Aldunate Infante Joaquín
Modular composition environment: A tool for improvisation of conventional electronic music
This production thesis sets out to create a tool for live improvisation of music that allows musicians to create and modulate musical patterns in real-time and reduces the need for pre-recorded or pre-sequenced material. It starts by defining the scope of *conventional electronic music* and then explores the shortcomings of current tools in relation to the divergency of music making.
The project is based on the author’s previous experiences in the live improvisation of conventional electronic music, and thus it starts by surveying the currently existing tools. After that, it focuses on the iterative design process of modular environment, taking the modular synthesizer as a conceptual starting point. These processes led to the development of composition devices which are expressed through a hardware user interface, in a modular environment.
This project finds that the shortcomings in divergency of current music improvisation tools come from the fact that musical modulations in an improvisation tool are inherently limited by the avail-able procedures of any given system. While composition tools such as modular synthesizers lack this limitation they do not have the discrete musical abstractions required for conventional electronic music. The production project thus focuses on the design of a modular environment that could permit re-purposing of procedures that process discrete musical events. The outcome of this project is a new performance environment that can be used to generate more diverse improvisations of conventional electronic music.
Bucket Detective, Creating and Releasing an Interactive Narrative Game
Bucket Detective is an interactive narrative game developed primarily by Jesse Barksdale and Samu Kovanen, both students in Aalto University’s Game Design and Production Masters program. In the written part of this thesis, Jesse will analyze the design and development of the game from his perspective. Jesse was the writer, designer, artist, and project manager.
The paper begins with an introduction, which gives information about the game and discusses the game’s reception, including press and user reviews. This is followed by a breakdown of roles and responsibilities of people who contributed to the game. Next comes an analysis of Bucket Detective from two different academic frameworks (Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, and Robert Zubek’s “MDA Framework” and Greg Costikyan’s framework which defines a game as an “interactive structure of endogenous meaning that requires players to struggle toward a goal.”
After that is a description of the game’s development process, from idea to release, followed by “what went right” and “what went wrong” sections where I analyze my mistakes and successes in order to hopefully improve my craft. Finally there is a conclusion section where I share my thoughts and overall analysis of the project, as well as my plans for the future.
The Impact of Licensed Visual Brand Elements on Social Media Engagement Case Study: The Walking Dead No Man’s Land
The objective of this study is to explore whether licensing an external brand has measurable benefits for a game developer. Specifically, this question is researched in the context of social media engagement: does the use of visual brand elements influence the level of the social media engagement a post receives? Additionally, two sub-questions are asked: (1) In what ways do successful visual design of advertisements correlate with social media marketing effectiveness? (2) What factors are important when creating marketing materials for licensed games?
As very little academic research has been done on the subject, this study constructs a conceptual framework based on prior research on brand licensing, human computer interaction (HCI) and social media marketing. A case study is conducted based on Next Games’ The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land mobile game’s social media posts. Data is gathered from the mobile game’s Facebook brand page during a roughly 2- year observational period. The study uses quantitative and qualitative con- tent analysis of social media posts. Qualitative analysis is used to create categories of social media posts based on visual brand elements. Afterwards, quantitative analysis is used to measure the statistical differences in social media engagement levels between the categories.
The main results of the study are reported as following: (1) Using visual representations of licensed brand characters have a measurable impact on social media engagement levels. Brand characters and notable narrative locations impact social engagement metrics the most. (2) Social media engagement levels are additionally influenced by the seasonal activities of the mother brand; when the show is airing is clearly visible in the observed social metrics. (3) Using licensed brand characters in combination with innovative approaches, high quality interactive assets and culturally relevant references result in top performing social media posts.
These findings suggest that game developers and publishers can expect licensed visual brand elements to offer measurable impact on their marketing activities. However, brand longevity, the continuous costs of licensing, and the time needed to foster a working relationship with the license- holder should be carefully weighed with the possible license benefits.
Digital Memorialising: A Concept for a Digital Memorial Service in Finland
As technology has made a massive amount of information available about deceased persons, there have been a great number of studies about how to integrate digital data into mourning practices and how to utilise technology for bringing new perspectives to memorial design. Some studies suggest that there is a gap between digital and traditional memorialising practices. Attempts have been made to remove this gap by utilising holographic and RFID readers, wireless sensors, and other various means. However, these technologies are not currently as widely adapted in our daily life as web technology. The final concepts of this study rely only on existing web technologies to build a digital memorial service that has the potential to be widely used and to bridge the gap between digital and physical worlds. As different mourning patterns exist in different cultures, the cultural differences — in addition to the differences in available technologies — should be taken into account when designing a digital memorial service. The Finnish population provides a suitably compact target group to narrow the scope for this study, which is in part cultural. In addition, the concept provided in this thesis documents the life stories of the deceased in order to meet their needs of being remembered after death. Therefore, the objective of this study is to provide a digital memorial concept that bridges the gap between digital and physical worlds, while at the same time documenting the life stories of the deceased by utilising web technologies for a specific culture, namely Finnish culture.
The proposed concept is based on user surveys, semi-structured interviews, and a literature study. In the early stage, two visual concepts were created for a digital memorial in Finland. At the end of their development, the two concepts were evaluated by Finns and the preferred concept was selected. Hopefully, the concepts provided in this thesis will inspire future digital mourning practices.
