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

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Designing and Evaluating a Slow Technology for Personal Media Sharing

Date created: 
2015-01-16
Abstract: 

Personal media sharing of photos and video has become a spectacle of the immediate, yet it may come at the cost of meaning and significance. To explore this design space, I created a new tool, Postulater, which supports time-delayed photo and video sharing. The goal of my research was to understand how media sharing tools should be designed and how they might be used for sending media, if users were able to select delivery time explicitly. I conducted a field evaluation of Postulater over six weeks and found that participants valued sending time-based messages to send reminders, share personal memories and reflections, affect future time periods, and send social greetings. These messaging acts often garnered strong emotions from the participants. The implication is that time-based messaging systems should be designed in a cautionary way that balances the need to send messages ‘into the future’ with the complex human emotions that such practices can create.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Carman Neustaedter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Tagging with Movement: Somatic Strategies for Digital Image Classification

Date created: 
2014-11-24
Abstract: 

This dissertation presents an exploratory investigation of ways to incorporate somatic, or movement, experience into interaction with computers. The research centers on the concept design of a hypothetical application that uses movement instead of text to generate tags for digital content. These kinesthetic tags provide an alternate approach to interaction with digital images, one that prioritizes somatic perception over visual perception. Imagery has a long history of use in movement-based disciplines for teaching, conditioning, and heightening awareness of somatic experience. Kinesthetic tagging provided a focus for investigating this connection by providing insight into process through which people enact their relationship with visual media, exploring contents, concepts, and meanings. The research study addressed a gap in the literature pertaining to the integration of functional and experiential movement. Although a kinesthetic tagging application was not developed as part of this research, the concept served to facilitate the exploration of movement experience and its potential use for interaction. This exploration took place in a two-day movement-based workshop in which participants focused on the investigation of movement qualities derived from the concept of Effort as defined in the Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) framework. LMA Effort factors describe the experiential content of movements through the expressive qualities they exhibit. This feature provides a systematic method for linking observable movements with peoples’ somatic states, making the Effort factors useful tools for investigating movement experience. The research workshop incorporated various methods from design, performance, and Somatics, and utilized a modified version of grounded theory for data analysis. The outcome of the analysis is a conceptual framework explicating how users’ approach the task of enacting visual content using expressive movement. This framework identifies three modes of connection and seven mechanisms of interaction that inform a user’s process. A set of hypotheses relating to the process of enactment are generated, as well as a set of design considerations for a kinesthetic tagging system. The dissertation concludes with the articulation of five areas that would benefit from the integration of functional and experiential movement.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Mapping, Meaning, and Motion: An Artistic Framework for Visualizing Movement Quality

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-11-26
Abstract: 

This dissertation presents the development of an artistic framework for visualizing movement quality that is composed of a series of artistic visualization systems, a set of design strategies for aesthetically representing movement quality information, and evaluative studies of the movement experts’ experience in perceiving movement quality visualization. In digital technology contexts, movement quality information can be accessed and obtained by exploring the semantics of an expressive motion framework called Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) as well as the use of computational techniques to measure, analyze, and capture this type of information from the human body in motion. LMA has broad application across research fields of art computing (e.g., character animation, gesture recognition, interaction design, robotics, visual language, interactive arts, and game design). However, the integration of LMA within the visualization domain is still under exploration, and there are no contributions in that domain for representing high-level semantic information such as movement quality. This thesis’ research aims to develop understanding of how LMA can be used as a semantic design resource for visualizing movement qualities by (1) outlining potential visual mapping to represent movement qualities and (2) creating a set of design heuristics for abstract visual representation of movement quality. To generate better understanding of how LMA can be artistically applied to visualization contexts, practice-based research was used as an approach to developing a series of visualization systems that used LMA as an underlying model to capture, represent, and map movement quality to a visualization system. Movement experts were selected to participate in evaluation of the visualization systems, and the comparative analysis method was used to critique, analyze, and compare these visualization systems. This study contributes new knowledge gained from art practice by illustrating how movement theoretical models and movement expertise can be modified and adapted to the design and application of more richly articulated human movement knowledge within the visualization domain. Finally, the study provided a set of design heuristics comprised of eight design guidelines for representing eight movement qualities. These design guidelines can be applied and further explored in various areas, such as visual communication design, abstract animation, and movement analytics.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Thecla Schiphorst
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Design ReExplorer: interactive Design Narratives for feedback, analysis and exploration

