186 results for Masters, Modify

  • Evaluation of utilisation of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Programme in Central province, Kenya

    Ngugi, Catherine Njeri (2013)

    Masters thesis
    The University of Auckland Library

    Background: The PMTCT HIV programme has been one of the most successful HIV preventive interventions towards HIV-free future generations. However, even though the programme is virtually effective in developed countries, many developing countries are reporting child HIV infections due to the MTCT. The programme has existed in Kenya for more than a decade, yet in 2011, 12,894children were HIV infected due to MTCT Objective: To evaluate the PMTCT programme, especially the HIV testing from the antenatal period to the postnatal period among expectant parents attending Nyeri Provincial General Hospital in Central Province, Kenya. Design: Retrospective analysis of the hospital registers. Methods: Three hospital registers were analysed for the period from July 2009 to September 2012. The registers were for antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care respectively. Each register documented the utilisation of PMTCT services by the expectant parents. Descriptive and inferential statistics were produced to analyse data from the registers. Results: The PMTCT services utilisation was sub-optimal. Of the 504 expectant mothers who attended the antenatal clinic, 59.9% came once, 80.4% had their first visit in the third trimester (between weeks 28 and 40) and only 6.9% were accompanied by their partners. All the women were HIV tested in their first visit but only 12.1% were rescreened after three months, and only 3.8% had been tested prior to the current pregnancy (p=0.000). No expectant mother was tested for HIV intrapartum or postpartum. The children of the 504 mothers who were HIV tested were those whose parent/s were known to be HIV positive or who had presented to a child welfare clinic with recurring symptoms suggestive of a failing immune system. Conclusion: Public health programs need to strengthen the PMTCT and HIV prevention programmes to ensure that HIV testing preconception and in pregnancy is fully implemented and strengthened, alongside continued education of the public through community programmes and the media. To avert further horizontal and vertical transmission of HIV, there is a need to address urgently the identified missed opportunities in the PMTCT program. These programmatic challenges require health system redesign and strengthening, resource allocation, addressing research gaps and reassessing the current PMTCT policies.

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  • Using BIM to calculate accurate building material quantities for early design phase Life Cycle Assessment

    Berg, Brian (2014)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This research simplifies the calculation of the Initial Embodied Energy (iEE) for commercial office buildings. The result is the improved integration of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) assessments of building materials into the early stages of the building design process (sketch design). This maximises the effectiveness of implementing design solutions to lower a building’s environmental impact. This thesis research proposes that building Information Models (BIM) will make calculating building material quantities easier, to simplify LCA calculations, all to improve their integration into existing sketch design phase practices, and building design decisions. This is achieved by developing a methodology for using BIM LCA tools to calculate highly detailed material quantities from a simple BIM model of sketch design phase building information. This is methodology is called an Initial Embodied Energy Building Information Model Life Cycle Assessment Building Performance Sketch (iEE BIM LCA BPS). Using this methodology calculates iEE results that are accurate, and represent a sufficient proportion (complete) of a building’s total iEE consumption, making them useful for iEE decision-making. iEE is one example of a LCA-based indicator that was used to test, and prove the feasibility of the iEE BIM LCA BPS methodology. Proving this, the research method tests the accuracy that a BIM model can calculate case study building’s building material quantities. This included developing; a methodology for how to use the BIM tool Revit to calculate iEE; a functional definition of an iEE BIM LCA BPS based on the environmental impact, and sketch design decisions effecting building materials, and elements; and an EE simulation calibration accuracy assessment methodology, complete with a function definition of the accuracy required of an iEE simulation to ensure it’s useful for sketch design decision-making. Two main tests were conducted as part of proving the iEE BIM LCA BPS’ feasibility. Test one assessed and proved that the iEE BIM LCA BPS model based on sketch design information does represent a sufficient proportion (complete) of a building’s total iEE consumption, so that are useful for iEE decision-making. This was tested by comparing the building material quantities from a SOQ (SOQ) produced to a sketch design level of detail (truth model 3), to an as-built level of detail, defined as current iEE best practices (truth model 1). Subsequent to proving that the iEE BIM LCA BPS is sufficiently complete, test two assessed if a BIM model and tool could calculate building material quantities accurately compared to truth model 3. The outcome was answering the research question of, how detailed does a BIM model need to be to calculate accurate building material quantities for a building material LCA (LCA) assessment? The inference of this thesis research is a methodology for using BIM models to calculate the iEE of New Zealand commercial office buildings in the early phases of the design process. The outcome was that a building design team’s current level of sketch design phase information is sufficiently detailed for sketch design phase iEE assessment. This means, that iEE and other LCA-based assessment indicators can be integrated into a design team’s existing design process, practices, and decisions, with no restructuring required.

