University of Bedfordshire Masters by research degree dissertations

Recent Submissions

  • Use of machine learning to reduce false alarms

    Ali, Muhammed Usman (University of Bedfordshire, 2020)
    Machine learning is adopted widely in many sectors including healthcare, automotive and finance where machine learning use cases include disease detection, predictive maintenance, and fraud detection. During 2017/2018, around 40%(226,000) of the incidents attended by fire and rescue service were false alarms. Therefore, this thesis is focused towards the application of machine learning on fire alarm systems data to address the rising problem of false alarms. The fire alarm system on site gathers the data about different events which can be utilised to conduct the experiments with machine learning. Therefore , to address this problem five different classification machine learning models including Logistic Regression, Support Vector Machines, Naïve Bayes Classifier, Decision Trees and Random Forests have been used to experiment with data gathered from fire alarm system. The performance of the different machine learning models is evaluated using different methods such as precision, recall, f1- score, confusion matrix, k-fold cross validation and mean accuracy to find the best suited models for reducing false alarm rates. Experiments were conducted on data gathered from the fire alarm system, 10-fold cross validation results indicated Naïve Bayes Classifier detecting 51 out of 53 Fires correctly but with a high misclassification rate and low mean accuracy of 61%. The remaining four models failed in classifying any fires correctly with 0.00 recall, still achieving overall accuracy in the range of 97-98% due to high imbalance in the dataset. The Cohen Kappa value of 0.0 was achieved by models indicating poor agreement in the decisions made. Machine learning models exhibited better performance on the new test data with incorporated temperature data, models achieved higher recall in the range of 0.70 to 1.00 during 10-fold cross validation as well as higher Cohen Kappa scores in the range 0.73 to 0.88 indicating substantial agreement in the decisions made by the machine learning models. The results on fire system data indicated machine may not be that effective due to poor correlation between the features in the data and high imbalance in the data. However, much better results are achieved by incorporating some additional sensors such as temperature into the fire alarm system data.
  • Nanoparticles based drug delivery platform to improve oral uptake for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

    Kaur, Gurpreet (University of Bedfordshire, 2020)
    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a rapidly progressive chronic neurodegenerative disease, which eventually leads to brain damage. Despite combined efforts of the research community, no fully effective treatment has been identified yet. Drug delivery is a major issue in neurodegenerative diseases due to the complexity of the diseases but the difficulty in accessing targets. A medicine is only effective if it reaches its target. As such, while some active molecules can be demonstrated very efficiently in vitro, side effects and unreachable targets bring delivery at the forefront of drug efficiency. Rivastigmine is one of the reversible Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) Inhibitors, which is used for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia of either AD or Parkinson’s disease (PD). As a cholinesterase inhibitor, its role is to inhibit AChE activity to maintain ACh level by decreasing its breakdown rate, therefore boosting cholinergic neurotransmission in forebrain regions and compensate for the loss of functioning brain cells Rivastigmine has shown some success in improving ACh level in AD patients and also inhibiting amyloid plaques deposition in the brain. It is commercially available in different forms including oral solutions, tablets, and patches but therapeutic regimens require frequent dosing causing fluctuations is the plasma level. Whereas the oral form has been associated with a high incidence of gastrointestinal side effects, the transdermal patch formulation has been shown to have a better tolerability profile but adverse dermatologic reactions remain a concern. In addition, an important safety concern persists with dermal application with the risk of treatment overdose by administering multiple patches at the same time, potentially leading to fatal outcomes. Therefore, the oral form could be safer if its side effects could be controlled. Following initial uptake, crossing the blood-­‐brain barrier (BBB) is another major obstacle to be considered. Due to its hydrophilic nature, rivastigmine efficacy is also restricted by its poor ability to cross BBB. Its bioavailability is reported to be only up to 35%. To overcome these issues, this work has focused on the delivery of rivastigmine, particularly its uptake with nanoparticle-­‐based formulations that can facilitate uptake, protect the active molecule from early degradation, and provide targeted delivery while preventing side effects due to unwanted interactions. Rivastigmine loaded nanoparticles have previously been designed and proven to have numerous fundamental properties that assist their effectiveness such as biocompatibility, lack of toxicity, reduced side effects, and increased tolerated dose of the drug but not effective enough for the treatment. Their enhanced retention time within the systemic circulation and their ability to cross BBB still remains challenging. The novel formulations designed in this study were designed for slow release to prevent cytotoxicity while providing stability and high uptake in GI tract to reach the systemic circulation. Biodegradable composition of these formulations will prevent the risks that may contribute to accumulation of inorganic material inside the brain. As the aim of the research is the successful targeted delivery of Rivastigmine, the first objective of this study was to design an efficient method to monitor and analyse delivery, using UPLC in an analytical set up standardised using in house developed standard solutions. In the second part of this study, several formulations were designed and investigated to improve rivastigmine intestinal uptake, where both negatively and positively charges drug loaded nanoparticles were formulated. In the third part of this work ,a Caco-­‐2 cell duodenal model was used to assess membrane permeability, uptake, and intake of Rivastigmine. Cytotoxicity of nanoformulations was determined by MTT assay showing low toxicity in the case of rivastigmine-­‐loaded nanoparticles. The final results of this study demonstrate that nanoparticle formulations provide a slower stable release of rivastigmine from nanoparticles than previously designed nanoformulations. I addition, some of these formulations provide high bioavailability over both apical and basal membrane, therefore, providing higher intake to target the BBB, with limited unwanted interaction in the intestine therefore limiting the major concern about side effects
  • Survivors coping with a history of child sexual abuse in South Africa

    Karagianni, Andriana (University of Bedfordshire, 2021-03)
    Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is global problem that is found in all societies and cultures. Although there is research exploring CSA in western countries, the literature shows that there is limited CSA research on developing countries, like South Africa which is the focus of this thesis. Incidence and prevalence rates are substantially higher in South Africa when compared to other countries and for that reason, further research is needed for the context of that region. The literature shows that ‘coping’ from CSA plays a significant role in survivors’ lives but it is an area that has not been explored sufficiently in South Africa. To this end, the subject of this thesis is to explore ‘coping’ from CSA in South Africa and to explore ways in which CSA survivors cope with their experiences of abuse. This has been achieved through outlining the existing research on CSA coping in the region with the aim to identify studies that are related with topic; to understand the main learnings for that specific population; and to compare these findings to the strategies of other western countries. The study identifies a number of coping strategies that have been adopted by CSA survivors in South Africa to cope with the abuse. It is also shown that similar strategies have been used by CSA survivors in western countries. The link between coping strategies in the area and the specific cultural characteristics is discussed as well. This thesis makes knowledge around coping strategies in South Africa available, and identifies areas for further research.
  • Homecoming – an Irish ghost story: reflections on the Irish gothic tradition

    Rushby, Elleesa (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-10)
    This thesis and my creative work, Homecoming, aim to explore some of the reasons why the Anglo-Irish were so prolific at writing supernatural and in particularly Gothic fiction during the 19th century, particularly as an expression of their fragile identity within the broader British Empire and in Ireland. Homecoming, while set at the end of WW2, examines a fictional legacy of ‘The Hunger’ on the colonised Catholic Irish, dealing with the taboo subject of cannibalism. Homecoming’s Gothic mode, includes elements such as the uncanny and the family curse, blending The Big House with folklore and storytelling, as an allegory on the dysfunctional relationship between Protestants and Catholics in the uncertainty and isolationism of post-emergency Ireland. The thesis explores how the Anglo-Irish abjected the Catholic Irish out of fear of losing control, manipulating their literary depiction for commercial and political reasons, while robbing them of the agency to tell their own story. It traces the migration of Anglo-Irish Gothic into English Literature, appropriation of the Catholic Irish experience and questions colonial depiction of the colonised. The thesis offers a basis for discussion about the attitudes and behaviours of the characters in Homecoming.
  • The acute impact of breakfast consumption and omission on postprandial metabolic responses in adolescent girls

    Morari, Victoria (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-12)
    Breakfast consumption (BC) frequency declines from childhood to adolescence and is associated with poor metabolic health. This research aimed to analyse whether BC versus breakfast omission (BO) affects substrate oxidation during rest in adolescent girls. Secondly, it examined whether BC vs BO influences postprandial and 5 h glycaemia and insulineamia. Lastly, it evaluated the effects of BC vs BO on Fatmax, MFO, rate of perceived exertion and physical activity (PA) enjoyment during an exercise bout performed 2 h after lunch. Seventeen breakfast consuming girls (13.2 ± 0.7 years old) were recruited. Two experimental trials were completed in a randomised counterbalanced order: BC and BO. A standardised lunch was provided three hours after breakfast (BC) or after breakfast omission (BO). Finger prick blood samples for the analysis of plasma glucose and plasma insulin and expired gas samples for the analysis of substrate oxidation were taken throughout the trials. An incremental 7-stage cycling test was performed 2 h after lunch for the determination of maximum fat oxidation (MFO) and intensity at which MFO occurred (Fatmax). OMNI Scale was used to evaluate the perceived exertion at the end of each cycling stage. PA enjoyment was evaluated after the cool-down using Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES). There was a significant main effect of condition (BC vs BO) for fat (p= 0.008) and carbohydrate (p< 0.001) oxidation after lunch. Fat oxidation was significantly higher during BO compared to BC, while carbohydrate oxidation was significantly higher during BC compared to BO. The main effect of condition for glucose and insulin incremental area under the curve (iAUC) (p= 0.509; p= 0.603, respectively) and total area under the curve (tAUC) for glucose and insulin (p= 0.738; p= 0.665, respectively) throughout the whole day was not significant. However, post lunch glucose and insulin iAUC (p= 0.05; p= 0.001) and tAUC (p= 0.05; p= 0.001) were significantly higher during BO compared to BC. There was no significant difference in MFO (p= 0.104) or Fatmax (p= 0.945) between conditions. Physical activity enjoyment was higher during BC vs BO with an almost significant difference (p= 0.055). The main effect of condition for perceived exertion (p= 0.307) was not significantly different. In conclusion, BC resulted in lower fat oxidation and lower second meal glycaemic and insulineamic responses. Ultimately, the findings of this study will assist in understanding further the effects of BC vs BO on adolescents’ metabolism. This may have important implications in prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Data pre-processing techniques and tools for predictive modelling using unstructured inputs