Date created: 
2014-09-10
Abstract: 

Designers reflect-in and reflect-on their design process, for this they need a record of their design moves. In many cases the design process is as important as the design outcome itself. In parametric CAD (pCAD) this is particularly true as the record of designer actions are the elements on which the parametric model is built. Current pCAD systems provide designers with limited tools for recording, viewing or analyzing the design process. In this thesis I propose the Design Analytics framework to exalt the design process as an artefact for design; the framework consists of design process feedback, tools for analysis and enabling the re-exploration of the design space based on analytic reasoning. The Design ReExplorer prototype was developed to test these ideas and evaluate its insertion and viability in real-world scenarios through an expert panel study. The results of the study are favourable with positive feedback and multiple suggestions for future work.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Halil Erhan
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Exploring Context: Using Teacher Perspectives to Guide Tangible Multi-Touch Tabletop Design for Classrooms

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-12-02
Abstract: 

The growing potential of Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) for education in the child-computer interaction community has yet to explore how TUIs can best be designed and evaluated for complicated and dynamic classroom settings. This thesis aims to help researchers and designers gain a better understanding of what matters when embedding TUIs within a classroom environment by exploring themes of contextual concerns derived from teacher interviews. Through a comparative exploration, comprised of two studies, I examined both predictions of use and actual classroom integration in an effort to understand important design and evaluation considerations. I present results that are a culmination of data from both studies to form a more full picture of the problem space. I contribute both analytic themes and design considerations for TUI tabletops for primary educational classrooms. I introduce The Activity Checklist as a tool to guide existing qualitative inquiry methods for 'real world' deployments.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alissa Antle
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

What Makes a Maker: Common Attitudes, Habits and Skills from the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Community

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-06
Abstract: 

New technologies, communities, and identities are changing the way that many Do-It-Yourself (DIY) practitioners work. These changes are shaping a ‘modern’ DIY practice and have inspired interest from Interaction Design researchers. This study explores ‘modern’ DIY practice and the demographics of its practitioners, using interviews and a survey. Results indicate that DIY practitioners are: finding inspiration from friends and online reading; making projects for others and customizing items they own; developing expert problem solving skills; and working within flexible schedules. Respondents were balanced by gender (51% of respondents were female). Nearly half had post-secondary training in design or technology, but the majority of respondents reported that they were self-taught to some extent. Implications of these findings for designers are explored. This study contributes useful data and insights about modern DIY practitioners’ habits, attitudes, skills, and demographics, providing design researchers with a broader and more complete understanding of this community.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Bernhard Riecke
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Developing and Validating Customizable Process Models

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-09-02
Abstract: 

A process model defines the activities of a business process and their attributes (e.g. cost and time). Process models typically are instantiated several times and every process instance may be executed differently based on the context and the requirements of target stakeholders. Hence, several variants of the same process model may coexist in organizations which urges the organizations to support flexible processes in order to cope with process variabilities. Motivated by the need of flexible process models, a number of approaches have been proposed for the development of customizable process models which integrate variability in process models.The development and adaptation of customizable process models raise several challenges: 1) the need for taking into account several variability types (i.e. OR, alternative, and optional) which may occur in a customizable process model; 2) integrating variability into process models impose additional modeling complexity; 3) deriving a process variant from a customizable process model requires the close consideration of a target application requirements and relation between variants and requirements; 4) ensuring compliance of a process variant with behavioral and configuration constraints formulated in a customizable process model. This dissertation presents a feature oriented customization and validation framework for customizable process models. The customization component relies on software product lines and utilizes feature modeling techniques for modeling variability in customizable process models. Additionally, a pre-configuration process, a decision making technique called Stratified Analytical Hierarchy Process (S-AHP), and Artificial Intelligent Planning Techniques are provided to derive a process variant from a customizable process model based on the stakeholders requirements. The validation component identifies a set possible inconsistency patterns between requirements model (represented by goal model), variability model (represent by feature model), and customizable process models and employs Description Logic to detect the inconsistencies.We evaluated the framework using a set of experiments and explored the running time of the proposed techniques under different sizes of models and constraints. The results show that the running time of proposed techniques is tractable in practical customizable process models. Additionally, a comparative analysis of the components of the framework is conducted which reveals improvements over state of the art in customizable process models.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marek Hatala
Dragan Gasevic
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