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  • The Two Faces of Ascorbate: Prooxidant Activity and Radio-Sensitisation

    Carson, Georgia (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Although not recommended by mainstream oncologists, intravenous injections of pharmacological ascorbate are currently an alternative therapy option for cancer patients. Research has not yet determined whether high-dose ascorbate interacts favourably with radiation therapy to increase DNA damage, and therefore cell death in cancer. Some studies suggest that ascorbate can act as a prooxidant and increase the cytotoxic effect of irradiation in vitro. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a primary brain astrocytoma that is highly therapy resistant, so patients would be advantaged if ascorbate radiosensitised their cancer. In this investigation, flow cytometry and single cell gel electrophoresis (comet tail assay) were used to measure three indicators of DNA damage in GBM cells in response to ascorbate and irradiation, and were contrasted with immunofluorescence-revealed DNA damage from an intracranial mouse model of GBM. The pro-oxidant, radiosensitisation role of ascorbate was confirmed, as measured by H2AX, 8OHdG, and DSBs in vitro. With all three of these markers of DNA damage, combinations of irradiation and ascorbate had increased damage compared with individual treatments. However preliminary in vivo evidence indicates that increased DNA damage did not occur in an animal model of GBM, and in fact ascorbate may protect from DNA damage in an in vivo context. These findings complement previous results from our lab, and serve to fill in gaps in knowledge specifically around the DNA damaging effects of ascorbate. The unique nature of the brain environment, as enclosed by the blood brain barrier, prevents translation of data from other non-brain cancer studies, as such, this investigation also contributes to the exploration of a much needed avenue of research. Considering the context of ascorbate treatment as a potentially harmful currently used adjuvant, it is imperative to confirm or disprove its efficacy in a clinically relevant environment.

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  • Who knows what and who has the rights to know it?: Knowledge and reality construction in interaction

    Edmonds, David (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Knowledge has been at the centre of philosophical and scientific enquiry for centuries. It remains a topic of central importance in psychology. The current thesis examined how knowledge was managed and treated as relevant by speakers in social interaction in situ. Complaint calls to a dispute resolution telephone helpline service were studied using discursive psychology and conversation analysis as theoretical and methodological frameworks. The thesis focused on how knowledge was implicated in the accomplishment of the institutional task of jointly establishing the facts of the complaint. In particular, the research examined how the issues of ‘who knows what’ and ‘who has the rights to know it’ were demonstrably relevant for speakers in these interactions. The empirical work focused on two types of question-answer sequences. In cases where some requested information was not forthcoming or not immediately provided, callers’ conduct displayed their orientations to a normative expectation that they knew what was asked for and that they had an obligation to provide it. A second set of cases was a collection of declarative requests for confirmation. The different types of responses to such questions were described. It was proposed that the responses could be placed along a continuum, by the extent to which they asserted a caller’s epistemic rights to knowledge about the relevant information. The thesis contributed to existing research by drawing together recent conversation analytic work on epistemics as a domain of organization in social interaction, and more established discursive psychological work on reality construction. The thesis highlighted the practical nature of knowledge, as it was relevant for accomplishing a key institutional task, and other actions, in telephone-mediated dispute resolution.