Díaz Sánchez Cristian David
Darkroom Mansion Postmortem
Darkroom Mansion is a mobile video game about the subject of chemical-based photographic processing. The game was produced for the Finnish Museum of Photography as part of an initiative to revive the interest in the darkroom and its associated practices. This thesis analyzes the design process of the game from my perspective as designer and programmer. The analysis offers a comprehensive look into the game in terms of structure and its corresponding aesthetics. These views serve as a basis to understand several aspects that are intrinsic to game design and development, and how they were perceived and approached for Darkroom Mansion. The thesis concludes with lessons learned from the overall development process of the game, and offers suggestions to approach the design of similar games more advantageously.
van Giersbergen Alex
The Autonomous Creative System
The Autonomous Creative System is an is an investigation into the creative capabilities of computational systems. To determine if computers will ever be able to generate creative content different aspects of creativity are analysed in a literature study. First several definitions of creativity are studied. A wide range of views suggested by different authors form the basis for a working definition, that will serve as a guideline for the rest of the thesis. At the end of the chapter creativity is defined as a process of generating an effective product from novel combinations.
After this the creative process is investigated and several hypotheses and theories on how creativity functions are analysed. This is done while keeping a clear emphasis on a potential computational implementation. Theories from cognitive science and psychology are used to explain creative thought, prob-lem solving and analogical thinking. The explanations are not aimed at finding a conclusive theory on human creativity, but attempt to formulate the process in a way that could be performed by a computational system.
After concluding that the most important aspect of creativity is the ability to form analogical combinations, several projects that are related to the findings of the literature study are evaluated. The projects all include aspects of creativity, but cannot be said to fullfill the requirements to be called creative.
Finally a system is proposed that incorporates the findings and satisfies the goals set at the start of the research. The proposed system will be able to function autonomously, process observations from its surroundings, store knowledge and create its own output based on an analogical process. Thus it can be stated that, theoretically, an artificial system that is capable of creative output is possible. Future implementation in the ALOES project is discussed and several limitations and areas for further research are mentioned.
From Immaterial to Tangible, the Digital Photograph as a Hybrid Piece of Art
This text describes some possibilities of expanding the materiality of a digital photograph, using digital fabrication tools.
The goal of such expansion would be to widen the perception of photographs as art pieces. The post-digital is being reviewed as the current context for any artistic work, which would be interested in integrating the digital domain into the physical.
The main proposition is that embracing the manipulability of digital photography, and adding physicality to it, could enable the development of novel types of hybrid in- terdisciplinary artworks. These pieces could dissolve further the traditional divisions be- tween artistic mediums. The topic is examined in practice through three personal works of art, created in the period 2015-2017. Experimentation with 3d printing, CNC-millng and mixing digital photography with basic electronics lead to the realisation of the pieces.
Additionally, describing and analysing the process of their creation could help outline the role of technology in shaping the final appearance of such a hybrid artwork.
Mitä mediatuottajat voivat oppia sim racing -alagenrestä?
Tutkimus pyrkii tuomaan esille mediantuotantoon liittyviä kriteerejä, joita eSports- lajityypin ja tarkemmin sim racing -pelin vakavimmat harrastajat asettavat median sisältötuotannon kehitykselle Suomessa. Sim racing on eSports-alalaji, jossa kilpaillaan ajosimulaattoriohjelmilla. eSports-laji on Aasiassa hyvin suosittu, ja eSports-lähetyksiä tuotetaan päivittäin televisioon ja Internet-alustoille. Tutkimus pyrkii tarjoamaan suomalaiselle mediatuotannolle suosituksia siitä, miten tv-, online- ja tapahtumien sisällöntuotantoa voisi kehittää eSports-yleisöä kiinnostavaksi. Pyrkimyksenä on tuottaa kaupallisen median tuottajille näkökulmaa pohjautuen alan huippujen tarpeisiin.
Tutkimus koostuu sekä kvantitatiivisesta että kvalitatiivisesta osiosta. Kvantitatiivisen osion online-kyselyn tulokset luovat tutkimuksen pääasiallisen rakenteen. Kyselyn avulla pyritään tuomaan esille eSports-lajin vakavan harrastuksen tason pelaajien tarpeita, kun lähetyksiä tuotetaan kaupallisen median kanaville. Kvalitatiivisessa osiossa tuodaan esille suomalaisen huipputason eSports-pelaajan näkemyksiä ja käytetään asiantuntija-apuna suomalaisen sim racing -yhdistyksen puheenjohtajan tietoa. Teoriaosuudessa tutkimus vertaa Etelä-Korean ja Suomen eSports-tilannetta keskenään.
Pieni mutta vaikutusvaltainen sim racing -lajin intressiryhmä muodostaa tärkeän roolin kehitettäessä lajista kaupallista mediaa. Vastaavanlaisia alakulttuureja ovat esimerkiksi skeittarit ja heidän oma tapansa tehdä elokuvia. Heidän kriteeriensä huomioon ottaminen saattaa osoittautua jopa elinehdoksi kaupallistamista miettiville tahoille. Tämän tutkimuksen tarkoitus on avata sim racing -pelaajien kriteerejä, minkä avulla voidaan mahdollistaa parempilaatuiset lähetykset ja kaupallistamisen onnistuminen.