    Maslowski, Przemyslaw (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
    Data is a crucial factor within machine learning, as most of the neural networks and machine learning models are data-driven. A trained neural network can be used to predict new data that has not been seen by the model but under the trained patterns. The performance of the predictive model can vary based on the data that is being used while training. Multiple metrics have been produced after a model is trained to evaluate model performance. However, it is difficult to get an intuitive measurement that indicates if the data pre-processing of a model has been improved or not. Therefore, a constructive performance indicator tool that can be used to intuitively measure the performance of pre-processing mechanisms for a given model, has been developed through multiple experiments with 32 datasets. The experiments are set up by collecting multiple unstructured datasets which are subsequently converted into structured datasets and then evaluated by their modelling performance. The experiment results are used to evaluate the importance of each metric and priorities via weights for contextualising the preprocessing experience within the constructivist paradigm. Furthermore, a set of tools have been developed throughout the project to improve the efficiency of machine learning experiments. The developed set of tools are a part of the main software, which is named as the pre-processing assistant. The pre-processing assistant has been published to the public, and it can be used for preparing, processing, and analysing data. The software tools allow users to manipulate datasets and generate Python scripts to train a predictive model. Also, the TensorFlow framework and its machine-learning algorithms have been utilised to develop Python scripts for training and predicting datasets. The software has been used to effectively carry out the experiments which have helped to configure the performance indicator tool. In the end, the most important metrics have been discovered through various experiments. The experiments consist of training the model with and without data pre-processing techniques. The increase in each metric has been adopted to discover significant metrics. The metrics which improve frequently are estimated to be more critical and have been assigned with a higher weight. The performance indicator has been configured based on the final experiment results, and it can be used by others to measure the performance of a predictive model.
  • A model to offer reliable data transmissions in vehicular ad hoc network

    Jameel, Meharaj Theen (University of Bedfordshire, 2020)
    Vehicular Ad-hoc Network (VANET) is one of the widely used networks across various intelligent transport applications in order to support the autonomous driving, reduce network congestion and overcome any kind of the accidents occurring on the road. This report involves in focusing on the safety applications where the vehicles involve in broadcasting the safety messages that are highly time critical and reliability sensitive. The importance of delivering the broadcasted safety messages of VANET in highly timely and reliable manner has resulted in undertaking this research work. In order to support the reliable delivery of the broadcasted safety messages, this research has developed a model called Reliable Vector Clustering (RVC) which involves in neighbour node identification, vehicle cluster formation and broadcasting the coded data using the network coding method. In order to evaluate this developed model, analytical model developed and simulation studies have been carried out in this report. The analytical model has developed a criterion that helps in choosing the best vehicle as the cluster head node and the simulation studies have compared the effectiveness of the developed method. These simulation studies have revealed the effectiveness of proposed RVC method in improving the packet error recovery probability and packet delivery ratio when compared to the existing methods.
  • Understanding and improving police health and wellbeing: the PHeW project

    Kukucska, Dora (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-06)
    Aim: In the UK it has been reported that over 50% of the police workforce has taken sick leave for mental or physical health issues within the past five years. Bedfordshire Police Force has the fourth highest long term sick leave in the UK due to both physical and psychological health. Method: The study employed mixed methods across four phases of work (1. needs assessment, 2. Baseline assessment, 3. Intervention implementation, 4. Evaluation) to assess the physical health (body mass index, blood pressure), psychological wellbeing (stress anxiety, depression, mood, wellbeing), health behaviours (physical activity, nutrition, substance use, sleep), support needs and factors that influence the health and wellbeing of Bedfordshire Police employees. The study moreover tested the feasibility of brief positive psychology interventions (3 Good Things [expressive writing] Technique and Positive Password Mantras) for a length of 1 month. Results: Stress levels (personal, organisational and operational) and BMI were high in Bedfordshire Police Force employees and significantly correlated with poorer health behaviours. Recruitment to the interventions was low, and attrition over the four weeks was high, suggesting the current approach was not feasible. Interview findings indicated that future initiatives need to 1) Build belief in the support available; 2) Address perceived stigma; 3) Provide timely support; 4) Reduce work-related stress; 5) Make health and wellbeing a priority; 6) Encourage camaraderie and social support, and 7) Support positive coping strategies. Conclusion: There is a clear need and desire for occupational health support within Bedfordshire Police Force to support employees’ physical health and psychological wellbeing. Future interventions should consider employee’s capability, opportunity and motivation to engage and make initiatives easy, attractive, social and timely.
  • The effects of static water immersion and different body postures on the cardiovascular system in healthy participants

    Wing, Natasha (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-10)
    Background: Water creates a hydrostatic pressure on the body when immersed (Bove, 2002). This redirects blood to the thoracic cavity leading to an increase in cardiac output (Q̇), stroke volume (SV) and a decrease in heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) ( Šrámek et al., 2000). The aim of this study was to use echocardiography to report the full effects of water immersion. Method: Sixteen participants were immersed to the neck in waters of 30°C in three postures (standing, sitting and laying) for 20 minutes. BP, HR and a full echocardiogram of the left ventricle was performed. This was recreated on land. Results: SV (14.2%), Q̇ (12.5%), and EDV (7.7%) increased and HR (5%), SBP (11.2%), WS (12.1%) and DBP (13.9%) decreased (all P<0.05) in water when compared to land. Sitting demonstrated the greatest effect on the variables. Conclusion: Water immersion displayed favourable adaptations to the myocardium, this is due to an increase in venous return stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and dilating arteries and reducing BP and HR. These adaptations encourage the heart to work more effectively at a lower rate, improving cardiovascular health.
  • Gods in Spandex: a study of superhero mythology

    Woods, Ryan (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-02)
    This thesis sets out to ask the question: What do mythological themes and archetypal theory reveal about Marvel’s Avengers films? The textual analyses will discuss the work of pioneering psychologist Carl Jung. The work of mythologist Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey will also be scrutinised for his links to Jung’s theoretical framework. Through Jung’s theory of archetypes and the collective unconscious, arguments will be made to the relevance of his theories as a valid form of film analysis. An argument will also be made for the heroine’s journey and how this differs from the male hero’s journey. Jungian film studies is an increasing growing area of academic interest. (Hockley, 2018). Current research covers many aspects of film analysis but there is a gap within the study of the superhero genre. This thesis sets out to bridge that gap through the use of Jungian psychology and the application of mythological motifs. Through structured case studies and parallels drawn from world mythology this work makes a strong case for the rich psychological and mythological material found in Marvel films.
  • An investigation into the use and development of essential oils and natural fibres for health and wellbeing

    Da Costa Lopes, Ana (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-05)
    This research considers how essential oils might be impregnated in a variety of materials towards the development of clothing and substrates that may promote wellbeing. Towards this end, it was necessary to gain an understanding of the importance of essential oils in health and wellbeing, to ascertain how much impact it may have when embedded within fabrics used for fashion. Therefore it was necessary to understand a variety of components and properties of essential oils in historical and contemporary use, to understand how these might impact aspects of people‘s health in today's lifestyle. For instance, could essential oils within a given material enhance mood and physical health and wellbeing? It should be noted that within today's society, there is evidence of negativity on the use of natural herbal remedies used medicinally. This research does not wish to ascertain that essential oils are a cure-all, rather than essential oils may be viewed as palliative and used as supportive remedies when captured within a material or piece of clothing. However, this research does give value to the effectiveness of traditional applications, and ancient remedies in studies and testimonies of its efficacy, the psychological effects of smell and how different aromas have importance in people's life. This research seeks to find a solution and problem-solve methods and techniques to create a potential for developing, palliative clothing with embedded essential oils to improve and enhance life quality. The methods used for fabric and essential oil experiments progressed using the creative processes of design in a particular fashion, where experiments include playful prototyping, of clothes and accessories as wellness tools to promote health and wellbeing. Exploring a wide range of fabrics and materials from 'manmade' to sustainable and natural fibres, there were some innovative findings. Final experiments revealed composites of latex with natural materials; one main ingredient being eggshells; these were seen to have a pronounced potential to be the perfect carrier for essential oils, maintaining odour and longevity. Through the tests, this new material has shown various properties that include flexibility, porosity, breathability, resistant and consistent extension of odour.
  • Evaluating approaches to improve upon a Leap Motion-based hand-gesture recognition system

    Chase, Stephen Ricardo (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-09)
    The research proposed in this thesis aims to utilise feedback gained from user testing to evaluate and present viable approaches to improve the self-made Marionette Project while maintaining its core principles. These improvements should primarily allow for users to identify hand gestures efficiently while minimising the number of incorrect hand gestures performed. Analysing various studies throughout the period of the initial Marionette Projects conception and implementation. It was noted that research in human machine and human computer interaction focused on a few prevalent topics, the most common being sign language, and generic gesture recognition. The implementation of these predominate topics focused typically on one of two implementation types; vision or image-based approaches as seen in Cho et al.’s research which looked into implementing a low-cost vision-based gesture recognition system based on the FPGA approach (Cho et al. 2012) or the device-based approaches utilised in Khambaty et al.’s conference paper into “Cost Effective portable system for sign language gesture recognition”. While both studies look at implementing “low-cost” or “cost-effective” solutions they both tackle it from different standpoints. Khambaty et al.’s study looks at it from a monetary perspective presenting the developed system as a cheaper means of providing daily communication as opposed to the cost of hiring an interpreter (Khambaty et al. 2008), which while successful, still puts the product out of range of the general consumer. While Cho et al.’s study focuses on the reduction of computation costs by process the recognition of gestures through the use of the FPGA approach (Cho et al. 2012). This focus on one section of “cost” lowering in implementations has left room for research that provides both a monetary reduction allowing for the implementation to be consumer-friendly and a computational reduction allowing for faster and quicker recognition while still maintain accuracy. Additionally, with a larger focus being placed on visual based implementation, but solely in the realms of sign language and generic gesture recognition as a means for human to human communication it provides a gap in the field to test the plausibility of these implementation types for other uses, like machine control. As such, the initial Marionette Project aimed to find a cost-effective means of producing firstly, an effective but innovate hand gesture recognition system that could be utilised to control a range of robotics but in particular a mechatronic hand. The Leap Motion controller was implemented into the project, to test the viability of a low-cost consumer-grade product as a means to manipulate robotics. Utilising the Leap Motion controller also provided notable innovation as most published studies incorporating the Leap Motion Controller focused almost exclusively on the identification of various forms of sign language. In the thesis, three crucial feedback points garnered from the external testing process in the original Marionette Project, and are presented and utilised to shape the work implemented throughout this research in the form of minimum viable requirements listed below: 1) improving upon the accuracy of the hand gestures recognised by users through the use of real-time gesture confirmation system. 2) mitigating the amount of incorrect hand gestures performed when stopping the system. 3) Allowing for the support of more dexterous robotics though more complexed gestures In the thesis four approaches main approaches are presented, the first of which looks into the first minimum viable required, while the second, third and fourth approaches are created and evaluated as a means to fulfill the second and third minimum requirement points. By utilising the Spiral methodology, the implementation of each approach primarily followed the pattern of: Planning, Risk Analysis, Engineering and finally an Evaluation phase. The planning phase looked at the original feedback provided by the user as well as any relevant iterations implemented prior, to detail aims and requirements for the current iteration/spiral. After which, additional research was then carried out into hardware, software components as well as, additional published research papers. After this stage, the implementation or engineering phase would then be carried out. This primarily would look to implement each identified requirement for the iteration. Once these requirements were implemented the evaluation step would then be performed. The evaluation process consisted of two parts; an internal evaluation and then an external evaluation. Internal evaluations focused on developer testing, and consisted of standard logic, user flow and selected edge case testing. If no issues were found in this testing process the second stage of evaluations, external evaluations would then take place. External evaluations saw the implemented work tested by volunteer users under given scenarios, to generate more user results and feedback. However, in the event that problems were found during the internal evaluation process depending on the severity of the problem an additional mini-iteration could be added to an existing iteration as seen in section 4.3.4 or in the case were larger problems are identified and the approach needs to be altered an entirely new iteration with the listed spiral approach steps would be carried out as seen with approaches, three and four in the thesis. From the approaches detailed in the thesis, the first approach provided a viable means to improve upon the accuracy of hand gestures recognised by users, though the incorporation of real-time textual confirmation appearing onscreen while the user interacts with the system. The incorporation of this implementation showed an average increase of 28% in gestures recognised and identified by the user. Additionally, the fourth approach detailed in the thesis provided a means to improve upon limiting the amount of incorrect gestures performed by the user showing an overall 20% decrease in the number of incorrect reported hand gestures. It was concluded that the first approach presented an ideal implementation for clear improvements for the recognition of performed hand gestures and showed a 28% average increase in hand gesture recognised and identified by users. Additionally, the fourth approach was seemingly well-received by testing participants as a means to limit the number of incorrect gestures being performed when users removed their hand from the Leap Motions field of vision lowering reports of incorrect gesturing cause by the system by 20%. However, while both approaches implemented within this research was viable for the completion of the first two feedback points provided by users from initial testing, the third point was not achieved. As such, it would be ideal to provide extra research to find a plausible and novel solution.
  • Adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse: abused parents' accounts

    Bell, Rebecca (University of Bedfordshire, 2018-09)
    Adolescent-to-parent violence and abuse (APVA); is an adolescents utilisation of "a pattern of behaviour that uses verbal, financial, physical or emotional means to practice power and exert control over a parent" (Holt, 2013, p. 1). As well as causing psychological damage to the parent and child it is a growing social problem which is largely absent from within both academic and social policy domains (Miles & Condry, 2014). This study sought to contribute to existing literature by examining parents’ accounts of APVA shared within online forums to identify themes of issues of significance to them via a thematic analysis (Braun & Clark, 2006). Data comprised thirty-two archived message ‘posts’ written by twenty-three (71.8%) mothers, four (12.5%) fathers, and five (15.6%) step-fathers describing the abuse that they experienced by their adolescent (93.3% male, 13.3% female). Findings formed three themes; the ‘emotional turmoil’, the ‘need to explain’, and ‘fractured relationships. The themes are discussed in relation to wider literature and recommendations for further study are suggested to address limitations.
  • Myo-Electric Sensor system for precise robot control

    Rana, Khaqan-Jim (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-11)
    Robotic prosthetics has been a field of great interest in recent years and much work has been conducted in the various disciplines that it consists of. Among these disciplines is the research on sensor technology which used to enable control of such prosthesis through muscle activation. Responsiveness and accuracy is vital to implement a functional sensor system for prosthesis, as such this thesis will present the research and development of a sensor system used to control a robotic prosthesis as well as a feedback system which compares the position of the robot fingers and the intended movement in order to correct the servo motor position. These sensor systems are developed to produce precise robot control of prostheses without causing amplification errors. The research will discuss the suitability of different sensors for the sensing of the muscle activity of the user and sensors for the development of the feedback system and describe their implementation and processing. In addition to this, different configuration of sensors and code will be employed and compared, so that the most suitable configuration is found, which is the configuration that is responsive to the muscle activation of the user, eliminates noise and prevents amplification errors, and enables movement of analogue manner rather than digital in order to create a natural feeling control of a prosthesis which imitates the intention of the user. Furthermore, the cost of commercially available robotic prostheses are expensive, making it inaccessible to lower-income users and people within conflict zones who are in need of such technology, thus the research will focus on using inexpensive components and material to lower the production costs in order to raise the accessibility of robotic prostheses to people in conflict zones and countries of low income. This research shows that the implementation of the proposed sensor system and feedback system indeed enables analogue mannered, responsive and accurate control of a robotic hand while preventing amplification errors, and the use of commonly available components and low-cost material is a viable option.
  • Collaborative teaching and learning of primary school physical education in England: a critical examination of the role and impact of external providers

    Smith, Max Granville (University of Bedfordshire, 2020-04-16)
    Background: Reporting on the use of the Primary PE and Sport Premium in schools is often limited to ‘official’ reports produced for and by the government. The use of public funds to improve the opportunities for pupils in PE and School Sport is not a new concept, previously receiving funding under ‘PESSCL’ and ‘PESSYP’ two major PESS strategies introduced between 2003-2010. The Primary PE and Sport Premium was introduced into primary schools in 2013 and saw a doubling of this money in 2017 as a beneficiary of the UK Government imposed ‘Sugar Tax’. What is limited in this field however is research on ‘how’ schools use the money and the decision-making process of headteachers and schools when it comes to spending/investing this ring-fenced allocation of funding. Purpose: The aim of this study is to contribute to the knowledge of ‘how’ schools spend, or invest, the funding they receive via the Primary PE and Sport Premium and to what extend they are able to satisfy the conditions of this grant. Research Setting: This study was undertaken across three primary schools in the South of England. Involving school staff that included the headteacher, the lead for PE and any external providers that the school used in the delivery of PESS. Methods: Data was collected through semi-structured interviews supplemented with observations, documentary analysis and field diaries. Data was coded and analysed by Grounded Theory. Findings: Coaches had good skill knowledge but lack critical pedagogical understanding while teachers lack confidence to teach PE. Head teachers should be accountable for PE but did not have the time or knowledge to effectively manage the Primary PE and Sport Premium. There were issues with the use of the funding, and outside of the permitted use as per the Primary PE and Sport Premium Guidelines. Conclusion: Schools were superficially using the funding to increase physical activity as opposed to Physical Education. Schools were spending the money on a service rather than investing their money for the purpose of sustainability.
  • Investigating the influence of tape application on static assessments of foot posture (clinical biomechanics)