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  • Touchable: Adapting a Haptic Feedback Glove for Use in Rehabilitation Contexts

    Foottit, Jacques

    Masters thesis
    Auckland University of Technology

    With the increasing miniaturisation of computing and sensor technology, it is becoming common for electronics of all kinds to be integrated into clothing and other wearable items. Motion sensing technologies in particular have been used for a variety of consumer fitness and virtual reality applications for able-bodied people. This research explores the potential for affordable motion capture and haptic feedback technologies to be utilised in a rehabilitation context, with a specific focus on the hand. An iterative development process was used to adapt and improve an existing prototype haptic feedback glove in response to the unique challenges facing wearable device users in a rehabilitation context. Collaboration with physiotherapists provided valuable feedback throughout the design process. The result is a significantly different prototype device with major design improvements, and insights into how iterative development processes can be utilised for hardware development.

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  • Satire and Dickens

    White, Richard (1997)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    People have a fundamental need to feel good about themselves, and sometimes we can achieve this at the expense of others. If I can laugh at someone who does something stupid, or feel superior to someone who does something unjust, or rebel against an institution which violates some natural law, then so much the better for me. Essentially, this is why I read satire. Until recently this sort of approach does not seem to have appealed to literary critics - perhaps because it demeans their subject matter - but there are many essential human needs which are satisfied by a reader's imaginative response to satire, and there is nothing ignoble in that. Satire allows us to escape the constrictions that society places on us. When we read satire we can behave badly: we laugh at other people, cackle at their stupidity, and snigger at their pomposity or hypocrisy; we revenge ourselves upon people who have bored, annoyed, or cheated us. All of this misbehaviour is sanctioned by moral propriety, and by the figure who establishes what is proper and what is not, the satirist. It is the satirist who sets up little moral victories for us, made possible by satiric attack. However, when satire becomes part of a novel, it must there vie for ascendancy with other guises of the author. The satirist must compete with the moralist, the comic, or the sentimentalist, and when this happens the reader too must evaluate their satiric victories alongside the other emotions they feel when they read other parts of a novel. Charles Dickens has many such guises, and consequently he particularly challenges the reader to cope with many different responses. This is where satire becomes even more interesting, because the victories are tempered by other, perhaps more noble emotions. The novels of Dickens present the reader with a constant battle between good and bad: both the author's and the reader's.

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  • Ideological choice in the gravestones of Dunedin's Southern Cemetery

    Edgar, Philip Gerard (1995)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    xxv, 136 leaves :ill. ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Anthropology. "December 1995."

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  • The Old Testament as Christian scripture: three Catholic perspectives

    Stachurski, Michael R (1998)

    Masters thesis
    University of Otago

    Format: viii, 114 leaves ; 30 cm.

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  • How does a music therapy student work to facilitate reminiscence and memory in dementia patients

    Sun, I-Chen (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This study was prompted in response to increased interest in, and demand for, music therapy provision in improving quality of care for dementia patients. It is an exploration of the strategies to facilitate memory and reminiscence in persons with dementia, and considers the need for those preparing for end of life to recall identities, connect with family and others, and express feelings. This research is a qualitative study involving secondary analysis of clinical data from my clinical practice and identifies the strategies, techniques and procedures that I applied in my clinical work to stimulate preserved memory ‘islands’. The findings show that familiarity is central in enabling a remembering process, and music can have unique ways of accessing memory in people with limited cognitive and social abilities. Eight core categories of music therapy strategies were found to be helpful in enabling memory and reminiscence. This study includes examples of both individual and group music therapy. The objective of this study was to examine my music therapy practice, and potentially provide some beneficial ideas and insights to other music therapists working on memory and reminiscence with dementia patients.

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  • Collaborative music therapy; Determining the benefits and challenges of collaborative work from a student’s perspective

    Macdonald, Jamie (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This study describes the benefits and challenges experienced by a student music therapist on placement at a special school in New Zealand. While working alongside an experienced music therapist at the school, and taking external supervision from another, I was able to reflect the challenges and benefits of this unique collaboration. The process of collaboration is complex especially when collaborating parties have differing roles that potentially create power differentials. Findings have been generated from secondary analysis of my reflective journal and clinical data collected while on placement. The findings explore the diverse range of possible benefits and challenges of the interactions that the collaboration enabled. The study concludes that despite the many challenges in maintaining a successful collaboration, it provides therapists with many extra opportunities for our participants, as well as a flexible learning environment for a student music therapist.

