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03-31-2012, 04:07 AM #1
App would allow humans to communicate with bonobos
The seven bonobos living at the Bonobo Hope Great Ape Trust Sanctuary in Des Moines, Iowa, are a pretty smart bunch of apes. Among other things, they have a vocabulary of about 400 words Ė they donít speak those words, but instead associate the meanings of them with symbols known as lexigrams. Using large wall-mounted touchscreen displays, they are able to communicate with humans by touching the appropriate lexigrams on those displays. Now, the sanctuary wants to develop an app that could be used on mobile versions of the wall screens, so tablet-wielding bonobos could communicate from wherever they happen to be.
One of the Bonobo Chat appís more interesting features would be its ability to act as a sort of human-ape translator. People could simply speak into their device in English, at which point the app would select lexigrams corresponding to their words, and display those on the screen of the selected bonoboís device. Conversely, once an ape had poked out a series of lexigrams on their screen, a corresponding spoken message would be played back by the humanís device. Weíre not talking about complex sentences, obviously, but two-way conversations nonetheless....being a human...