Theses

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  •  Evaluating perception towards electric vehicles in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
    Evaluating perception towards electric vehicles in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
    The vast majority of the world’s transportation options heavily rely on fossil fuel outputs, which has been a major contributing factor in the acceleration of global climate change. Given Ontario’s relatively ‘clean’ supply mix of electricity, recent public policy outputs reflect a shifting interest in better utilizing electricity to reform the transportation sector to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. The minimal proportion of electric vehicle ownership despite the province’s incentive programs suggests research into the barriers to adoption in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area must be identified to inform future decision making. A survey was completed amongst current electric vehicle owners as well as gasoline and diesel-vehicle owners to understand attitudes towards the technology and sustainable transportation reform more broadly. The results aim to better predict future tactics for a more successful diffusion of alternative mobility options to acquire greater consumer and public acceptance.
     Frequency calibration of the system clock of passive wireless microsystems
    Frequency calibration of the system clock of passive wireless microsystems
    This thesis presents a theoretical and simulated study of frequency calibration of the system clock of passive wireless microsystems. The proposed frequency calibration technique achieves ultra-low power, high fre- quency accuracy, and fast calibration of the frequency of a local oscillator in a passive wireless microsystem using a frequency-locked loop (FLL). A new integrating frequency dif- ference detector (iFDD) that senses the frequency difference between the local oscillator and a reference clock is also proposed. The iFDD is implemented using a switched-capacitor network with two integrating paths. The FLL is composed of a logic-control block for gen- eration of clock signals, the iFDD, and a relaxation voltage-controlled oscillator. A detailed analysis of the characteristics of the iFDD in the time and frequency domains is presented. The loop dynamics of the FLL is also investigated. The proposed FLL is implemented in IBM 0.13-µm, 1.2 V CMOS technology and is validated through simulations using Spectre APS.
     Fuzzy database for medical diagnosis.
    Fuzzy database for medical diagnosis.
    A challenge of working with traditional database systems with large amounts of data is that decision making requires numerous comparisons. Health-related database systems are examples of such databases, which contain millions of data entries and require fast data processing to examine related information to make complex decisions. In this thesis, a fuzzy database system is developed by integration of fuzzy inference system (FIS) and fuzzy schema design, and implementing it by SQL in three different health-care contexts; the assessments of heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and liver disorders. The fuzzy database system is implemented with the potential of having any form of data and tested with different types of data value, including crisp, linguistic, and null (i.e., missing) data. The developed system can explore crisp and linguistic data with loosely defined boundary conditions for decision-making. FIS and neural network-based solutions are implemented in MATLAB for the mentioned contexts for the comparison and validation with the dataset used in published works.
     Hands off my data! A comparison of privacy representations and expectations on Facebook
    Hands off my data! A comparison of privacy representations and expectations on Facebook
    This MRP examines user expectations of online privacy in relation to how Facebook represents privacy in their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The prevalence and ubiquity of online social networking sites like Facebook have caused academics and individuals alike to reexamine their understandings and expectations of privacy in relation to online settings. As such, the specific purpose of this study is to better understand how the concept of privacy may be understood differently by social network users and the social networks themselves. In this paper I use the Fair Information Principles (FIPs) set out in the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to analyze user comments made in relation to proposed changes to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. I find that both Facebook and users share a focus on concerns regarding limiting the use/disclosure/retention of personal information, and consent to have this information collected, and that users pay particular attention to Section 2.3 of the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. I show that Facebook represents privacy conceptually in the Statement of Rights and Responsibility as in/accessibility, while users expect privacy to be enforced as data-control.
