The bonobos at Bonobo Hope Great Ape Trust Sanctuary in Des Moines IA use Lexigram symbols to communicate with people. I have already built large sliding touchscreen computer keyboards for them to use
but for communication to be truly effective the apes and the people they interact with need to have personal interconnected keyboards they can carry about with them.
Work has already begun on this project and we have a working prototype but it requires extensive elaboration and field testing to become an effective tool.
It is also useful for humans if they can just speak the sentences and have the app translate them automatically to visual lexigram sequences.
All keyboards will be fully connected through the internet and available to their bonobo and human users wherever they are located.
Finally, we would like the bonobos to use the Bonobo Chat app to control their environment using simple lexigram commands – to operate vending machines, open doors, watch movies and, hopefully, to control robots. We believe that controlling robots might be a good way for the bonobos to interact with guests and visitors outside their caged areas. They could play chase games or squirt guests with an an on board watergun. They could operate the robot out of site by navigating using an on board camera.
I have built several robot prototypes which I will try to connect over the internet to the Robot Chat devices.
Design by Ken Schweller [via]