Orangutans Using Xbox Kinect In New Zoo Based Research Project

by : Ewan Moore on : 02 Feb 2016 14:20

Clearly, nobody at Microsoft has ever watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as they’ve announced a new research initiative which studies orangutans as they fuck about with the Xbox motion sensor tool Kinect.   


The Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces have teamed up with Zoos Victoria at the University of Melbourne to bring about this potential Monkeygeddon… but mostly they just want to see how orangutans learn, interact with technology, and make social choices. At least, that’s their story.

The project will begin this month at Melbourne Zoo, where the orangutans will be able to enjoy some Xbox motion control fun. It’s unclear how long it will take them to start moaning about their KD ratios and Gamerscores.

This research project is actually the first of its kind. Previous experiments have seen orangutans using tablets and touchscreen computers, however the fact that the Kinect requires no physical hardware on the animal’s side means there’s no limit to their ability to operate the device.


Initial tests have been positive, with Malu (Melbourne’s 12 year old orangutan) reacting to the projection of a red dot on the floor by running over and kissing it. Bless.

The tests will run throughout February, and researchers are also developing videogames and galleries specifically designed for the orangutans. Surely, that’s how the Call of Duty franchise came about?

Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn't gotten out of his mid 00's emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.

Topics: Gaming


Mashable and 1 other
  1. Mashable

    Scientists are using Xbox Kinect to let orangutans play video games

  2. GameSpot

    Xbox Kinect Being Used by Orangutans at Zoo