Dolphin Whistle Translator
In the classic Star Trek episode Arena, first aired in January of 1967, Captain Kirk is kidnapped and beamed to a distant planet - and is forced to fight to the death with his opposite number - a lizard star ship captain.
He can speak with his non-hominid opponent using his handy universal translator; start the video below at about 1:00.
(Star Trek Arena universal translator video)
Now, it appears that interspecies communication devices might actually be possible.
The translator, dubbed Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry (CHAT, created in 2011), was developed by Google Glass technical lead Thad Starner for Denise Herzing, research director of the Wild Dolphin Project. It uses pattern discovery algorithms in order to pick out specific dolphin whistles and translate them to something a human can understand.
Herzing and crew were following and playing with a dolphin pod, and taught it their own “custom” whistle for the word “sargassum,” or seaweed. The whistle sounded unique from normal dolphin communication, so it’d be easy to pick out even without CHAT. While wearing the device, Herzing discovered that the dolphins did indeed adopt the taught whistle, and it translated the noise into the English word. The dolphins changed the whistle to a higher frequency, but the shape of the seaweed whistle’s audio profile is roughly the same.
Now, being able to translate a word that we made up and taught dolphins ourselves isn’t the type of translation that will immediately allow us to understand the creature’s natural language, but it does help scientists find meaningful patterns within that natural language. Progress has already been made. Before losing sight of the dolphin pod last year, Tharner’s algorithms discovered eight components of 73 whistles, and were able to match those components with certain behaviors, such as interactions between mother and child.
Also, fans of Larry Niven recall the translator discs from his 1970 novel Ringworld; these devices could translate between species.
The tattooed one made a short speech. That was luck. The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...
Presently the discs were filling in words and phrases... His voice was almost a chant, almost a recital of poetry. The autopilot was translating Louis's words into a similar chant, though it spoke to Louis in a conversational tone. Louis could hear the other translator discs whistling softly in Puppeteer, snarling quietly in the Hero's Tongue.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/1/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Periscope App Signals End Of Journalism
'Jerry berry... panned the camera...'- Larry Niven, 1972.
Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'- James Blish, 1957.
OMOTE Face Hackers At Work Video
'...a video-manicuring program came on line.'- Bruce Sterling, 1985.
SETI Workshop On Communicating Across The Cosmos
'...heard every word, not only locally, but wherever in the whole universe that there's a Dirac transceiver'- James Blish, 1957.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Zap Space Debris With Telescope Laser On ISS
'... their lasers vaporized the smaller satellites...'
Moran Cerf, When Will We Get Neuro Tech For Ourselves?
If brainwave-sensing consumer products tickle your fancy...
Velkess Energy Storage System (It's A Flexible Flywheel!)
'The kinetic man unjacked Lalji’s kink-springs from the winding treadmills...'
Performance Enhancing Drugs - In Gaming?
'A faint smell of rachag stimulant wafted down the table.'
Automated Treadmill Adjusts To Your Pace
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched...'
Mr. Anderton, Beware This Long-Range Iris Scanner
Try keeping your eyes shut, Mr. Anderton.
Mini Statues Of You From 3D Images
'...A three-dimensional simulacrum of himself six inches high took form.'
'Forever' Camera Powered By Its Own Images
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'
Robot Chef Makes Thousands Of Dinners
'I got one of those new electronic cameras... and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'
Revault Wearable Private Cloud Is Too Vaporous
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'
Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
Lumo Projector Turns Kids Rooms Into Bradbury's Veldt
'The walls began to purr and recede... and presently an African veldt appeared...'
Ground Control Space Beer
Ninkasi Brewing Co. has its own space program.
Google Wants To Give Orders To Robot Armies
Or maybe they aren't bent on world domination.
Gestures Control Spider Robot Army
'What do you think - four spiders, one per floor?'
Hologram Protest World's First
'Their bodies were in their dwelling cells, but their telucid images filled the hall.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories