-11-28
Abstract: 

This study explores gender and education effects on self-perceptions of technology self-efficacy and locus of control. Three steps were used to approach the issue: (1) testing for gender and education influences on individual’s feelings of self-efficacy and control with technology, (2) assessing intentions to update job and technology skills, and (3) whether prior experience with technology positively influenced self-perceptions. The self-perception measures used were versions of Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale, Spector’s work locus of control scale, and Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior. These scales were modified to reflect job and technology domains, and administered in an online questionnaire. The respondents were classified into technology and non-technology jobs, and technology (computer science, engineering, and interactive arts) and non-technology education programs. There were 49 men and 34 women with technology education, and 41 men and 55 women from non-technology education programs. The study findings revealed men have higher technology self-efficacy compared to women, and women with a technology education had higher technology self-efficacy compared to women with a non-technology education. An unexpected result of the study is women with technology jobs have lower technology self-efficacy when compared to women with non-technology jobs. The theory of planned behavior accounts for less than 30% of the variance, and was not a powerful predictor for updating job or technology skills. The main contribution of this study is finding evidence of a positive influence of technology education among women. Although the results confirm prior research showing women have lower self-evaluations on all scales—and technology scales in particular--the women-only results suggest an overall positive influence of technology education on technology self-efficacy. The study used quantitative data and samples from an employed population, thereby expanding the knowledge area beyond high school and university student samples used in many gender and technology studies.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
John Bowes
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The Beatback system: exploring interactive percussion for promoting rhythmic practice

Date created: 
2011-09-23
Abstract: 

This thesis details the development and research of Beatback, an interactive percussion system for promoting rhythmic practice. Beatback is a software based system which with MIDI-enabled hardware controllers - such as an electronic drum-kit - allows users to play with their own rhythmic material in two interaction modes: (1) Call-response allows users to reflect on their own playing with system generated responses learnt from the user's own performance. (2) Accompaniment enables users to build up complex rhythmic patterns by layering their own looped drum patterns. The first of two studies focused on drummers practising patterns with the system filtering out (or zoning) drums being played by the user, which found significant benefits to the zoned method. Research focusing on the Beatback system in its entirety demonstrated that both naive and experienced drummers feel more competent (in call-response) and enjoy interacting (in accompaniment) with the system significantly more than having open time to play the drum-kit. The results from both of these studies suggest the possibility of employing systems such as Beatback to benefit those practicing or learning how to play the drum-kit.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Visual analytics for aviation safety: A collaborative approach to sensemaking

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-08-22
Abstract: 

Visual analytics, the “science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces”, is more than just visualization. Understanding the human reasoning process is essential for designing effective visualization tools and providing correct analyses. This thesis describes the evolution, application and evaluation of a new method for studying analytical reasoning that we have labeled paired analysis. Paired analysis combines subject matter experts (SMEs) and tool experts (TE) in an analytic dyad, here used to investigate aircraft maintenance and safety data. The method was developed and evaluated using interviews, pilot studies and analytic sessions during an internship at the Boeing Company. By enabling a collaborative approach to sensemaking that can be captured by researchers, paired analysis yielded rich data on human analytical reasoning that can be used to support analytic tool development and analyst training.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Brian Fisher
Janet McCracken
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Parameter spaces, spacetime control and motion graphs for automating the animation of videogame characters

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2011-09-12
Abstract: 

Character animations are a crucial part of many interactive applications, from training simulations to videogames. As these applications have become more sophisticated, the growing number of character animations required has made standard animation techniques like key-framing and motion-capture increasingly expensive and time-consuming. Procedurally generating animations appears to offer a solution. This thesis extends and combines work from several areas of procedural animation to create an end-to-end system for the automatic generation of character animations for interactive applications. Specifically, our architecture pairs Spacetime Control, used to automatically generate new physically-valid clips of character animation, with a data-driven playback technique, used to automatically generate continuous streams of character motion from these clips in real-time. Our approach exploits the natural parameterization present in videogames and character motion to organize and automate the procedural generation of large quantities of character animation. It also supports rapid-prototyping, easily handles animation design changes, and may potentially be operated from start to finish by a single user. We demonstrate this architecture with a working implementation and show results from an example scenario starring a humanoid character capable of dozens of generated motions including standing, walking, running, turning and stepping.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Steve DiPaola
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Bird’s eye Vancouver: mapping time, culture and biosphere

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-08-19
Abstract: 

Cities are now the dominant form of human habitation. How they are managed and developed will have global sustainability consequences. In the design and planning of cities, maps are a tool for cataloguing and organizing infrastructure, but they are less often used in a creative or strategic capacity. Two forces that have a significant impact on the development of cities—their ecological context, and their culture—tend to be invisible on maps. This study investigates ways of mapping these forces using the affordances of digital media, particularly 3D computer graphics, to support new ways of mapping the dynamic space that surrounds the infrastructure of cities. This new mapping is informed by artistic and cartographic traditions of visualizing space, and brings a representation of time to the map form.

Document type: 
Thesis
Supervisor(s): 
Diane Gromala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Visually exploring player strategies with Pathways, a visual analytics tool

Date created: 
2011-08-23
Abstract: 

Games User Research (GUR) is a specialized field of User Experience, (UX) adapting its methods to focus on videogames, where making a game ‘fun’ and improving engagement is as important, if not more, than making the game usable. Currently no published work has described a visual analytics system that uses a player's recorded gameplay events to uncover winning spatial strategies in competitive multiplayer matches or popular paths in open world casual games; both of which can affect the long term enjoyability of the game and provide designers with a focus for improving the game experience. This thesis describes the design and implementation of a visual analytics tool for gameplay data called Pathways which is developed to enable the exploration of players’ strategy and behaviour within the game world over time.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Magy Seif El-Nasr
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.