    Stewart, Sarah Louise (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-12)
    The aim of this study is to investigate foot posture pre- and post-tape application using static assessments and pressure plate analysis. Fifteen healthy participants [male n= 9, female n= 6, 28.50 ± 11.00 years, 1.71 ± 0.10 m, 80.50 ± 18.00 kg] were conveniently sampled to take part in this study. Participants were assessed statically in a seated, bipedal and unipedal stance through pressure plate analysis and measurements of the navicular drop, medial longitudinal arch angle (MLA) and tibiocalcaneal angle (TCA). Measurements were taken pre- and post-tape applications which included no tape application, Sham, Zinc Oxide (Z/O), Elastic Adhesive Bandage (EAB) and two K-tape applications. There was a statistically significant difference between MLA and tape application [F (5,10) = 282.90, p=<.001, ηp2 = 0.122]. Significant increase in MLA was found between the following results; Zinc Oxide vs. K-tape 1 [p=<0.001], Zinc Oxide vs. K-tape 2 [p=<.001] and Sham vs K-tape 2 [p=0.022]. Whilst significant decrease in MLA was found between the following results; EAB vs. Zinc Oxide [p=<.001] and EAB vs Sham [p=0.025]. There were no statistically significant results found between MLA and change in body position [F (2,10) = 90.65, p=0.101, ηp2 = 0.016]. Additionally, there was a statistically significant difference between TCA and position [H (2) = 37.21, p=<.001] as well as TCA and tape application [H (5) = 27.79, p=<.001]. Significant decrease in TCA was found between the following results; Bipedal vs. Unipedal [p=<.045], ε2 = -0.337], Bipedal vs. Seated [p=<.001], EAB vs. No Tape [p=<.035], EAB vs. Sham [p=<.001] and EAB vs. Zinc Oxide [p=<.001]. There was a significant increase in TCA in the following conditions; Sham vs. K-tape 1 [p=<.026] and Zinc Oxide vs. K-tape 1 [p=0.032]. Furthermore, there was a statistically significant difference between total contact area and position [H (2) = 207.269, p=<.001]. Significant decrease in total contact area were found in the following conditions; Seated vs. Unipedal [p=<.001] and Bipedal vs. Unipedal [p=<.001]. Significant increase in total contact area was observed when comparing Bipedal vs. Seated [p=<.001]. In conclusion, the MLA results suggests that clinicians could justify the use Zinc Oxide tape application over other taping conditions due to the results showing that application typically increased the angle, indicating a better postural support being given which could assist individuals with a pronated foot posture. In contrast, EAB and K-tape applications were seen to reduce the angle of the MLA which justifies a clinician in using these tape applications for an individual with supinated foot posture over other applications, in order to reduce the MLA. Furthermore, the TCA seen across all conditions provided values which indicated a hindfoot valgus/pronated position, it could be suggested that EAB tape application reduces the TCA result and therefore brings the hindfoot angle more towards a neutral position. Additionally, results have also shown how the change in body position influence total contact area of the foot. These results provide clinicians with a greater understanding as to how the foot posture changes under different loading conditions based on body position which hasn’t previously been reported in literature.
  • Exploring the B. hominis TPI-GAPDH fusion enzyme glycolytic activity and stability

    McNerney, Daniel (University of Bedfordshire, 2018-12-17)
    Protist parasites cause deadly diseases and huge financial losses to crops. Eukaryotic organisms share similar cell structure and function. This makes novel drug targets difficult to find, and treating protist diseases very challenging. Studies have demonstrated a novel mitochondrial targeted glycolytically active TPI-GAPDH fusion enzyme as a potential drug target. This enzyme has been located in a variety of pathogenic Stramenopiles, including B. hominis and P. infestans. Additionally, the mitochondrial targeting of the enzyme suggests a retention of glycolysis originating from the mitochondrial precursor endosymbiont. This study explores the glycolytic function and enzyme stability of the TPI-GAPDH fusion protein when compared to its segregated subunits. Enzymatic assays demonstrated that GAPDH functions more effectively as a part of the intact fusion enzyme, and that GAPDH may compete for GAP with TPI. This is contrary to the canonical understanding that TPI is a perfect diffusion rate-controlled enzyme that is not rate-limiting. Additional assay data suggests that L-GAP may interact with GAPDH as a competitive inhibitor of glycolytic function. Higher initial rates of enzymatic activity were observed by GAPDH and TPI-GAPDH when isomerically pure D-GAP was used as substrate compared to DL-GAP. Lastly, thermal shift data suggests that the TPIGAPDH fusion enzyme may be far less stable than its subunits. TPI may have a destabilising effect on the GAPDH moiety of the fusion enzyme resulting in dissociation at approximately 25°C lower temperature than GAPDH by itself. Incubation of GAPDH and TPI subunits appeared to stabilise TPI and show potential evidence of protein-protein binding.
  • A model to offer reliable data transmissions in vehicular ad hoc network

