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 -
Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K Dick, 1955.
Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...' - Larry Niven, 1970.
The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System — call it artificial telepathy, if you like.' - Richard Meredith, 1969.
BloxVox Mutes Cellphone Convos
'had he not been talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.
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.
Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'
Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'
Vascularized Human Skin 3D Printed
Trillionaires Still Earth-Bound
'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'
Digit V2 Bipedal Robot From Agility Robotics
Oh, and now I suppose someone will develop the robotic porch pirate.
3D Printed Dubai Building Is World's Largest
'This thing will start at one end of ...a house and build it complete to the other end, following drawings only.'
Grow Plants On Moon Or Mars!
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.'
California Gets Shockwave Rider-Style Avoidance Zones
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'
Microbot Interstellar von Neumann Explorers
'Evidently they have never had a planet of their own...'
Hail SmartCan! Your Trash Bin Takes Itself Out
'...a waste can twenty feet away stirred into life.'
Finally! Microsoft Surface Neo And Surface Duo Implement Excellent Courier Idea
'Runcible, whose pages were thicker and more densely packed with computational machinery...'
Tap Strap 2 Now With Air Mouse
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Legal Profession Now Fairly Bristling With AI
'The virtual counsel appeared to be about forty-five years old and prosperous.'
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'
FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'
Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories