Inventor Working on a Machine to Talk to Dolphins
Photo by The Pug Father via Flickr CC
A Cumbrian scientist is working on machine that he believes will be able to translate specific dolphin sounds into words so we can talk to dolphins. We already know they understand hand signals clearly, but we can't understand what they're saying back. That might all change.John Stuart Reid is an acoustics engineer, and he's working on the Cymascope, a machine he hopes will turn dolphin sounds into a crackable code that can be translated. With the help of Jack Kassewitz, a Florida-based dolphin researcher, he's already looking at translating single verbs and nouns, and then on to sentences.
Mr Reid said: "Until now the complexity of a dolphin's speech has been virtually impossible to translate. The Cymascope can pinpoint the structure of sound and simplify this into a basic pattern of speech."
Whale song and dolphins' dynamic language has been a mystery, though we do understand that the languages are complex, and that pods within specific whale species have different dialects and accents based on the pod's location and social structure. To be able to translate what dolphins are saying would be quite a breakthrough...But realistically, it's not going to happen any time soon, machine or not.
"Most researchers have used spectrographs to try and decipher the sounds but the Cymascope will allow us to decipher the meanings in the speech patterns for the first time," he added.
We hope so, but won't hold our breath.
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