Steve Jobs promised us the iPad would change our lives, and while it hasn't been all things to all people – what about that front-facing camera, Steve? – the beauty of such a device is that developers (to the extent that Apple will allow them, anyhow) are free to get as creative as they want with the device. Just ask Merlin the bottlenose dolphin. He loves the iPad, and thanks to a symbol-based human-dolphin communication interface being developed for the iPad's ample touchscreen, he could one day be able to tell you so himself.
The program, being developed by a non-profit called Speak Dolphin at Dolphin Discovery's swim facility in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, is being tested on both the iPad and a Panasonic Toughbook. Merlin, a two-year-old bottlenose, uses his rostrum (that's his elongated beak) to operate the touchscreen, learning to associates symbols with objects.
Researchers think once Merlin gets the hang of using the touchscreen to associate objects, he'll be able to learn a kind of symbolic language to express more intangible ideas, like actions or even emotions. Of course, this dolphin-human interface requires some other more basic technology beyond the program, like anti-glare screens that Merlin can better see and waterproofing tech that keeps him from ruining his favorite status symbol.
But what's starting out as rudimentary symbol association on a touchscreen could potentially provide a way for humans to communicate quickly and efficiently, if at a very basic level, with the more intelligent species with which we share the planet. Add "Dog Whisperer" to the list of apps we'd like to see hit the store in coming years.
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I see this tech as something that has to prove itself first before it says or they say they can talk to dolphins and if your trying to talk with another speacies killerwhales are smarter i am sure that would make for a higher success rate but who knows atleast a dolphin wont eat you if you show it the angry face icon.lol this is a weird tech but something that can be revolutionary if ever successful.keep trying is the best i can say to those involved in the project and it wont happen over night.live long and prosper from TrulyVisionary til next time cya.
Why not make one of the windows of the habitat transparent-OLED capacitive touch screens? Or if not capacitive, then the generic optical touch screens, that use cameras to determine where the display is touched?
(the Douglas Adams references are older than my gramma's diapers too)
@TrulyVisionary, Bottle-nose dolphins are actually the 2nd most intelligent species after Humans.
Stop with the publicity, seriously Popsci...
iPad didn't change anything yet. It's just a big smarthphone with less things.
Still sounds cool to be able to communicate with other species.
finally we can understand what chewie has been grunting about all this time.
I really hope that this becomes a reality. I know that scientists have long been able to use this type of symbol language with apes so I'm pretty sure it would probably be great with dolphins. As a surfer I see dolphins almost everyday and they are some of the most incredible animals on the planet. They can help us in so many ways too such as underwater bomb detection for the military. This animal has help saved countless sailors lives so far. Its pretty unreal how the dolphins are able to do this with their echo location. I'll post a link to a great video explaining how this works if your interested. I feel like we might be in for a surprise when they figure out how to allow dolphins to communicate with us. They might just teach us a thing or two!
separate a baby raise it alone teaching it a bridge language. work with it throughout it's life refining that. then have it raise a baby teaching it that new language, working with both to continue refining. then raise up some orphans the same way till you have a community speaking the new language as a community and self evolving it to communicate with humans.
what I'm talking about is literally creating a new species of Dolphin mind. some day they could be our smartest scientists. their 3d perspective of mind and larger computer would make them a very valuable intellectual resource. at some problems they would be like super computers.
humans assume that we have one base mind program. but it was more then just animals competing out their on the savannah plains. there are literally different species of mind even within the human community. as genetic memory also is a variable of diversity and selection forces. and it is the combination of genetic memory and environment that shapes how we choose to learn to use our minds.
understanding these different chains of mind programs within humans will help us to better educate and utilize our collective mental resources.
but it will also help us in evolving new and useful and sentient species in other animals as well. I do recognize Dolphins as sentient, but their shape of mind is very foreign to our fragmented structure of thought. i believe a bridge mind (product of a bridge language) would be the fastest road to a deeper understanding of consciousness and how other animals think.
Interesting concept, but I agree with Edgarsan
-- article even says that they also run it on a Toughbook
Also, if I understand correctly, they're still in preliminaries
"Researchers think once Merlin gets the hang of using the touchscreen to associate objects..."
Hopefully they'll succeed, but they apparently have quite a ways to go.
It would be great if Apple's Ipad was so advanced in technology that it could be used to communicate with other species.
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Actually, Humans are the 3rd most intelligent species on the planet, dolphins are 2nd smartest, and mice, of course, are the smartest.
then raise up some orphans the same way till you have a community speaking the new language as a community and self evolving it to communicate with humans.
I love this kind of article. So it inspired me to write a song about it. I mean who wouldn't want to talk to dolphins?
Its a big stretch to think that a dolphin who can name objects will be able to express emotions. Think about how hard a human can struggle to express even simple emotions. The point is even if a dolphin can name an orange it doesnt matter he can view himself existentially.
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Haha...that sounds interesting..
iPad definitely has the potential to be integrated in various activities