According to a report from Associated Press, orangutans at Miami’s Jungle Island zoo are taking a liking to Apple’s iPad in a new program that has six of them communicating with the device:
The software was originally designed for humans with autism and the screen displays pictures of various objects. A trainer then names one of the objects, and the ape presses the corresponding button… While other trainers have developed strong relationships with the orangutans, the iPad and other touchscreen computers offer an opportunity for them to communicate with people not trained in their sign language
Linda Jacobs, who is in charge of the mental stimulus program, explained the younger orangutans seem to immediately respond to the iPads:
“Our young ones pick up on it. They understand it. It’s like, ‘Oh I get this… Our two older ones, they just are not interested. I think they just figure, ‘I’ve gotten along just fine in this world without this communication-skill here and the iPad, and I don’t need a computer.’
“They are sort of trapped in those bodies.. They have the intelligence that they need to communicate, but they don’t have the right equipment, because they don’t have voice boxes or vocal cords. So this gives them a way to let us know what they know, what they are capable of, what they would like to have.”
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