     Learning from experience: exposure to, attention to, discrimination of, and brain response to faces at 3, 6, and 9 months
    Learning from experience: exposure to, attention to, discrimination of, and brain response to faces at 3, 6, and 9 months
    Infants learn and develop immensely in the first year of life. They show substantial learning in their ability to use the information provided by faces. Faces are important stimuli in infants‘ world and infants reliably prefer faces over other visual stimuli (Fantz, 1963). While experience likely plays a role in infants‘ early face processing, little is known about how infants‘ natural exposure to faces shapes attention and learning. We use head-mounted infant-perspective cameras to capture infants‘ natural experience with faces. We also measured infants‘ attentional preference for, ability to discriminate between, and electrical brain response to familiar (i.e., female, own-race) and unfamiliar (i.e., male, other-race) face types. Infants‘ face experience was highly homogenous: their primary caregiver‘s face represents the 57% of infants‘ experience and was present in all locations and nearly all contexts. Infants‘ other caregiver represented only 11% of their face experience, but was also highly consistent across location and context. Infants showed greater visual attention to female faces of familiar race at 3 months, but not later. They showed no race preference at any age. At 3 months, infants discriminated all face types except for male own-race faces. At 6 months, infants discriminated all face types. At 9 months infants discriminated all face types except for male other-race faces. Electrical brain response only differentiated male from female faces at 6 months, not at 3 or 9 months; there was no effect of race at any age. This may be due to the immaturity of the early face processing system or differential processing being indexed at later attentional components. Infants‘ overall face exposure, mom face exposure, and attentional preference for female faces predicted female own-race face discrimination at 3 months, accounting for 62% of the variance. Exposure to male faces correlated with attention to male faces and attention to male faces predicted discrimination of male faces at 3 months, accounting for 11% of the variance. At 6 months dad face exposure predicted discrimination of male faces, accounting for 17% of the variance. Infants‘ early experience, particularly to caregivers‘ faces, tunes infants‘ attention to faces, which in turn predicts discrimination.
     Massive media: theories and practices of large-scale projections and public data visualizations
    Massive media: theories and practices of large-scale projections and public data visualizations
    This dissertation describes, historicizes, theorizes, and deploys “massive media,” an emerging subset of technical assemblages that include large outdoor projections, programmable architectural façades, and urban screens. Massive media are massive in their size and subsequent visibility, but are also an agglomeration of media in their expressive screen and cinema-like qualities and their associated audio, interactive, and network capabilities. This dissertation finds that massive media enable and necessitate the development of new practices of expanded cinema, public data visualization, and new media art and curation that blend the logics of urban space, monumentality, and the public sphere with the aesthetics and affordances of digital information and the moving image to support a more participatory public culture in which we identify and engage with collective presence, memory, and action through information, architecture, and the moving image. Through historical research, case studies, conversations with cultural producers, participant observation, and creation-as-research projects, large-scale public projections are shown to represent a new monumentality that can be better understood and evaluated using analytical tools from cinema studies, namely superimposition, montage, and apparatus/dispositif. Low-resolution LED façades, while sharing some of the functional and theoretical characteristics of projection, are shown to uniquely support an emerging practice of public data visualization and represent a more consistent embodiment of a hybrid and relational public sphere through a tighter coupling of information, architecture, and context. Programmable architectural façades, more than projections, embody the development of supermodernism in architecture where data-rich public spaces of identity, congregation, and contestation seek and find appropriate and consistent outlets in highly visible spatial assemblages of architecture and media. Finally, a curatorial approach to massive media is crucial in order to create suitable spaces and opportunities for the development of massive media as a legitimate art form. This requires the sustained provision of technical support and coordination as well as an ongoing negotiation with corporate, institutional, and civic owners and operators. While massive media exists primarily as a highly commercialized phenomenon, it can also be pressed into service, through coordinated curatorial and artistic efforts, to critique or co-opt commercialization, and to re-envision the role of urban media environments in shaping collective identity, historical consciousness, and public display culture.
     Multidisciplinary constraints within a two-dimensional aerodynamic optimization method
    Multidisciplinary constraints within a two-dimensional aerodynamic optimization method
    This research demonstrates the importance of including multi-disciplinary constraints within a two-dimensional aerodynamic optimization method. These constraints increase the methods flexibility and versatility by providing the aerodynamic designer with the latitude to expand the design envelope. The additional constraints include a global minimum thickness, a maximum point thickness, an area, two curvature functions and a stowability constraint. The global minimum thickness constraint is used to prevent airfoil surface crossovers. The maximum point thickness and area constraint address airfoil structural requirements. The curvature function constraints deal with the airfoils manufacturability. Finally, the stowability constraints combines flap trajectory, including the flap mechanics, together with the final airfoil shape, to ensure high-lift stowability
     Retrieving histories: a case study of Cyril J. Brown’s family album
    Retrieving histories: a case study of Cyril J. Brown’s family album
    This thesis examines the visual construction of family in the previously unknown personal album of Cyril J. Brown in the Royal Ontario Museum’s South Asian photography collection. Beginning with retrieving the object’s personal history and tracing its links to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the crossover in photographic content between Brown’s personal album and the Kautz Family YMCA Archive at the University of Minnesota is examined. In doing so, I argue that family photography and institutional forms of image making are interconnected through the use of familial photographic tropes and pictorialist techniques which are common to both collections. Finally, concluding with a reflection on the significance of Brown’s album for the genre of family photography.
