Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Designing communication technologies for couples to support touch over distance

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-11
Abstract: 

Many couples live apart due to work, educational situations, or frequent travel. While technology can help mediate these relationships, there is a lack of designs that allow couples to share a sense of touch over distance. I present a design case study of a tangible communication system called Flex-N-Feel—a pair of gloves that allows distance-separated couples to feel the flexing of their remote partners’ fingers through vibrotactile sensations on their skin. I evaluated this design with nine couples where the system was augmented with either a Skype audio call or a video connection. This study showed that participants enjoyed their conversation more with the gloves, felt more emotionally connected, and experienced intimate moments together. Couples used the glove for shared actions, playful episodes, intimate touches, and to simply feel each other’s presence. Video was important to aid couples in understanding each other’s actions. The results illustrate that designs focusing on physical touch over distance should be open to improvisation and likely support appropriation such that they can augment existing communication routines and technologies.

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

Is pop-out search impaired during the period of the attentional blink?

Date created: 
2017-06-22
Abstract: 

The involvement of attention in pop-out visual search is controversial. According to some theories, efficient pop-out search is accomplished preattentively, while others claim the involvement of attention is essential. In the present work, the role of attention in performing pop-out search tasks was elucidated by manipulating the availability of attention using an attentional blink (AB) paradigm. In Chapter 2, the efficiency of pop-out search – indexed by the slope of response time (RT) functions over the number of items in the search array – was examined throughout the period of the AB. Search efficiency was found to be unaffected by the AB, although the overall level of RT was slower during the AB. These findings suggest the action of at least two separable mechanisms underlying performance in pop-out search tasks, indexed by level and efficiency of search, which are affected in different ways by the availability of attention. In Chapter 3, the role of selective attention in pop-out search was examined by measuring the onset latency of the N2pc, an event-related potential index of attentional selection. Both the RT and the N2pc measures were delayed during the AB, but the delay in N2pc was substantially shorter than that in RT. This pattern of results points to multiple sources of delay in the chain of processing events, as distinct from the single source postulated in current theories of the AB, and strongly suggests that selective attention is involved in pop-out search tasks. In Chapter 4, the relative exogenous and endogenous salience of two targets (T2, T3) presented throughout the period of the AB were manipulated in order to assess whether the perception of salience is impaired during the AB. The perception of temporal order of these targets was measured. Both exogenous and endogenous salience were found to be effective in modulating the perception of temporal order throughout the period of the AB, suggesting that the effect of salience is broadly additive with the overall AB effect. In Chapter 5, the implications of these findings for both search and the AB, are discussed and future research directions are proposed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Thomas Spalek
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Environmental historical archaeology of the Galápagos Islands: Paleoethnobotany of Hacienda El Progreso, 1870-1904

Date created: 
2017-06-22
Abstract: 

After their discovery in 1535, the Galápagos Islands remained sporadically inhabited until 1832 when they were legally annexed to the Republic of Ecuador. For three centuries, the archipelago was visited by pirates and whalers and was later the location of industrial size plantations, one prison, and an American army base. Today, the archipelago is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Americas. These events have permanently modified the local landscape but also the terrestrial and maritime ecology. In this research, I explore the ecological effects of the initial human occupation of the archipelago. The overall goals are to explore the initial human-plant interactions during the 19th century and how social, economic, and political relations formed the social landscapes of the early occupation of San Cristóbal Island. I combine the theoretical frameworks of Historical Ecology with the methodological frameworks of Environmental Historical Archaeology and Garden Archaeology. The integrated analysis of historical written records, historical cartography, and microbotanical remains were the research model. The internal layout and agricultural lands of Hacienda “El Progreso” (1870-1904) were studied.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Ross Jamieson
Catherine D’Andrea
Department: 
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Homeless journeys: Understanding mobility of the homeless with respect to their survival strategies

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-17
Abstract: 

This study contributes to understanding homelessness in Vancouver by investigating homeless mobility and destinations, two topics that are germane to the motivation to remain unsheltered and travel to Vancouver while homeless. Altogether, 24 persons were interviewed for this study in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The primary finding is that among those interviewed, a majority were from out of town, not homeless when they first arrived in Vancouver, and have mobility concentrated in the DTES. The exception to this was five individuals who had been street homeless for over one consecutive year and had dispersed mobility all over the city, typically in response to opportunistic survival strategies and desire to sleep in isolated areas. Illegal survival strategies were uncommon, and housing was identified as easy to find though good housing was not. Shelters were universally distrusted. This paper concludes with recommendations for policy and a call to action for future research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Characterizing Recharge to Fractured Bedrock in a Temperate Climate

Date created: 
2017-05-16
Abstract: 

Fractured bedrock aquifers can have large seasonal water table fluctuations due to their low storage capacity. This study uses a land surface – subsurface model, MIKE SHE, to investigate the spatial and seasonal rainfall-runoff-recharge dynamics on Gabriola Island, in a temperate region of British Columbia, Canada. The model results suggest that recharge averages 20% of the annual precipitation, occurring dominantly over 70% of the island, typically at higher elevation. Perennial seepage areas are simulated over 4% of the island, and are generally confined to breaks in slope in low topography areas. The high water table in late fall to early spring causes both seepage and saturated overland flow to contribute to more runoff. Increases in precipitation due to climate change leads to increased runoff (+36% to +40%) and recharge (+8% to +10%) relative to today. Recharge changes are most significant in winter (+13% to +16%), compared to summer (-3% to -4%).