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  • An age-old issue: Evaluating the applicability of adult criminal risk assessment tools for use with youth offenders

    Ferguson, Anna (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research has consistently recognized that youth and adults share risk factors for crime, although whether certain factors are of increased importance during adolescence is debated. The present research evaluated the extent to which two risk assessment tools could predict criminal and breach reconviction in a matched sample of youth (aged 17-19) and adult (aged 20-60) community- supervised offenders: The Dynamic Risk Assessment for Offender Re-entry (DRAOR) and the static Risk of re-Conviction X Risk of re-Imprisonment (RoC*RoI). Cox regression and AUC analyses revealed initial DRAOR scores had mixed predictive validity for both groups, while proximal risk scores showed comparably moderate to high accuracy for youth and adults. Protective scores were consistently poor predictors for adults. The proximal assessment predicted reconviction better than the initial assessment, and decreases in risk scores between assessments were associated with a reduction in the likelihood of reconviction, showing the value in monitoring risk and updating assessment. The RoC*RoI predicted criminal reconviction for adults but did not predict either reconviction outcome for youth. These findings support the use of the DRAOR for identifying which youth and adults are likely to reoffend, and suggest that dynamic factors might be more useful predictors than static for assessing and monitoring youth offenders.

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  • Impact of Environmental Stressors on the Metabolic Functioning of a Temperate Cnidarian-Dinoflagellate Symbiosis

    Bone, Oliver (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbioses occur across a wide latitudinal range, from temperate to tropical locations in both hemispheres. In the tropics, this association provides the foundation for the development of highly diverse coral reef ecosystems. Tropical associations are particularly sensitive to thermal variability, however, leading to dysfunction of the relationship and eventual expulsion of the symbiont, known as ‘coral bleaching’. In contrast, temperate associations maintain stable symbiotic relationships in highly fluctuating thermal environments. The reason behind the relative thermal tolerance of temperate associations is still unclear, though the ability to maintain cellular homeostasis through adjustments to metabolic processes is likely a core feature of their resilience. Both a field study and laboratory experiment were conducted to determine the metabolic responses to thermal change of the symbiosis between the temperate anemone Anthopleura aureoradiata and the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium. For the field component, A. aureoradiata were collected from Point Halswell in Wellington Harbour in both summer and winter. For the laboratory experiment, specimens collected at Pautahanui inlet were thermally acclimated in the laboratory, after which temperatures were altered over the course of one week to either 8°C (cold) or 28°C (hot) and maintained at these temperatures for six weeks. Gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was then employed to determine the identity and relative quantity of a wide range of metabolites involved in primary metabolism including organic acids, fatty acids, amino acids and sugars. Based on these data, pathway activity profiling was used to determine the activity of different metabolic pathways both between seasons and in response to cold and heat treatment. A wide range of changes to metabolic processes were observed in both host and symbiont. Photosynthetic capacity was reduced in the symbionts at low temperatures and increased at high temperatures. The only organic acid to be significantly impacted was propanedioic acid, which increased in the host in response to cold treatment, potentially related to increased translocation from the symbiont. Altered fatty acid content in both host and symbiont was related to the role of fatty acids as energy sources and storage compounds and in cell signalling processes. Changes in fatty acid-associated metabolic pathways were exemplified by arachidonic acid and linoleic acid metabolism. Alterations to free amino acids and amino acid related pathways in both host and symbiont were associated with their role as antioxidants and osmoprotectants and the catabolism of amino acids for the production of energy. In symbionts only, altered amino acid content was associated with the role of amino acids in the production of alkaloids. Changes in a number of sugar derivatives in both host and symbiont were associated with their role as antioxidants and osmoprotectants. Altered sugar metabolism in the symbiont clearly indicated an increase in the production of energy rich sugar molecules and production of cellular energy in summer/hot conditions and a decrease in winter/cold conditions. Notably impacted pathways included the Calvin cycle, glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway and oxidative phosphorylation. Patterns of sugar related pathway activity in the host were generally opposite to that observed in the symbiont. Overall, prominent but opposing changes in the host and symbiont were detected in the central carbohydrate and energy metabolic pathways. In general, the activity of these pathways increased in the host in winter/cold conditions and decreased in summer/hot conditions, while in the symbiont the pattern was the opposite. These findings highlight the role of metabolic processes in enabling the persistence of a temperate cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis in the face of large temperature fluctuations. This work provides a foundation upon which a deeper understanding of metabolic functioning in the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis can be built and provides a comparative platform for studies of the more thermally sensitive tropical associations.