A Machine that Dreams: An Artistic Enquiry Leading to an Integrative Theory and Computational Artwork

Date created: 
2014-09-09
Abstract: 

What is a dream? What is the relationship between dreaming, mind wandering and external perception? These questions are at the core of this artistic enquiry. In this art-as-research practice, both arts and sciences are defined as practices that construct culturally relevant representations that function as tools exploited in our attempt to make sense of the world and ourselves. Through this research, novel contributions are made to both artistic practices and cognitive science where both are manifest in a computational system that serves as both a generative and site-specific artwork and as a computational model of dreaming - the Dreaming Machine. Visual mentation is the experience of visual images in the mind and includes visual aspects of perception, mental imagery, mind wandering and dreaming. The Integrative Theory of visual mentation unifies biopsychological theories of perception, dreaming and mental imagery and makes three major hypotheses: Visual mentation (1) involves the activation of perceptual representations, (2) is experienced phenomenologically due to the activation of these representations, and (3) depends on shared mechanisms of simulation that exploit these representations. The Integrative Theory is the theoretical foundation of the model and artwork that generates dream imagery. The Dreaming Machine is an image-making agent that uses clustering and machine learning methods to make sense of live images captured in the context of installation. Visual images are generated during external perception, mind wandering and dreaming, and are constructed from shared perceptual representations learned during waking. The difference between these processes of visual mentation are varying degrees of activation from external stimuli (exogenous) and feedback in a predictive model of the world (endogenous). As an artwork, the generative methods manifesting biopsychological processes create a rich diversity of imagery that ranges from abstract collage to photo-realism. The artwork is meant to facilitate the viewer's sense of his/her own fabricated perceptions and consider the relationships between computation, cognitive models and scientific conceptions of mind and dreaming.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Philippe Pasquier
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

The influence of visual structure and physical motion cues on spatial orientation in a virtual reality point-to-origin task

Date created: 
2014-08-06
Abstract: 

Virtual reality simulators have a serious flaw: Users tend to get lost and disoriented as they navigate. The prevailing opinion is that this is due to the lack of physical motion cues, but a growing body of research challenges this notion. In two experiments, 48 participants estimated their position after passive motions in a virtual environment without landmarks (ranging from pure optic flow to a structured city), by pointing towards the origin of the simulated movement. In half of the trials the visually displayed turns were accompanied by a matching physical rotation. Results showed that while physical rotation cues did not improve spatial orientation performance, structured visuals did. Furthermore, we observed that visuals experienced first by a participant significantly affected spatial orientation performance in subsequent environments. Our findings lend support to the notion that spatial orientation ability in VR may not require physical motion cues, but can be facilitated by a naturalistic and structured environment. This knowledge improves our understanding of how different modalities affect human spatial cognition, and can guide the design of safer and more affordable VR simulators.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Berhard Riecke
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Virtual Reality and Health Informatics for Management of Chronic Pain

Date created: 
2014-07-29
Abstract: 

Approximately 20 percent of people in North America suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts more than 6 months and that persists beyond the healing of its putative cause. The complexity of the disease involves neurobiological, psychological and social dimensions, and as such, there exists no universal treatment for this disease. Besides pharmacological approaches to the management of chronic pain, digital media has not been widely used as a method of treatment in conjunction with traditional pharmacological approaches. In this thesis, I designed and conducted several studies that constituted use of an Immersive Virtual Environment (VE) designed to assist chronic pain patients in self-modulating their pain, and ideally raise their pain tolerance. The VE, equipped with a biofeedback system, gives patients a chance to learn and practice mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). One of the primary goals is to enable users to consciously train their emotional arousal, measured by galvanic skin response (GSR) in a healthy manner. The results suggest that Virtual Reality combined with biofeedback, and in conjunction with well-known MBSR, can decrease the pain reported by the patients.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Diane Gromala
Chris Shaw
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.