Digital Media and the Transformation of Visual Communication Design Education: Teaching and Conclusions From Three Case Studies
This thesis outlines three years of the pedagogical design and implementation of the bachelor-level courses Digital Media I, II, and III, taught through the Visual Communication Design department at Aalto University. My work within this thesis focuses on pedagogy through the lens of social constructivism and design-based research methods. In addition, this thesis thoroughly explains the tools and practices I employed from 2015–2018 as the instructor for these courses. Through the perspective of autoethnography, I also analyse the path of the Digital Media series’ development using written observations taken throughout the courses and student evaluations.
Due to the brevity of the course length and the topical breadth necessary to create a solid foundation for undergraduates during these obligatory Digital Media courses, I have attempted as a pedagogue to design course content and events that reflect a student’s personal connection to—as well as a firm contextual understanding of—the focal topics. Throughout three semesters of study, the Digital Media series covers three main topics: digital literacy, motion graphics design, and real-time visual performance. Within this thesis, I discuss these concepts and my pedagogical choices in detail and anchor them with the necessary historical and cultural explanations.
Lastly, through the insights I have gained through my involvement with the Digital Media course, I offer suggestions, personal insight, and practical advice that will hopefully contribute to the dialogue surrounding topics of digitality in visual communication design and how to best teach them.
Full Body Problem! Animation control for virtual reality characters
This thesis aims to produce a solution which can create motion for full body virtual characters from the input of a typical virtual reality device and illustrates the issues when mapping the input motion from a virtual reality device to a full body character, an issue which is titled the ’Full Body Problem.’
The technical part of the thesis is created using Unity3D, a game engine. The animations used as a data source for the solution were a combination of motion capture animations created in Aalto MotionLab and premade clips from Unity Technologies.
The written part explores the theoretical background for animating virtual characters and controlling them in real-time applications using various animation control methods. The definition of the Full Body Problem is introduced and discussed. An overview of the different technical parts is presented before an evaluation using a side-by-side comparison between the user motion and the motion created by the solution.
The result of this thesis is a technical solution which produces relatively natural-looking motion of a virtual character from the user’s motion. The solution is controlled by a typical virtual reality device. The results provide insights for researchers and developers looking to develop similar systems. In conclusion, using a hybrid approach of direct mapping and animation control to solve the problem of limited tracking data is a solid basis for solving the Full Body Problem.
Auditory Interfaces: Using Sound to Improve the HSL Metro Ticketing Interface for the Visually Impaired
Around 252 million trips by public transport are taken in Helsinki every year, and about 122 million passengers travel by Helsinki City Transport (tram, metro and ferry) in and around Finland’s capitol. Given these numbers, it is important that the system be as wholly efficient, inclusive, and as easy to use as possible.
In my master’s thesis, I examine Helsinki Region Transport’s ticketing and information system. I pay special attention to their new touch screen card readers, framing them in the context of increasing usability and accessibility through the use of sound design. I look at what design decisions have been made and compare these with a variety of available technology that exists today, as well as what solutions are being used in other cities. Throughout my research, I’ve placed an emphasis on sonic cues and sound design, as this is my area of study. Everything is assessed against the requirements and perspective of Helsinki’s public transportation end users who are blind and visually impaired.
I have used desk research, field research, user testing and stakeholder interviews in my methodology. I have put forth suggestions on how to improve the current system, taking into account the learnings from my research. I have looked at key points around people with disabilities and how sound can be used to improve accessibility and general functionality for all. I also hope to share this thesis with HSL and HKL, whom may use it to inform future optimization of their systems.
Forest relationship is a hot, controversial topic in Finland. e importance of forests is undeniable, yet mul- tifaceted, including community, spiritual, personal and economic components. While most Finns identify themselves as forest- loving people and are eager to share their experiences of peace and empowerment in the forest, they are not so troubled with the rapid growth of the forest industry in Finland. How can this be explained?
The aim of my thesis is to study these controversial forest relationships and find out how and why they are constructed and how they manifest in different representations of forest. e thesis is composed of two parts, a written part and a production part.
I stake the claim that the forest loving quality of Finns is a relatively recent phenomenon, brought to light at the end of 19th century as a part of a nationalistic project of building Finnishness. Prior to this time, the relationship towards forests was pragmatic, antagonistic, wary and even hostile. e forest as a national symbol is not an exclusively Finnish cultural icon, of course, but instead a rather common feature of romantic nationalism, at the time a very popular ideological current in Europe. However, Finns have identied themselves thoroughly, even exclusively, as forest people. Many people consider Finnish cultural to be essentially rooted in forests.
In my study, I treat various forest relationships, and the forest presentations they construct, as narrations. Each one possesses a certain message, serves a certain agenda and manifests a unique idea of humanness, nature, and the relationship between the two. Accordingly, I use a division of four forest attitudes by philosopher Juhani Pietarinen: utilitarian, humanistic, mystic and primitivist. Each of these attitudes represents forest in a different way. These representations do not only display the reality but also shape it according to the attitudes through which they are produced. e mental images they create are utilized in branding the forest industry as a patriotic and nature loving operator.
The production part of my thesis, installation Understory, puts these different representations on display. e installation, divided in three connected parts, uses the triptych structure of religious art, thus placing the forest relationship discussion in the frame of sacral Finnishness. Each of the parts represent different forest relationships. Two of them realized as miniature dioramas, underlining human need to control nature as well as our role as occupying just a tiny part of the whole. e middle part displays a real time video stream from forest on a screen, showing a forest without humans and placing the question of simultaneous being of other life forms and their right to remain so, as well as the possibility of mediating presence and liveness through media.
