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 -
Surreal iPhone Ad Video Parody Channels Dick, Heinlein
'... the audio relay is buried surgically...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
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.
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.
Brainwaves As Biometric Identification
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'
What-If Machine Concocts Creative Premises
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'
Underwater Balloon Gardens
'He puffed heavily as he angled around the bulbous lifezones...'
Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams
'It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning...'
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'
Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling
'The semi-sentient artifact glided to a position behind McKie...'
Pneumatic Micro-Tentacles Kidnapping Ants
'Long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'
Bee Narcs To Perform Drug 'Stings'
'Time for a replacement of both Behren and his dipterous insect...'
3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up....'
Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either.
Robot Swarms Improve Culture By Forgetting
'My mind was filled to the splitting point...'
Melomics Avant Garde Computer Musician
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused somewhere off into the shadows...'
Nanotech Used To Create Custom Water Filters In Tanzania
'People started out squeamish about Clearsacs...'
This Robot Swordmaster: Yaskawa Bushido Project
'The instrument of prisms and target could not think, feel caution or remorse. And it carried a real blade.'
Samsung's Transparent Display Finally As Big As HG Wells'
Wells also figured out that 16x9 is the shape to have.
Thync Mood-Changing Wearable Device
'Very gently, hypnotically, the electronic pulses throbbed in the frontal lobes of his brain.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories