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 | del.icio.us | 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 ")

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.

FlexEnable OLED Bracelet SmartPhone Concept
'The tiny screen in the bracelet's center...' - Roger Zelazny, 1980.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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

Self-Healing Textiles! Say Goodbye To Torn Jeans
'The constant renewal of the fibers, repairing any faults...'

Fleets Of Ford Autonomous Cars In 5 Years
'He urgently addressed the vehicle's AI."Can't we go any faster?'

Electric Head Patch Helps PTSD Patients
'Don't confuse this with the little ten amp neurosis models.'

MEDi Robot Calms The Nervous Patient
'Specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices.'

NASA's Interplanetary Internet DTN
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Superior Morals For Autonomous Cars
Exemplars of military and civic virtue.

Housekeeping Robots Easy To Imagine, Tough To Make
George Jetson had it easy.

Augmented Reality On Construction Sites
'To Nigel Bishop, the walls had become blue glass...'

Moorebot Personal Assistant Robot
'...a full-size 38-tube fully automatic companion for you!'

One-Shot Gene Therapy Cure $665K
One shot - one cure. Guaranteed.

Laser 'Autonomous Target Selection' Now Available To Curiosity Rover
And, given the birthday situation, is this a good time?

Ultrasonic Wireless ‘Neural Dust’ Sensors For Medical Monitoring
'These dustmotes already had sensors and independence built in.'

Breathable Carbon Nanotube Membrane For 'Smart Uniforms'
'The 'skin's got these reflexes, changes its permeability...'

Record 1007 Robots Dance In Harbinger Of Doom
Okay, Sonny, I know you're out there.

Cicret Makes Your Skin Into A Display
'On the translucent mica-like coverings over the orifices, appeared reddish characters...'

Tesla's To Eye Future With New Sensors?
'I want to show you something new in the way of an automobile.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.