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  • Investigating the optimal integration of airborne, ship-borne, satellite and terrestrial gravity data for use in geoid determination

    Winefield, Rachelle (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Each gravity observation technique has different parameters and contributes to different pieces of the gravity spectrum. This means that no one gravity dataset is able to model the Earth’s gravity field completely and the best gravity map is one derived from many sources. Therefore, one of the challenges in gravity field modelling is combining multiple types of heterogeneous gravity datasets. The aim of this study is to determine the optimal method to produce a single gravity map of the Canterbury case study area, for the purposes of use in geoid modelling. This objective is realised through the identification and application of a four-step integration process: purpose, data, combination and assessment. This includes the evaluation of three integration methods: natural neighbour, ordinary kriging and least squares collocation. As geoid modelling requires the combination of gravity datasets collected at various altitudes, it is beneficial to be able to combine the dataset using an integration method which operates in a three-dimensional space. Of the three integration methods assessed, least squares collocation is the only integration method which is able to perform this type of reduction. The resulting product is a Bouguer anomaly map of the Canterbury case study area, which combines satellite altimetry, terrestrial, ship-borne, airborne, and satellite gravimetry using least squares collocation.

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  • Acculturative stress, religious coping and wellbeing amongst New Zealand Muslims

    Adam, Zeenah (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Situated within a wider context of Islamophobia, this study explored the role of religious coping in influencing the relationship between acculturative stress and wellbeing amongst 167 New Zealand Muslims. A Muslim Religious Coping (MRC) scale was adapted for the purposes of this study, measuring religious coping across three domains of Cognitive, Behavioural, and Social MRC. Two specific hypotheses were posited to explore the research question. Firstly, both Acculturative Stress and Religious Coping were predicted to significantly influence wellbeing (as measured by Life Satisfaction and Psychological Symptoms). Secondly, Religious Coping was expected to moderate the relationship between Acculturative Stress and wellbeing. Consistent with hypotheses, it was found that Acculturative Stress predicted poorer Life Satisfaction and greater Psychological Symptoms. Additionally, Cognitive, Behavioural and Social facets of Muslim Religious Coping (MRC) predicted greater Life Satisfaction, and Behavioural MRC buffered the negative effects of Acculturative Stress on Life Satisfaction. Contrary to hypotheses, however, no direct or moderational relationships were found between MRC and Psychological Symptoms of distress. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the importance of promoting religious maintenance for minority Muslims, and the place of an Indigenous Islamic psychology within cross-cultural research.

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  • Identifying Human Host Cell Protein Targets of the Bartonella Effector Protein (Bep) Fic Domains

    Trounson, Vaughan (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The genus Bartonellae represents an increasing number of emerging bacterial pathogens that utilises an unusual infection strategy, parasitising the red blood cells of their mammalian host. The most common species to infect humans are B. henselae and B. quintana. B. henselae is transmitted between cats by the cat flea, although occasionally infects humans via cat scratches or bites, causing cat-scratch disease (CSD). CSD is characterised by enlarged tender lymph nodes and fever. B. henselae also infects the endothelial cells of both its hosts; likely a factor in disease progression. B. quintana, the cause of trench fever during WWI, is spread people by the body louse. Trench fever is characterised by relapsing fever, headache, and bone pain. B. quintana is also able to infect human endothelial cells. These bacteria secrete a range of Bartonella effector proteins (Beps) via a Type IV secretion system, directly into endothelial cells, subverting host cell processes and resulting in internalisation of the bacteria. Beps have a range of functions, many of which are not fully characterised. B. henselae secretes three Beps (BepA-C) that contain a filamentation induced by cAMP (Fic) domain and a Bartonella Intracellular Delivery (BID) domain, with BepA being the best studied. BepA’s BID domain is responsible for intracellular delivery as well as inhibition of apoptosis by the host cell, however the exact function of the Fic domain remains unknown. Fic-containing bacterial toxins catalyse the transfer of an AMP moiety from ATP onto a host cell protein. This AMPylation frequently inactivates these proteins resulting in disrupted host cell processes and cytotoxicity. BepA has previously been shown to possess AMPylation activity, although the host target protein(s) are unknown. Evidence suggests that these proteins are novel targets. The aim of this study was to create protein constructs containing these Fic domains, and to develop techniques to identify the host cell target proteins post AMPylation. To this end, both a fluorescent ATP analogue and a fluorescent click chemistry based approach were utilised. While no target protein was identified, a basic methodology was developed for protein production and target protein identification that could be further developed.

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  • Parking Policy Acceptability in Wellington CBD

    Coles, Kate (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The car has become the dominant mode of transportation in many cities, giving drivers the sense of freedom and convenience to travel at any time between specific locations. However, this increase in car use has created numerous negative outcomes for society including pollution and congestion. Changing individual travel behaviour away from car use is a challenge that many cities now face in an effort to combat car induced issues. Transport pricing policies are often viewed as an effective method in decreasing levels of car use. However, these policies are often not implemented due to a lack of public support. This research uses a quantitative approach to explore potential factors that may be influencing parking policy acceptability among levels of residents in the Greater Wellington Region. Using an online survey, findings indicate that parking policy acceptability levels to the public are influenced by policy differences in fee level and revenue allocation, as well as individuals' level of personal environmental understanding and concern. The Greed-Efficiency-Fairness (GEF) hypothesis is presented as a theory to explain the changes seen in acceptability levels between different policies and personal characteristics of individuals. It is concluded that, for the study sample, parking policy acceptability levels would most increase when revenue was allocated to improving the quality of active transportation and public transportation. Acceptability levels would further be enhanced by highlighting the beneficial outcomes that the policy would have at both an individual and societal level.

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  • Natural, Wearable Game Controllers

    Steel, Emily (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Natural, wearable game controllers explores how people interact with games and their potential uses. Since the early days of personal computing video games have been used for more than just fun. Such uses include exploration education, simulation of real world environments and the study of human thought processes (Wolf, 2008). As well as video games being used in a wide variety of settings, there has also been considerable variation in the way we interact with them - from basic mouse and keyboard interaction to the introduction of non-traditional gaming systems such the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Kinect. These different inputs can be fall within a spectrum of abstract and natural game controllers. This thesis looks at the difference between the two and applies this to the creation of a natural wearable game controller. The aim of this thesis was to create a customised human-computer interface (HCI) input device, using a reliable piece of hardware with accompanying software a user could interact with. Through design experiments a wearable game controller was created in the form of a wrap band. Once the wrap band was developed the next step was to see how it could be used as a game controller. Design experiments were conducted, focusing on integration with a pre-existing game, using it as an exercise assessment tool and developing a specific game which could be used for rehabilitation.The area of rehabilitation gaming is broad so this thesis focuses on Weight Bearing Asymmetry (WBA). This is a condition where a person does not evenly distribute their weight between their feet. This thesis explores a range of hardware and software design experiments to see how wearable technology can be used to create a new way of interacting with video games. It looks at the benefits of using wearable technology and gaming for rehabilitation, it’s limitations and future applications of this technology. The thesis concludes that natural wearable game controllers do have potential real world application in both gaming and rehabilitation.