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Diana Allen
Department: 
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Undertale: Violence in Context

Date created: 
2017-08-17
Abstract: 

The following capstone paper analyses the communication of non-violence and killing in the digital computer game Undertale (TobyFox, 2015). I discuss the implications this has for how we speak and think about violence and (virtual) pacifism in games and game spaces. I conclude that we need to consider a more nuanced approach to discussing violence in digital games. I further argue that Undertale, and related Indie games, bridge the (artificial) gap between serious games and entertainment games. The line that exists academically and economically between these two sectors ultimately contributes to an extreme understanding of games on either side that limits our understanding of what games are and what they can do that is ultimately harmful to both sides. I therefore encourage a reconsideration of these two game genres.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Milena Droumeva
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Race and real estate: How data informed public debate on BC's Foreign Buyer Tax

Abstract: 

This capstone references works and theories surrounding the 2016 debate over causal factors of Vancouver’s inflated real estate market. Where and how this discussion has been informed by data will be examined through a case study supported by an analysis of mainstream media headlines. This case study will lead to an examination of data as concept, a tool for making disorder “legible” (Scott, 1998), after which Checkland’s model of dare and capere is referenced to further break down the interpretive nature of data. Both theories are discussed when I revisit Bill 28’s Property Transfer Tax (PTT) form amendment alongside a few observations about the use of data in policy narratives.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stuart Poyntz
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

The Transition from High School Mathematics to First Year Calculus

Date created: 
2017-06-29
Abstract: 

Student preparedness for first-year calculus has been an ongoing concern for post-secondary programs and their respective career paths. Researchers have investigated the benefits and pitfalls of prior calculus knowledge, and the general development of academic competence in an effort to improve student success and retention. Most of the literature is survey based, rather than anecdotal, and serves to inform universities about their own student populations, rather than to inform incoming students about how to be successful. This study compares the perspectives of students and lectures based on anecdotal responses to related questions, and identifies the expectations and habits that are different from students’ high school experiences. The results showed most differences were in regards to the amount of time students needed to spend on homework problems, their problem-solving skills and level of engagement with their homework; and the level of self motivation and independence that was needed for success.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Liljedahl
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis (Education) ) M.Sc.

"Life and Death in The Orenda" and "Here We Shall Remain"

Date created: 
2017-06-29
Abstract: 

Aboriginal relations are explored in one essay and one play. Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda contains graphic depictions of violence which proved divisive for readers and critics alike. However, these depictions are both accurate and significant to not just the contents of the novel but to violence in the world. Ernest Becker’s ideas on death anxiety and culture are used to explain the violence as ritual, allowing readers to understand the nature of violence between cultures and to take away positive messages from Boyden’s novel. In a play about Tecumseh, taking place during the War of 1812, issues aboriginals struggle with today are reminiscent of issues aboriginals experienced over 200 years ago. The question remains: how far have we come in over two centuries of shared history? Moving forward, aboriginals and non-aboriginals must learn to live together otherwise the consequences can be destructive and potentially fatal to individuals and entire cultures.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jack Martin
Sasha Colby
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Liberal Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.L.S.

Global Structure-from-Motion and Its Application

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-07-06
Abstract: 

Structure-from-motion (SfM) is a fundamental problem in 3D computer vision, with the aim of recovering camera poses and 3D scene structure simultaneously given a set of 2D images. SfM methods can be broadly divided into incremental and global methods according to their ways to register cameras. Incremental methods register cameras one by one, while global SfM methods solve all cameras simultaneously from all available relative motions. As a result, global SfM has better potential in both reconstruction accuracy and computation efficiency than incremental SfM. In this thesis, we address two challenges of global SfM. Our goal is to propose a robust and efficient global SfM system which is applicable to all kinds of motions and datasets. The first challenge is that translation averaging in global SfM is difficult, since the input relative motion between two cameras doesn’t encode the scale information. Therefore, many existing global SfM methods don’t work for the data whose measurement graph is not parallel rigid, e.g. all cameras on the same line. To tackle this challenge, we propose a global SfM method based on a novel linear relationship within camera triplets. Our formulation encodes the scale information by the baseline length ratios within the camera triplet, which helps deal with the collinear camera motion. We further extend the linear relationship within camera triplets to linear constraints for cameras seeing a common scene point, which can improve the global translation estimation for the data with weak image association. The second challenge is that global SfM methods are fragile on noisy data, and one incorrect pairwise relationship may distort the result greatly as global SfM considers all relative relationships together. To deal with this challenge, we propose a novel global SfM pipeline where camera registration is formulated as a well-posed similarity averaging problem solved robustly with L1 optimization. What’s more, the novel pipeline makes the filtering of noisy relative poses simple and effective, which can further improve the robustness of global SfM. We show the effectiveness of our global SfM system by applying it into the video alignment problem which aims to find per-pixel correspondences between two video sequences in both spatial and temporal dimensions. Guided by the 3D information from global SfM, the proposed video registration method can align videos taken at different times with substantially different appearances, in the presence of moving objects and moving cameras with slightly different trajectories.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ping Tan
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.