Drinking Light – Designing for a mediated experience
This thesis explores on the potential practices for experience design through examining the design and production process of Drinking Light, an experiential event concept. The thesis draws upon the literature published on Experience Design, examines examples and concepts emphasising multisensory eating experiences, as well as highlights considerations for designing a mediated experience.
The production part of the thesis describes the creative process of Drinking Light and evaluates its results. The thesis also reflects upon academic literature and similar experiential concepts to identify useful patterns and frameworks to be applied in the implementation of Drinking Light. As the practical result, the thesis presents a tested event concept and its consisting elements (i.e. narrative, light, drink, tableware, interaction, host, setting and location), which together aim to evoke an experience of drinking light. The evaluation of the Drinking Light experience bases upon the combination of validated AttrakDiff evaluation, a short specially designed structured questionnaire, interviews and observations collected during the demo experiences. The results indicate that Drinking Light succeeded in creating an experience of drinkable light. However, as the evaluation focused on Drinking Light as a novelty experience, no conclusive argument can be offered beyond that. The positive initial response, nevertheless, supports continuing with the concept.
Based on this thesis work, the design effort for aligning proved useful. Especially the combination of methods used to 1) vertically align the experiential elements guided by the identified underlying user motivation, and to 2) horizontally align them in relation to each other seems recommendable.
Weighing Ultralight User interface evaluation of a mobile photo editing application
Ultralight is a photo and video editing application developed for iOS devices. The speciality of Ultralight is its intuitive user interface where the edited photo can float behind the editing controls to allow a full editing experience on a small mobile screen. In this Master’s thesis, I study the iterative design process and research practical and lightweight user testing methods to conduct an evaluation of Ultralight’s design. Based on the findings I design a new update to the Ultralight. Ultralight is an ongoing solo-project which is fully designed and developed by myself.
In the core of the iterative design process is the aim to design, analyse and refine the work in small cycles to constantly learn how well the design functions in reality. This is especially important when working with interactive applications, where the digital platforms allow incremental design, continuous change and improvement. There are different ways to collect data to analyse the performance of digital products, but in this thesis, I focus on fast and efficient user testing methods to collect qualitative data of how the participants use and value Ultralight. I use the evaluation as a design tool to improve the current state of the user interface and analyse the iterative design process through concepts of user experience design, user-centered design, usability, lean and agile methods.
Doing design work in iterations and user testing in-between helps to improve the understandability and quality of the design. Doing user testing is usually thought to be cumbersome and take a lot effort. However, there are many easy and fast methods to conduct user testing in practical manners. In this thesis, I formulate an efficient and easy method for user testing, which can be conducted remotely with the help of the new screen recording feature on the iOS 11 operating system. The iterative design process aims to improve the quality of the design but it is also a crucial tool for the designers to improve their skills by collecting real feedback from their own work.
The Pretty Vacant, a programmable guitar pedal
This thesis presents a design process of a programmable guitar pedal The Pretty Vacant. Programmability in guitar effect units have been a growing trend and small number of different solutions are already in production. This thesis proposes how a programmable pedal can be designed and which qualities should be included into the design.
The Pretty Vacant is a physical platform in which user can implement self-developed programming. The controls of the Pretty Vacant pedal are limited to those which can be operated by foot. The Pretty Vacant consists of 7 momentary switches and three inputs for expression pedals. The controls of the Pretty Vacant are not fixed but can be programmed in any desired way. The self-developed signal processing can be implemented to the pedal very quickly and the physical unit meets the demands of live use.
I have designed the Pretty Vacant based on my needs in my artistic activity. The pedal is a tool to expand sonic vocabulary. Its purpose is to provide more freedom in creativity but also work as a reliable musical unit. In my artistic work, I am specialized in contemporary and experimental music and I look continuously for new ways of musical expression. The Pretty Vacant gives a chance to constantly develop new sounds.
The topic of the guitar pedals is discussed by introducing examples of early guitar pedals to contemporary ones. The process of design is unfolded in detail and the pedal is studied through case studies. Although, further development is needed to improve sound quality, The Pretty Vacant has been successfully used in live concerts.
Virtual Heritage – Audio Design for Immersive Virtual Environments Using Researched Spatializers
This thesis work is based on a Virtual Heritage project being developed by the Systems of Representation research group. The objective of the project is to create a showcase demonstration on how the virtual reality (VR) could be used as an application for tourism in the heritage sector. In this context, my task was to develop a concept and prototype of how ‘spatialized’ sound could be used in a VR application. The initial location chosen for the concept was the ancient heritage burial site of Sammallahdenmäki, one of the Finnish heritage sites listed in the UNESCO register of World Heritage Sites.
The thesis, that is written from an audio designer’s perspective, focuses on three aspects of this project. First is the sound design for the Virtual Heritage project and the second is the quality of currently available ‘spatializer’ plug-ins used for headphone listening. In order to evaluate the process of designing 3D audio for virtual environments, the methods and principles within binaural rendering, sound design and immersion must be understood. Therefore, functions and theories within audio spatialization and 3D audio design are reviewed.
