• The antecedents of trust in B2B banking services in South Korea

      Lee, Hagsoo; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-10)
      In the rapidly changing and competitive environments, companies are forced to develop long-term relationships with their customers. Trust has been considered as key element to establish, maintain and enhance relationships. There exists a large body of literature with models and theories of trust, however, the majority of these studies feature a Western perspective, having been conducted in Europe or the US. Relatively few studies in this area have been carried out in Asia, and of those that have been, most were done in the Middle East or in China, thus presenting an incomplete picture of the Asian market. South Korea is the third largest economy in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Nevertheless, there is very limited work that has been done in this area of research in South Korea. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to develop a conceptual model that examines the antecedents of trust in business to business (B2B) banking services in the context of South Korea. In so doing, this study provides critical implications for managers of financial service institutions. A conceptual model was developed from the existing literature on trust and the antecedents of trust, including the constructs of corporate reputation, service quality, perceived value, competence, customer orientation and open communication. A set of hypotheses concerning direct and indirect links between constructs was derived from the literature. The conceptual model was tested on data collected from more than 200 companies in South Korea during a 7 weeks period in 2017. A pilot test was conducted and frequency distributions of the sample were calculated using SPSS and Structural Equation modelling (SEM) using LISREL was employed to test the proposed model. Additionally t-test and ANOVA analysis was conducted to test the effect of the demographic factors of the participants on the variables of this study. The results indicate that the proposed theoretical framework was consistent and valid scales for all constructs. The measurement model for each construct showed good measures of fit. Associated with the structural model, all constructs except corporate reputation were found to have a positive effect on trust.
    • Cognitive enhancements of elderly Tai Chi Chuan practitioners

      Willmott, James P.; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-05)
      Background: More research is providing support into the capability of tai chi chuan (TCC) to enhance cognitive abilities, neurological functioning, as well as psychosocial wellbeing and quality of life. These areas of the human mind-body complex become at risk during the process of aging, and TCC has the potential to enhance these areas and mitigate cognitive decline for elderly people. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether elderly people who practice TCC possess greater cognitive abilities and quality of life compared to bowls players and a control group. Method: 30 tai chi chuan practitioners, 30 bowls players and 10 control group participants were used in the sample. Only 10 control group participants were used due to complications with recruitment. The Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) was used to measure sustained attention, the Stroop Test was used to measure executive function, and the Brown-Peterson Task (BPT) was used to measure working memory. The Older People's Quality of Life Questionnaire - Brief was used to measure quality of life. Age, gender, years of experience and self-reported additional activities were recorded. Test order effects were also measured. Results: Significant differences were found between the tai chi chuan group and bowls group on the Stroop correct responses and the Brown-Peterson Task correct responses in favour of the tai chi chuan group. No other significant differences were found between all groups in cognitive test performance. No significant differences were found between all three groups on quality of life. Significant associations were found between self-reported additional activities practiced and the groups. The total number of activities engaged in and cognitive based activities were found to significantly predict performance on the Brown-Peterson Task. Conclusion: The data in the present study suggests that elderly people who practice TCC may have enhanced executive function and working memory but not sustained attention compared to bowls players. These findings must be interpreted with caution however due to the methodological complications and mediating factors that confound the reliability and validity of the results. Overall, the study still provides some empirical evidence in support of TCC's potential to enhance cognitive ability in the elderly. More research is required to ascertain the specific components of cognitive ability that are enhanced by TCC.
    • Design and implementation of a procedure for VFX content generation

      Mustafa, Kamran; University of Bedfordshire (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2011)
      As a student of M.Sc. Computer Animation I have tried my best to cover all the aspects of this project. Being a student is great, but sooner or later I am going to have a transition to "the real world". I am about to make that transition; graduation is around the corner and I find myself looking forward to join the workforce. When I look back to my year of study at the University of Bedfordshire, I am amazed that I have learned much but there is much more to learn. The greatest experience I acquired is that with this project I gained a lot of experience to work on the motion capture and learned new techniques that are used in industry to create high quality VFX with 3d animation. I have tried my level best to keep the accuracy in designs and realistic as possible but most important thing is that I have worked for the first time on motion capture and I am very much successful in generating the output that I imagined. The realistic models, usage of MoCaps, mind blowing VFX, environments, materials all have been done according to the perspective of imitating them to the actual objects. By doing this most importantly I have passed through several hurdles and bottlenecks that can appear in the work process. One of the most important characteristic of my project is that I have not used any special purpose hardware for my work. All the designing and modeling has been done on simple core i7 machine without high speed graphics cards or rendering cards. I also haven’t got any motion capture cameras so I bought pre-captured MoCaps from internet. Shots that are rendered in 3DS Max were later on blended with the real life footage using After Effects. After the rendering a lot of work is performed in the Post Production for generating VFX and doing green screening.
    • Effect of environmental temperature on appetite, energy intake and appetite-regulating hormones during rest

