A few years ago I was on holiday visiting Cuba. Whilst I was there, I had a chance to swim with Dolphins. I have to say that it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. As you may know, Dolphins are some of the most intelligent animals that live in the oceans of our planet. Man has used them in times past to locate weapons, such as mines, because they can be trained to follow instructions; military experts have done this with the desired results.
Although they can be trained to follow instructions, would it be possible to communicate with dolphins in an even more personal manner, through the use of language translation? This field may have been thought up before, but this time around, a group of scientists have been developing a human-to-dolphin language translator. Believe it or not, it actually sounds crazy enough to work.
The director of the Wild Dolphin Project and creator of the Cetacean Hearing Telemetry device (CHAT), Denise Herzing, was astounded when he first heard of a successful dolphin translation, which could mean a breach in that huge wall of one way communication between humans and dolphins.
The CHAT device works in this manner; underwater microphones will be used to capture dolphin noises, including clicks and whistles. This is where the technology comes in to its own, as most of the noises are inaudible to the human ear because of the different frequency.
Instead of translating all the sounds that the dolphins made, Dr. Herzing ‘taught’ the dolphins eight ‘words’ which are related to their environment, including the word ‘“seaweed” and “bow wave ride”. This type of strategy has allowed Herzing to narrow the wide audio range to eight individual noises. The first of the sounds that were successfully mimicked was “seaweed”, and while it has been heard only once so far, it may be the important first step to a brilliant future.
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[Image via divetalking]