Late Night open thread: Orangutans with iPads, a man without a nose, his pet moose and a clairvoyant dwarfPosted: May 9, 2012
Hey, it is late night…and I am in the mood for something different, aren’t you?
So, I have two topics to discuss with you on this open thread. First, this news out of Miami Zoo. Orangutans at Miami zoo use iPads to communicate
The 8-year-old twins love their iPad. They draw, play games and expand their vocabulary. Their family’s teenagers also like the hand-held computer tablets, too, but the clan’s elders show no interest.
The orangutans at Miami’s Jungle Island apparently are just like people when it comes to technology. The park is one of several zoos experimenting with computers and apes, letting its six orangutans use an iPad to communicate and as part of a mental stimulus program. Linda Jacobs, who oversees the program, hopes the devices will eventually help bridge the gap between humans and the endangered apes.
“Our young ones pick up on it. They understand it. It’s like, ‘Oh I get this,’” Jacobs said. “Our two older ones, they just are not interested. I think they just figure, ‘I’ve gotten along just fine in this world without this communication-skill here and the iPad, and I don’t need a computer.’”
Jacobs said she began letting the orangutans use iPads last summer, based on the suggestion of someone who had used the devices with dolphins. The software was originally designed for humans with autism and the screen displays pictures of various objects. A trainer then names one of the objects, and the ape presses the corresponding button.
The comparison to humans made me laugh…thinking about a couple old fart orangutans complaining about “kids today.”
In this Feb. 21, 2012 photo, after being told a word, an orangutan points to that object on an IPAd at Jungle Island in Miami. Experts who work with primates have been using sign language and other methods to communicate with apes for years. But with advancements in tablet computer technology, workers at Jungle Island in Miami are using iPads to better communicate with their orangutans. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
I love the idea Zimmerman has for a way to connect the orangutans with the people who come to see them.
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