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  • Do not fear your robot overlords: What a robot looks like does not affect how much they mislead you

    Braniff, Gabriel (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Would you believe what a robot tells you? A robot is essentially a high functioning computer and so, on the one hand, you should have no problem believing the information it provides. But on the other hand, what robots look like have been to shown to affect how you would feel about them. Robots that look almost—but not quite—human have been shown to elicit feelings of unease and mistrust. How much do these feelings of mistrust in turn make these humanlike robots believed less? Across two experiments, we answered that question by showing people a video of a crime and then having them read a witness statement containing misleading information. This statement was ostensibly prepared by a robot that appeared human, robotic, or a morph of the two. Contrary to our predictions, what a robot looks like did not affect how misled people were, even when we drew attention to how much people trusted their robot source. These results suggest that even though people may not like, or trust, certain robots, they will still believe what they say.

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  • Risky Business: Evaluating the Dynamic Risk Assessment for Offender Re-entry for Use with New Zealand Youth

    Muirhead, Jonathan (2016)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    An important assumption that decisions based on criminal risk assessments rely on is that our assessments of someone’s likelihood of reoffending are accurate. It is well known that young people share many risk factors for criminal conduct with adults, but there is also research to suggest that some factors may be more important at different ages. This research examined how well an adult dynamic risk assessment tool, The Dynamic Risk Assessment for Offender Re-entry (DRAOR), was able to predict any new criminal conviction as well as any new violent conviction in a sample of New Zealand youth (17-19 years) serving community supervision sentences. It was found that DRAOR scores were moderately strong predictors of future criminal conduct for youth, with better results being found for any reconvictions compared to violent reconvictions. The more recent an assessment was, the more accurate it was too. It was also found that those who did not go on to be reconvicted showed greater improvements on the risk scale throughout the course of their sentence than those who were reconvicted. These findings support the continued use of the DRAOR for youth in New Zealand who are serving community supervision sentences.

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  • Thermal Performance Implications of a Housing Warrant of Fitness

    Wareing, Sara (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    A housing Warrant of Fitness (WoF) has been independently proposed by three organisations as a way of improving the quality of rental housing in New Zealand and reducing housing related injuries and health problems. The New Zealand Green Building Council and the Housing and Health Research Programme (University of Otago, Wellington) have jointly developed a WoF based on Homestar and the Healthy Housing Index (labelled the GH WoF in this document). Housing New Zealand is in the process of developing a WoF for their properties (HNZ WoF) , it has been tested on a number of state houses but the results have not yet been fully released. Both the GH WoF and the HNZ WoF target thermal and moisture performance amongst other minimum requirements for rental housing. The WoFs specify slightly different housing features as minimum acceptable standards. Both of the WoFs are structured as a checklist, with all items considered mandatory to pass the assessment. This research investigated the impact of meeting the WoF criteria which impact thermal performance. A thermal model of a villa style house suitable for a family of 4 was modelled in the thermal simulation programme EnergyPlus with a minimum practicable level of thermal performance. A range of New Zealand input values were sought and a number of sensitivity analyses were carried out to validate the model’s performance. Combinations of features each meeting the different criteria of the WoFs (such as insulation, ventilation and curtains) were then added to this house. The results of these models demonstrated that while adding these features will improve thermal performance, a simple pass/fail may be misleading because a house which fails may have equivalent thermal performance to a house which passes. The pass/fail result does not acknowledge trade-offs between temperature, energy consumption and running cost. Neither WoF accounts for the impact of climate on the ability to achieve comfortable indoor conditions, which has a greater impact than passing or failing a WoF. The criteria targeted at moisture performance were unable to be analysed as the moisture loads put into EnergyPlus could not be adequately verified. The research showed that while both WoF could lead to improved thermal comfort in rental housing, meeting the GH WoF requirements would bring about greater thermal performance benefits, the HNZ WoF enables the affordability of heat to be considered when insulating is not feasible.

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