Orangutans at the Miami Zoo are being taught how to communicate using an iPad. The group of six primates at the zoo are using an iPad to identify items that they recognise and are communicating with keepers predominately via an app designed to assist autistic children.
The apes are using the Apple device as an alternative to sign language and, according to Linda Jacobs who oversees the project, they are able to distinguish between different food items on the iPad’s screen.
“We want to build from that and give them a choice in what they have for dinner — show them pictures of every vegetable we have available that day, and let them pick, giving them the opportunity to have choices.”
Jacobs believes that there is far more that can be taught to the primates through the use of technology and the iPad is making the initial stages possible.
The two oldest orangutans, aged 35 and 33 respectively, are reportedly a little more wary of the tech which the younger four are far more keen on getting their hands on the device. However the orangutans are not permitted to handle the iPad, since they will apparently dismantle it to see how it works.