Audio designers working on virtual reality content need the best possible solutions for creating believable 3D audio experiences. However, while working on the Virtual Heritage project, we did not find any comparative studies made about commercially available spatializer plug-ins for Unity. Thus, it was unknown what plug-in would have been the best possible solution for 3D audio spatialization. Consequently, two tests were conducted during this thesis work. First was an online test measuring which spatializer would be the most highly rated, in terms of perceived directional precision when utilizing head-related transfer functions without reverb or room simulations. The second was a comparative test studying if a spatialized audio rendering would increase immersion compared to non-spatialized audio rendering, when tested with the Virtual Heritage demonstration.
The central aim in the showcase demonstration was to create an immersive virtual environment where users would feel as if they were travelling from the present, back to the Bronze Age, in order to understand and learn about the location’s unique history via auditory storytelling. The project was implemented utilising the Unity game engine. The research on music and other sound content used in the project’s sonic environment is explained. Finally, results of the project work are discussed.
Robots and Poetics – Using narrative elements in human-robot interaction
In this master’s thesis, I will analyse human-robot interaction as a dramatic event: how do robots build dramatic encounters with human users. Artificial intelligence (AI) is presently utilised in numerous contexts, from search engines and customer support to social media face recognition and self-driving cars, to name but a few. Currently, the creation of AI and the embodiment of it, the robot, relate strongly to the field of technology. However, in this thesis I shift the focus from programming to the process of developing the connection between a human and a robot. To elaborate, the aim is to study the narrative elements of robots revealed through their characters.
As a writer and a designer, I set out to reflect upon the phenomenon of human-robot interaction through my own artistic work. I made an interactive video installation in which I created a presentation of an AI character, Vega 2.0. The installation was exhibited in Tokyo twice in the summer of 2017. The first occasion took place in Hakoniwa-exhibition on 22.-24.6.2017 and the second occasion in Musashino Art University Open Campus -festival 10.-11.6.2017.
Furthermore, I will introduce some fundamental screenwriting principles and methods, for example, by Gustav Freytag and Robert McKee. To illustrate plot structure and narrative units of a story, I will also reflect upon the script of a concept video I’ll be your tree, which I created for the prototype of the installation Vega 2.0. In addition, by analysing my encounter with a Pepper-robot in the winter of 2018, I reflect upon how Aristotle’s dramatic principles can be applied when analysing a human-robot encounter as a dramatic event.
The story of mythical robots was born long before technology made them a reality in today’s world. Yet, they may feel distant and ambiguous. As for us designers, it is our responsibility to direct the proportions of fantasy and realism. Reflecting upon my own artistic work, I aimed to show how robots need narrative elements in order to bring them alive. This is achieved through building a relationship between the human and the robot. In order for the robot to function and act in the human-robot interaction, a coherent plot and a detailed, believable and strong personality needs to be created for it.
Interactive Diorama: A Case Study on Virtual Reality Applied to Cultural Heritage
Due to the evolution and advancement of virtual reality (VR) devices, developers are now able to build high-resolution virtual environments with the capability of providing both immersive and interactive experiences. As a result, VR technologies have been deployed widely in different fields for various purposes, such as entertainment, tourism, marketing, education and cultural heritage preservation.
The Interactive Diorama, the project documented in this thesis, is an example of the latter. It is a virtual reality installation that takes its point of origin from the well-known 17th-century paint- ing The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, a prominent Dutch painter. The installation is a reinterpretation and reconstruction of the painting, providing users with the possibility of exploring the artwork beyond its two-dimensional surface. My role in the project was to develop the user interface for the VR system of the installation, as well as design and implement the user interactions. The final version of the installation was exhibited at the Ars Electronica festival Linz, in September 2017.
This thesis serves as a written documentation of the entire design and implementation process of the project, emphasising the research supporting the design of the 3D user interface and the reasoning behind the implementation approaches we took for the deployment of the user interactions. I hope the detailed accounts of the development process of the Interactive Diorama present- ed by this thesis will prove enlightening for those who are embarking on their journey to design and implement an interactive VR application. Hopefully, the obstacles that we encountered and the solutions that we proposed will provide insights for those who are facing similar issues so as to shorten their struggle.
Listening to the Square: Sennaya Square in Sounds and Oral Narratives
This thesis explores one particular urban public space Sennaya Square in Saint-Petersburg through a series of multidisciplinary approaches in listening. They include both interpretive listening to the square’s soundscape and listening to people who, in one or another way, relate to Sennaya Square. The thesis’ primary interest lies in meanings, narratives and cultural practices of Sennaya Square that are revealed through studying its auditory domain and hearing its users. Sennaya Square’s heterogeneous auditory profile reflects complexity of practices performed by users of the space, as well as its vernacular social tensions: Sennaya Square is characterized by sounds of sociality, sounds of necessity and a state of verbal pluralism; also, the square provides space to be publicly heard and privately unheard; however, it fails to become an area of civil communication. The paper goes on to analyze particular patterns in perception of the square’s soundscape: it turns out that people recognize Sennaya’s sonic space as human-dominated and perceive it in relation to other public spaces in Saint-Petersburg; the square’s noisiness is thought of as natural, constituting an idea of a sonic norm. The thesis then discusses how certain actors of Sennaya Square use amplified sound to control the acoustic space and produce meanings in attempt to curate passers-by; in their turn, pedestrians either find ways to resist such acoustic policies or accept them and become grouped in temporary acoustic communities. The paper progresses with yet another listening practice a case study in oral narratives related to memories of Sennaya Square in the nineties that mirror a particular cultural image of Sennaya as a marginal place. In the end, a short post-script audio piece is presented. All together, this thesis aims to explore Sennaya Square in the variety and complexity of its social and cultural contexts through multiple experiences in listening.
