Tourists Urged To Swim With Robot Dolphins To Save Real Animals From Captivity
Robots could soon be replacing the captive dolphins thousands of tourists swim with each year – at least if animal rights groups have anything to do with it.
Dolphins are often separated from their mothers at a young age and held captive in attractions such as SeaWorld, purely for the entertainment of tourists.
Obviously, this experience can be traumatic and extremely damaging to the aquatic mammals, but now a new, first-of-its-kind robotic dolphin might put an end to that for good.
The electronic dolphin, which is the creation of Roger Holzberg and Walt Conti from Edge Innovations in partnership with Geo AR Games, is apparently hyper-realistic and perfectly imitates the experience of swimming with a real animal.
Don’t believe me? The robots are able to move underwater and playfully rise to the surface just like their animal counterparts, and are able to last in saltwater for 10 years. Their batteries don’t last that long, at just 10 hours, but that’s more than enough for a day’s work.
Most importantly though, they look just like the real deal. Melanie Langlotz, the founder of Geo AR Games, discussed the volunteers who have been swimming with the prototype, as per Radio New Zealand: ‘People just believed that it was real until they were told it was not. It was just absolutely incredible.’
Holzberg, who is also the former vice president and creative director for Disney, added:
This dolphin weighs, feels and has been engineered to simulate everything from the skeletal structure, to the muscular interaction with that skeletal structure, to the fat bladders and weight deposits on a real adolescent bottlenose dolphin.
Not only that, but the robot has already been embraced by PETA, which has long since branded swimming with dolphin experiences ‘cruel’ and ‘exploitative’. The animal rights group says it’s optimistic the robotic dolphin is the first step towards ending the practice for good.
‘These visionary designers have thrown a lifeline to sensitive dolphins who are exploited in swim with dolphins encounters and archaic marine parks,’ PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement.
PETA is honouring them for making waves with this high-tech invention that lets people get up close to dolphins without harming them.
In fact, PETA is so impressed with the prototype that it’s sending an Innovator for Animals Award to Holzberg and Conti of Edge Innovations, while PETA Australia is awarding Langlotz of Geo AR Games one for her ‘pivotal work with Edge Innovations to create the animatronic dolphin’.
Hopefully these robotic dolphins will be the first important stop to ending the cruel captive marine mammal industry once and for all.
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