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ItemPerformances and publics while watching and live-streaming video games on Twitch.tvRobinson, Naomi Eleanor Isobel ( 2019)Twitch.tv is a video live-streaming website that launched in 2011 with content centred mostly, but not exclusively, on the playing of video games. Streamers or broadcasters play games in real-time often accompanied by a face camera and audio, while viewers or audiences watch them and interact through a text chat. This study responds to the small, but growing literature surrounding Twitch, and addresses the relative lack of ethnographic research on the topic. Previous research on the platform has focussed thus far on technical aspects of the platform, however user-focused qualitative research on the platform has started to emerge, making this research both timely and relevant. This thesis considers how, and to what extent, the social practices of users contribute to the concepts of ‘networked publics’ and ‘social performance’. It draws on the work of danah boyd and Erving Goffman and considers the usefulness of their theoretical contributions to help contextualise the forms and amendments associated with platforms like Twitch. The analysis emerges from an ethnographic study conducted completely online that features reflexive participant observation, semi-structured, open-ended interviews conducted via email, and in-depth observations of participants’ channels. The thesis is divided into three thematically-organised main data chapters that then feed into a discussion that draws them together to consider a larger conceptual framework. The first such data chapter, ‘Twitch as a Social Media Platform’, argues that the platform demonstrates its role as a social networking site through evidence of matchmaking and mental health. The second main chapter, ‘Twitch as a hobby-profession’, addresses casual and serious leisure and considers the platform in terms of personal investment, branding, and streamer motivation. The third main chapter, ‘Interactions of Streamers and Viewers’, considers the different types of interactions displayed between various users including parasocal relationships and how audiences may hold power on Twitch. Overall, the thesis offers insight into platform use and it characterises Twitch as a user-led participatory space for like-minded individuals who interact in particular ways in a shared community of practice. The interactions exist along a flexible continuum of differing levels of intimacy where users can lurk, actively participate, and network on both personal and professional levels. Audiences are critical for the platform to function, for communities to flourish, and for streamer success. Streamers build rapport and construct ‘authentic’ brands to attract viewers and promote loyalty and sincerity, and users are seen to actively shape and shift extant social structures and practices over time. Ultimately, users find meaning, produce a sense of community belonging, forge social networks, and shape their own identities in relation to others. The thesis concludes that Twitch somewhat paradoxically is both fleeting and robustly sustained by its contemporary community of practice. This community is produced and maintained through interaction and performance that shapes the construction of Twitch’s publics, with Twitch itself acting as a large participatory public as well. Performative sociality and networking are understood as key driving forces for Twitch, offering a rewarding space to make relationships, participate in self-care, share in leisure, and build potential livelihoods, with entertainment becoming a pleasing secondary function.
ItemDesigning a tangible user interface for the learning of motor skills in spinal mobilisationChacon Salas, Dimas Antony ( 2018)Current techniques in the learning of psychomotor skills in physiotherapy, especially in spinal mobilisation, follow the traditional classroom approach: an expert performs a demonstration and students try to emulate the task by practising on each other while receiving mostly verbal feedback from the instructor. The introduction of a tailored tangible user interface would overcome the limitation of requiring the presence of a tutor and an extra fellow student, improving the scalability of the teaching delivery, and provide more objective feedback. Inspired by this opportunity, this work presents SpinalLog, a visuo-haptic interface that replicates the shape and deformable sensation of a human lower spine for the learning of spinal mobilisation techniques by employing conductive foam. This smart material is used simultaneously to sense vertebral displacements and provide passive haptic feedback to the user, emulating the flexibility of a spine. However, there is a need to understand the impact of the feedback provided in the learning of spinal mobilisation. Therefore, this work aims to design and implement SpinalLog to improve the teaching of this activity, and to investigate the effect of visual feedback, deformable haptic perception and shape fidelity in the learning of this delicate psychomotor task. We evaluated each of these three features—Visual Feedback, Passive Haptic Feedback, and Physical Fidelity—in the first part of an experiment to understand their effects on physiotherapy students' ability to replicate a mobilisation pattern recorded by an expert. Whereas in the second and last part of the experiment we presented the full features of our system to the students to gather their viewpoint for future improvement. From the first part of the experiment, we found that simultaneous feedback has the largest effect, followed by passive haptic feedback. The high fidelity of the interface has little quantitative effect, but it plays an important role in students' perceptions of the benefit of the system. From the second part of the experiment, we found that students had a favourable view on the SpinalLog suggesting improvements for the shape fidelity and the visual components.