Usability evaluation of two virtual learning environments used in Qatar-Finland International School
The amount of digital educational resources has grown dramatically over the past two decades. Also, the fast development and growth in the number of mobile devices at home and schools has created new possibilities for learning. Thousands of online sites and applications are offering educational resources in different formats and interfaces. In order to make these resources as efficient and useful as possible, developers should gather more information about usability and user experience to build better interfaces.
In this research, I will evaluate the usability of the two, modern virtual learning environments (VLEs) used in Qatar- Finland International School. The VLEs are Sanoma Pro and Microsoft Office 365. These particular learning environments were selected by interviewing the users at school. This thesis in a qualitative study and the research methods are semi-structured interviews and a thinking aloud- method. The informants are from three different categories: users (students), su- per-users (teachers and administration) and experts (usability professionals). The research was carried out in the academic year 2016-2017 and finalised during 2018.
As a result, a conclusion can be drawn that especially in Office 365 more emphasis should be put on usability from the student’s and teacher’s point of view. Overall, the complexity of the learning environment makes it relatively hard to use for many unexperienced users. Sanoma Pro material, on the other hand, has taken the users well into consideration but is lacking the possibilities of editing the materials according to the needs of the end-user. It is important to make a careful usability testing before the launching of the material, and take all possible stakeholders in to con- sideration. According to this research the recommendation is to use three groups in the usability testing of the learning materials: teachers, students and usability experts.
In general, developers of the learning resources should take the questions of usability in to care- ful consideration in order to produce compatible quality materials for effective and long-time use in growing international markets.
The Use of a Personal Computer: Interface aesthetics in live visual performance as criticism of human-computer interaction
The Use of a Personal Computer is a series of live performances which examines visual performance, interface aesthetics and cybernetic criticism in media art. This Master’s Thesis work consists of the performances, two of which are documented with video material included as links to the manuscript and the written thesis.
The written part of the thesis examines the processes behind the realisation of the project and the context within digital art of the artistic and design decisions made. Its main argument presents that interface aesthetics can be used as elements in media art to discuss mediation and other implications of human-computer interaction. By adopting theoretical frameworks the work presents that through foregrounding the often ”transparent” interfaces and media artefacts, an artist is able to assign new meanings to them beyond their sole function, creating new representations. The thesis addresses a proposition according to which criticism of a cybernetic system should be meta-reflective and cybernetic in its form, examining in which respects the live performance managed to address this proposal.
Ultimately the text describes the performance in conceptual terms and introduces the observations of this experimentation and in which terms the work participates in cybernetic criticism.
Ruby+ Blob: Crafting an app for teaching kids computational thinking
Computational thinking has experienced considerable growth in the last decade and its entry into K-12 education has been steadfast. Schools worldwide have begun implementing curricula based on computational thinking and programming in order to prepare students for a future with ubiquitous computing. Similarly, educational initiatives, policymakers and companies have followed suit to provide their own implementations. Coding education and computational thinking have also entered mobile apps, opening up a variety of opportunities for app developers.
This production-based thesis explores the array of approaches with which computational thinking can be brought to consumer products, while at the same time promoting creativity and play. Additionally, it documents the development of Ruby+ Blob, a mobile app aimed at teaching computational thinking skills to children, aged three to eight years, through open-ended play. The design and utility of the app were informed by research conducted on the state and principles of computational thinking and by a benchmark of currently existing implementations.
A literature review was carried out on the subject of computational thinking in order to present a comprehensive summary of the current state of the field. The review investigated its history, a concise definition of the term, core principles involved, educational developments and criticisms raised. Additionally, prominent existing implementations were examined to gain an understanding of the breadth of possible applications. Findings from these studies were utilized in creating the Ruby+ Blob app. The production steps were documented with comparisons to the implementations and assessments of the application of computational thinking principles.
The research revealed the core concepts of computational thinking as decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction and algorithmic thinking, and additional practices as debugging, tinkering and creating. Existing implementations benchmarked displayed a variety of approaches with trends, such as visual programming, or block code, instruction-based sequences, robotics and games, emerging. These insights were used to design, compare and assess the production.
Rocking the Sea of Time, Experiences as Vessels bringing Pilot Vision to People in Transit
This thesis explores how ABB AbilityTM Marine Pilot Vision (PV) can provide new customer value. PV is a sensor fusion solution monitoring the surroundings of the vessel to gain situational awareness for the ferry operation. The research question is how can Pilot Vision data be adopted for new transit experiences for crew and passengers beyond ship operations.
The study uses a phenomenological approach to analyse the current and desired transit experiences, and builds on previous research by e.g. Hassenzahl (e.g. 2013 and 2017) and Desmet (2012). Experience goals are set based on a model by Kaasinen et al. (2015). The research is organised in two cycles. First, the methods include literature review, diary study, in-depth interviews and observations. The second part comprises concept development, building a provocative prototype and testing it.
