Orangutangs & Xbox

February 3, 2019

When we think about an Orangutang we imagine a magnificent animal living in the wild. The voice-over of Birutè Galdikas on the other hand explains to us what the #animal is really doing and its story so far and unfortunately like many of mankind's closest relatives they are forced to live in #captivity.

 

Although we bear in mind that it is for they own protection against their fiercest rivals (ourselves and the so-called industrial development), life in what is nothing more than a glorified prison is an issue we have to address. A group of researchers (no doubt influenced by what they see in our society) have turned to #Microsoft's Xbox has an entertaining tool to boost the animal's minds, spirits and #social interactions.

 

Malu, a 12-year-old Orangutang male at Australia's Melbourne Zoo has become one of the first testers to play a custom-made Xbox Kinect game that uses motion sensors to control the game. Malu successfully (and happily) taps and brushes lights projected onto his enclosure's floor, which causes various responses.

 

"Spying the projected red dot moving on the floor he immediately went over to it and kissed it. The dot duly exploded and when it reappeared he kissed it again, suggesting the Orangutangs are indeed keen to use more than their hands to interact," stated researchers.  Much like human-players do, he is exploring the game's abilities by bringing in items like straw and placing it over the game's projection, to test its reaction.

 

For now, the game is a simple one, but researchers hope they'll get to a level where primates and humans can play together!

 

There have been other projects around the world that connected these animals with our #technology, but their destructive strength and curiosity meant that the devices held by them would eventually be destroyed. The use of motion sensors provide them with a new means of interaction and a world of possibilities.

 

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