     Robust and fault tolerant control of modular and reconfigurable robots
    Robust and fault tolerant control of modular and reconfigurable robots
    Modular and reconfigurable robot has been one of the main areas of robotics research in recent years due to its wide range of applications, especially in aerospace sector. Dynamic control of manipulators can be performed using joint torque sensing with little information of the link dynamics. From the modular robot perspective, this advantage offered by the torque sensor can be taken to enhance the modularity of the control system. Known modular robots though boast novel and diverse mechanical design on joint modules in one way or another, they still require the whole robot dynamic model for motion control, and modularity offered in the mechanical side does not offer any advantage in the control design. In this work, a modular distributed control technique is formulated for modular and reconfigurable robots that can instantly adapt to robot reconfigurations. Under this control methodology, a modular and reconfigurable robot is stabilized joint by joint, and modules can be added or removed without the need of re-tuning the controller. Model uncertainties associated with load and links are compensated by the use of joint torque sensors. Other model uncertainties at each joint module are compensated by a decomposition based robust controller for each module. The proposed distributed control technique offers a ‘modular’ approach, featuring a unique joint-by-joint control synthesis of the joint modules. Fault tolerance and fault detection are formulated as a decentralized control problem for modular and reconfigurable robots in this thesis work. The modularity of the system is exploited to derive a strategy dependent only on a single joint module, while eliminating the need for the motion states of other joint modules. While the traditional fault tolerant and detection schemes are suitable for robots with the whole dynamic model, this proposed technique is ideal for modular and reconfigurable robots because of its modular nature. The proposed methods have been investigated with simulations and experimentally tested using a 3-DOF modular and reconfigurable robot.
     Selective memory: an analysis of albums compiled at the return of the 1904 Younghusband mission into Tibet
    Selective memory: an analysis of albums compiled at the return of the 1904 Younghusband mission into Tibet
    Focusing on a collection of albums at the Archive of Modern Conflict related to the Younghusband Mission in Tibet (1903-1904), this thesis explores the the analysis of personal albums and their contribution to the history of the Mission. The first chapter, a literature survey, outlines the existing textual histories of the invasion, highlighting the absence of photographic analysis in the works, while also highlighting Tibet’s absence from contemporary criticisms of colonial photography. The second chapter is an overview of the visual conventions ascribed to Tibetans in British India’s photography prior to the Younghusband Mission, and the third chapter provides provenance information and detailed descriptions of the AMC’s albums. Finally, the fourth chapter discusses the objects, revealing their contribution to the perpetuation of Tibetan tropes, implicit visual documentation of British superiority, and the development of constructed narratives favouring the British colonizers. Each analysis acts as an example of how photographs should be used to articulate the colonial history of not only the Younghusband Mission, but of Tibet’s greater history with the West.
     Serving immigrant families: using knowledge translation to inform a family approach in the settlement sector
    Serving immigrant families: using knowledge translation to inform a family approach in the settlement sector
    Research studies show that the family is an integral dimension of newcomers’ immigration and settlement experiences. Findings from a recent project on the integration trajectories of immigrant families shed light on the ways families support each other and the social factors of immigration. Still, immigration policy, federal data collection and measures, as well as settlement services rely on an individualistic conceptualization of newcomers with insufficient regard for their social realities. Preliminary consultations with partner settlement agencies in the Greater Toronto Area reveal there is a need to incorporate the family/social dimension in their services. Using the Knowledge Translation method, academic knowledge was transferred into a practical position paper for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada settlement policy-makers. Through ongoing collaboration with the partners, the pillars of a Family Approach for the settlement sector were developed. Five key practical recommendations for its implementation are presented to policy-makers in the paper.
     Short chain fatty acids modulate flagella expression in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli
    Short chain fatty acids modulate flagella expression in enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli
    During passage through the human gastrointestinal tract, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) encounters numerous stresses. EHEC utilizes various strategies to combat and survive these host assaults and possibly employs them as cues about the local microenvironment to enhance infection. This investigation looks at how exposure to changing concentrations of short chain fatty acid mixtures (SCFA) associated with passage through the human small (SI) and large intestines (LI) affects EHEC flagella expression and motility. In addition, the study also examines several two component systems for their involvement with SCFA-induced flagella regulation. The results indicate that SCFA mixture typical of SI may cue increased EHEC flagellar expression and function while SCFA mixture typical of LI, the site of EHEC colonization, may promote diminished flagella expression and function. Overall, this study contributes to our knowledge on how EHEC sense and respond to host environmental signals in a way that may promote to infection.