The results show the variety of current transit-related experiences that can be improved by the setting experience goals: Stimulation, Fellowship, Fascination, Inspiration, Freedom and Dreaminess. The Rocking concept utilizes the motion and camera vision data of PV. It proved to be the best concept to achieve the goals. The provocative prototype of Rocking addressed hedonic and pragmatic qualities that are important for desirable transit experiences. Rocking concept can bring new opportunities for enhancing the surroundings for ferry transit experiences by using PV data.
Data Embodiment: Irrupting space with digital narratives
Sharing content on the internet has become an everyday practice. Digital communities use social media as a platform to develop discussions using hashtags, centred around both trivial and politically relevant subjects. By creating a dynamic data sculpture, Ephemeral Data, this thesis examines whether embodying LGBT-related hashtags into a physical form has the potential to create space for empathy, discussion, and engagement. In so doing, Ephemeral Data explores the transition of digital information into physical artefacts, becoming a new medium to signify political debate within the digital realm. Examining whether alternative forms of representation of a data stream can change our perceptions and whether this transition to an embodied object can reframe the semantic meaning of these digital bits of self-generated content. This thesis concludes that seeing data visualised physically in space can raise awareness of a controversial subject matter. It does not, however, appear to change the literal meaning of the subject in question.
St. George & the Dragon
Design and production of a cultural heritage museum installation using media archaeology
Media archaeology is a field of media research investigating new media cultures through material manifestations. Although often recognized as an approach to art, its use as an approach to design has not been fully explored. Media archaeology can be valuable because it offers alternative qualities of mediation, as a design palette, to that of prescriptive common media devices. This thesis describes a media archaeological approach towards the design of a cultural heritage media installation, exhibited at Häme Castle between April–December 2017, and produced as a collaboration between the National Museum of Finland (Kansallismuseo) and the Systems of Representation research group in the Department of Media at Aalto University in Finland. The installation displayed a multi-view stereoscopic (3D) digital reconstruction of a medieval sculptural scene of St. George and the Dragon, based on preserved, fragmented medieval sculptures from the museum’s archives. Four stereoscopic video viewers were synchronized to a rotating central physical display, affording visitors an effect of augmented reality, without the need for a mainstream augmented reality implementation. Though the work was time-limited and project- driven, the design approach achieved a well-integrated installation that was sensitive to the aims of an exhibition of sculpture within a cultural heritage museum: artistry, materiality, interpretation. This thesis therefore seeks to argue that media archaeological approaches to design can identify historical ideas that can be remediated into relevancy for new contexts, and, in spite of their historical connotations, foster engaging technological experiences for the contemporary audience, that are sensitive to the aims of an exhibition of cultural heritage.
Sánchez Carranco Juan
Vibrating Instruments In Virtual Reality: A cohesive approach to the design of Virtual Reality Musical Instruments
This thesis presents the design, implementation and findings of a Virtual Reality Musical Instrument (VRMI). The project was done under the direction of the Sound and Physical Interaction (SOPI) research group. The project was made following an iterative design methodology and the metaphors and design patterns used in Ubiquitous Music Systems.
In contrast with the fast adoption of Virtual Reality as a platform for new entertainment productions, it is noticeable that the area of new interfaces for musical expression (NIME) has been disbelieving towards this technology. At the same time, previous projects under the category of VRMI have made a clear distinction between the instrument, an external 3D model, and the user. Thereby, this thesis presents a project that focuses on how VR can enhance individual musical interaction? In order to do so, this project is directed to blurry the lines between performer, instrument and environment by creating immersion through 3D audio, audiovisual feedback, bodily and spatial interaction interaction, the performer and the system’s autonomous responses. As a final result, this thesis reaches to provide the NIME community with a purposeful use of Virtual Reality as an interactive musical platform.
Designing a mobile interface for a Deaf user
My MA thesis is a collaborative research and design project about designing a mobile application to bridge the communication gap between Deaf people and healthcare professionals in South Africa. It explores health knowledge transfer problems faced by the Deaf community during a health consultation and aims to solve them by the means of a mobile application interface designed to aid communication.
Healthcare, a basic human right, is violated when healthcare professionals don’t find the means to communicate health information to Deaf people in a medium that they understand. This communication problem is due to a language barrier between the Deaf and the hearing world. A Deaf person uses sign language as his or her primary form of communication, yet there is a lack of sign language interpreters at healthcare centers. Sign language is the first language of Deaf people because of which a number of Deaf communities all over the world are only able to use a very basic level of written or spoken language. Moreover, medical information is complex and the factors mentioned above make it difficult to transfer health knowledge between healthcare professionals and Deaf patients, leading to poor health conditions of the latter.
In order to solve this problem, my thesis explores ways of transferring medical knowledge using visual methods of communication as opposed to text based communication, via a mobile application. Since health knowledge is a vast topic, for my project I focus on only one medical condition, Diabetes type 2. This choice is determined by the fact that Diabetes is a lifelong condition that requires regular hospital visits and timely communication and treatment. A core aspect of my research is finding ways to design interactive interfaces that better suit the requirements of the Deaf user than they do at present, using a process of benchmarking, co- creation, interviews and usability testing. My project documents insights from desk and field research which are used to design and test a prototype of the mobile application with Deaf users in South Africa.
Tunneanalytiikkaa pintaa syvemmältä: Mitä suunnittelijan tulisi tietää emootioista?