      Horsfall, Rachel; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-04)
      There is evidence to suggest that the exercise-induced suppression in appetite is more pronounced when exercise is performed in the heat compared with colder environments. Whether such effects of environmental temperature are seen at rest remains unknown. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of environmental temperature on energy intake (EI), appetite and appetite-regulating hormones during rest. Nine men (aged 21.4 ±1.3 years) rested for 5.5-hours in three conditions i) a thermoneutral environment (20˚C), ii) a hot environment (30˚C) and iii) a cold environment (10˚C). After baseline measures, each participant was supplied with a standardised breakfast meal containing 6 kcal·kg body mass-1. Further blood samples were collected at 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 5.5 h during the postprandial period, with an ad libitum pasta meal provided at 4-4.5 h to measure EI. Perceptions of appetite were assessed using 100-mm visual analogue scales every 30 min. Blood samples were analysed for gut hormone concentrations. Significant effects of condition for ad libitum EI (P = 0.002) were found; EI was higher in 10˚C and 20˚C compared with 30˚C. The findings of the present study support the limited evidence that environmental temperatures may modulate EI.
    • Electrochemical determination of silver sols for sensor developments

      Wang, Yuanyang; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2009-06)
      Characterisation of an electrochemical method for measuring silver sols (aqueous suspensions of nanometer-sized particles) is described. Such particles are receiving much attention by others as valuable components in the development of biosensing systems. The work was centred on the use of screen-printed three-electrode devices to measure the concentration of silver sols by a sequence of processes: (i) dissolution of the silver particles to form silver ions; (ii) accumulation of silver on the working electrode; and (iii) stripping of the accumulated silver. The silver sol concentration was related to the observed stripping peak (peak height or peak area). Carbon electrodes were used throughout and the influence of carbon type, electrode format/arrangement and dissolution potential were examined. A number of interesting observations were made and conclusions arrived at: (a) the arrangement of working, reference and counter electrodes was important and a preferred arrangement was indicated; (b) electrode material and/or format were important – but further work would be necessary to identify whether one or both factors were particularly important; (c) the choice of dissolution potential was crucial – and further work needs to be carried out to ensure that a sufficiently stable reference electrode can be arrived at; and (d) preliminary evidence is presented that indicates that silver contamination of the screen-printed silver electrodes was a limiting factor that needed to be corrected/mitigated in order to arrive at robust/reproducible measurement devices.
    • Finger-print based student attendance register

      Parvinzamir, Farzad; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2012-09)
      Monitoring student attendance in the UK has become a prime concern for Universities in recent months, due to a perceived lack of accuracy in reports submitted to the UK Borders Agency and political pressure about wider immigration issues. This project proposes a biometrics-based solution to that concern which also conforms to legislative pressures on data governance and information security, but which can provide accurate, reliable data for the institution to use in future reports to UKBA. All biometric techniques obviate the need to carry a token or card, or to remember several passwords, and reduce the risk of lost, forgotten or copied passwords, stolen tokens or over the shoulder attacks. This project shall focus on using fingerprint recognition, mainly due to the low-cost of devices for deployment and high user acceptance. Fingerprint recognition has traditionally been used for data access amongst a mobile population with increasingly portable devices, but it can also be employed for monitoring purposes, and this project defines how it could be used in this context to provide a fingerprint-based student attendance register. This project set out to overcome the drawbacks of the current attendance system, which can be fooled by “buddy swiping” of absent students’ RFID card or signing the register sheet on behalf of absentee students within a university. An application was designed within MATLAB to identify pattern in data, extract vectors from a fingerprint image and map values to the new area, then to verify a student who swipes his fingerprint against those values. The requirement was to make this system work asynchronously so that constant internet and database connections are not required, to deliver outstanding rates of accuracy, and to ensure this could work on machines with very low computing power so that it can be utilized in mobile devices in future. The delivered application uses the Principal Component Analysis method to compare fingerprints with the new form of harmonized data defined by eigenvectors and eigenvalues in n dimensions. This high-speed method uses the lowest computational power to deliver accurate results through making a closest match against stored values. This application has potential to be employed as a modular add-on by a University student monitoring system or connect to its database and transfer data.
    • How is shamanism represented in fantasy fiction? A study into the ancient practice, its important elements, and how fantasy authors use them in their writing

      Ivatt, Heather; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2017-01)
      This thesis aims to explore the representation of shamanism in fantasy fiction, focusing on its various aspects and those who practice it. It is accompanied by an extract of my fantasy novel, "Transcendent", which follows Outcast: a man exiled by his people for his misuse of powers, who now charges innocents for helping them. He, and those like him, are known as Magickers and all but a few are left, the others having been slaughtered by an invading empire. The thesis will explore my use of Outcast’s character to demonstrate aspects of shamanism. This will be achieved by analysing a collection of fantasy novels. Those I will investigate are: "Clan of the Cave Bear", by Jean. M. Auel; "Shaman of Stonewylde", by Kit Berry; and the "Soldier Son" trilogy by Robin Hobb. I will also discuss the difference between shamanism and the occult, as the magic systems used in fantasy fiction can be associated with one or the other. Finally, my findings will be compared to my own creative work, to fully understand the representation of shamanism in the genre and how it can be applied in practice.