    Jameel, Meharaj (University of Bedfordshire, 2018-06-18)
    Vehicular Ad-hoc Network (VANET) is one of the widely used networks across various intelligent transport applications in order to support the autonomous driving, reduce network congestion and overcome any kind of the accidents occurring on the road. This report involves in focusing on the safety applications where the vehicles involve in broadcasting the safety messages that are highly time critical and reliability sensitive. The importance of delivering the broadcasted safety messages of VANET in highly timely and reliable manner has resulted in undertaking this research work. In order to support the reliable delivery of the broadcasted safety messages, this research has developed a model called Reliable Vector Clustering (RVC) which involves in neighbour node identification, vehicle cluster formation and broadcasting the coded data using the network coding method. In order to evaluate this developed model, analytical model developed and simulation studies have been carried out in this report. The analytical model has developed a criterion that helps in choosing the best vehicle as the cluster head node and the simulation studies have compared the effectiveness of the developed method. These simulation studies have revealed the effectiveness of proposed RVC method in improving the packet error recovery probability and packet delivery ratio when compared to the existing methods.
  • Smart cites forensics - evaluating the challenges of MK Smart City Forensics

    Okai, Ebenezer (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-06-18)
    The purpose of this research identifies what challenges are associated with MK Smart Data Hub forensics. MK Smart project holds its place as one of the Smart Cities’ projects in the United Kingdom and central to this project is the MK Data Hub which holds a vast amount of data from various data sources. The first phase of the project involves looking at the MK Smart project ultimately emphasising on the projects aims, objectives, achievements and some of the trial projects that have been carried on. The second phase involves in-depth research into the MK Data Hub which is the integral of the project. There will be an evaluation of data received from the different data sources such as sensors on the Data Hub. This will also examine how data is stored, types of data stored, data structure and finally evaluate these data with current digital forensic tools and techniques to see the challenges associated with MK Smart forensics. The project objectives are to perform detailed research into the MK Smart project focusing on the aims, current achievement, detailed research into the MK Data Hub which is the central infrastructure of the MK Project, analysis of different types of datasets available on the Data Hub, evaluation of the existing digital forensics tools and techniques and its limitations to Smart city forensics, evaluation of the current challenges facing Smart city forensics and evaluation of the MK Data hub and detailed research into its forensic investigation challenges. Once the objectives are met, a result will be generated to determine the proposed solution to forensically collect evidence from the MK Data Hub.
  • Factors of hypertension, metabolic syndrome and musculoskeletal injury risk in the Bedfordshire Police.

    Yates, James (University of Bedfordshire, 2019-03-22)
    Rationale: Compromises in individual’s health (Elliott-Davies et al., 2016) and absenteeism rate increases are resultant from reduced operational police numbers (Houdmont and Elliot-Davies, 2016). Performing police work is known to be deleterious to health due to the sudden bursts of high intensity activity performed (Kales et al. 2009). Reduced staff numbers places individuals under greater strain operationally (Arnott, Emmerson and Singer, 2001), and may also increase threats to health through longer working hours compromising lifestyle (Gu et al., 2012). By surveying the health status of a police organisation, it is possible to understand what impact reduced operational numbers may have had in order to critically inform future preventative interventions. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess Bedfordshire Police with particular focus on three main health themes; hypertension, metabolic syndrome and musculoskeletal injury risk. Method: 137 Bedfordshire police employees completed a variety of physiological, lifestyle and occupational measures. The sample was divided by gender and into non-operational and operational personnel, for comparisons between groups. Results: A significant main effect of gender existed for systolic blood pressure (P < 0.05). A significantly higher (P < 0.001, 95%CI: 8 to 25 mmHg) SBP was observed in males (136 ± 11 mmHg) compared with females (119 ± 13 mmHg) in non-operational personnel. No significant main effect of job type existed in systolic blood pressure. No significant main effect of job type or interaction effect existed between gender and job type in musculoskeletal injury, metabolic syndrome and diastolic blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome was significantly greater in males than females (P < 0.05). Conclusion: High prevalence of the main health themes existed. A significantly higher SBP was observed in males compared to females in non-operational personnel (P < 0.001). Increased trends of METSYN and MSK were observed in operational personnel although non-significant. Risk factors; HDL, WHR, PSQ-ORG and PSQ-OP were significantly different in operational personnel (P < 0.05). Future interventions should be focus on physical activity and dietary changes to improve body composition. Future research should be directed toward the impact of stress, shift work and dietary habits in this population.

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