Tunneanalytiikkasovellusten suunnitteluun liittyvät valinnat pohjautuvat suurelta osin Paul Ekmanin emootioteoriaan, jonka mukaan ihmisellä on kuusi diskreettiä, sisäsyntyistä perusemootiota: suru, viha, pelko, inho, ilo ja yllätys. Tiedeyhteisön piirissä on kuitenkin erilaisia näkemyksiä siitä, miten perusemootiot tulisi määritellä, ja osa teorioista näkee emootiot sosiaalis-kielellisinä rakennelmina ilman biologista pohjaa.
Tämä johtaa opinnäytetyöni tutkimuskysymykseen: Mitä suunnittelijan tulisi tietää kulttuurin ja biologian vaikutuksista emootioihin? Kysymykseen vastaamalla tarkoitukseni oli löytää teoreettiset elementit tunneanalytiikassa hyödynnettävän emootiomallin kehittämiseksi. Halusin myös herättää yleisesti keskustelua suunnittelijan vastuusta olla tietoinen niistä teorioista, joihin omat suunnitteluun liittyvät valinnat pohjautuvat.
Opinnäytetyöni on teoreettinen ja sen tutkimusmetodina on systemaattinen tekstianalyysi. Analyysi nosti esiin kaksi kilpailevaa emootioteoriaa, joiden keskinäinen vertailu osoittautui hyödylliseksi tutkimuskysymykseni ja tavoitteeni kannalta. Toinen teorioista on Lisa Feldman Barrettin konstruktivistinen strukturoitujen emootioiden teoria, joka korostaa kulttuurin merkitystä emootioiden muodostumisen taustalla, ja toinen on Jaak Pankseppin tutkimustraditiosta nouseva affektiivinen neurotiede, jonka mukaan meillä on sisäsyntyisiä perusemootioita, mutta niiden määritelmä poikkeaa Ekmanin määritelmästä merkittävästi.
Tutkimusprosessin aikana esiin nousi myös Karl Fristonin kehittämä biologisten prosessien toimintaa kuvaava vapaan energian periaate, jota Mark Solms on vuorostaan soveltanut affektiiviseen neurotieteeseen. Vapaan energian periaate yhdessä affektiivisen neurotieteen kanssa tarjosivat teoreettisen viitekehyksen emootioiden toimintamallille. Sen sijaan totesin strukturoitujen emootioiden teorian soveltumattomaksi ohjaamaan suunnitteluun liittyviä valintoja.
Tutkimaani mallia voidaan soveltaa tunneanalytiikan lisäksi affektiivisessa tietojenkäsittelyssä, sekä tuotteiden ja palveluiden suunnittelussa ja osana suunnitteluprosessia. Malli vaatii kuitenkin jatkokehitystä ja sovittamista eri käyttötarkoituksiin, jotta sitä voidaan hyödyntää käytännön työkaluna.
Designing for Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence
This thesis explores design issues that should be taken into account when developing mobile services for women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). The aim of the thesis was to apply user-centred design methods and gain understanding of the situation and the needs of potential users of a mobile application aimed at women under a threat of abuse. The thesis explores the opportunities mobile technology could offer to women recovering from IPV. The threats posed by the violent environment and the attempt to develop ways to reduce the risks were emphasised in the research and design project.
The theoretical part of the thesis deals with the definition of intimate partner violence, the consequences of violence from a survivor point of view and the means of surviving violence. In addition, this section examines the risks and opportunities that information technology enables in abusive situations. The theoretical part is followed by a description of a design project aimed at developing a concept for a mobile application for women experiencing violence. The research on which the design work was based was carried out using user-centered design methods such as interviews, surveys and mapping the current operating environment and available services for survivors. The concept of the mobile application related to the thesis was evaluated using prototyping and usability tests. The thesis introduces the application concept that emerged from the design work and suggests principles to be used to support design in situations where users live under a threat of violence. The following principles emerged from the study: 1) safety and privacy, 2) validation and support for empowerment and 3) encouragement to reach out.
The findings indicate that mobile applications developed with user-centred design approach can provide beneficial tools for coping with IPV. The potential features were for example anonymous contact to support organisation, diary, and information on violence and safety arrangements. The study implies that it is possible to reduce the threat of violence related to the use situations. The study implies that the risk of violence when using the application can be reduced by for example protecting the content with a password, hiding the actual content of the application and sharing information about security and privacy. It is also important to recommend that the users evaluate their own security situation and act on their own assessment.
Audio Design in Mid-Core Mobile Games
This thesis explores practical aspects of audio design in mid-core games – a massive segment of the modern mobile game market. Despite there is no shortage of professional literature about game audio in general, most of it describes either purely technical or very general matters, taking video games as undivided whole. Games, however, can be broken up into distinct categories, based on genres, platforms, audiences and other criteria. This is the direction I take with my research, focusing on a specific type of games, developed for mobile devices and targeted towards a well- defined audience.
The goal of my thesis was to find out if mid-core mobile games require special approach to audio design and what this approach would be. The first two chapters focus on critical aspects of mobile game audio and audio design principles of mid-core games. The two latter chapters describe practical matters of audio design for an actual video game, starting with design principles and ending with project-specific challenges and creative choices.
The results show that audio design for mid-core mobile games has a few special aspects on top of existing principles of mobile game audio. These aspects result from the design patterns shared by majority of mid-core games developed for mobile platforms.