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.

Via Geek.

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 | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Communication ")

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...' - Jeff Noon, 2000.

Audiobooks - Fastest Growing Format In Publishing
'The public preferred lectons...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1961.

Douglas Adams Your Babel Fish Is Ready - The Pilot By Waverly
'You'll need to have this fish in your ear.' - Douglas Adams, 1979.

Cortana Clip - The New In-Ear Wearables
'And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight...' - Ray Bradbury, 1953.



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.






Current News

Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.

Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'

How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'

'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'

proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'

Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'

Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'

FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.

BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'

Linear Elastic Actuator in Parallel (LEAP) - It's A Hopping Robot
'...Probably the most grotesque forms of transportation ever invented.'

Smart Glove Controls 3D Printed Robotic Arm (Waldo!)
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the... waldoes... followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Wearables For Animals Totally A Thing
'Twin deformities on either side of his skull had been engineered to house sensor units.'

Tomatoes From Sun And Seawater
'Hydroponics. Gotta almost do it, if I'm going way out to Mars without much supplies.'

Hadrian X Construction Robot From Fastbrick Robotics
Hope Hadrian is never a runaway!

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.