Tourists Urged To Swim With Robot Dolphins To Save Real Animals From Captivity

by : Lucy Connolly on : 23 Jun 2020 17:35
tourists urged to swim with robot dolphins 1Geo AR Games/PETA

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.

swimming with robot dolphinsGeo AR Games/YouTube/PETA

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.

She continued:

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’.

swimming with robot dolphinsGeo AR Games/YouTube/PETA

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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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Animal Cruelty, Animal Rights, Dolphins, Environment, Nature, Now, peta, robots


Geo AR Games/YouTube and 2 others
  1. Geo AR Games/YouTube

    RNZ Interview Robot Dolphin - Made by Edge Innovations - This is an animatronic!

  2. Radio New Zealand

    Robotic dolphin causing stir in aquariums while solving ethical dilemma

  3. PETA

    Local Innovators Nab PETA Award for First-of-Its-Kind Animatronic Dolphin