Animals Master Touch Technology

Dolphin on iPad

You know that your toddler is more proficient at using your smartphone than you are, but have you ever stopped to think about what your pets might do with it? Animals are getting their paws — and tongues and trunks — on various types of touch-based technology, and they're mastering it just as fast as we are. Amazing. That’s exactly what happened in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, in 2010, when research scientist Jack Kassewitz presented Merlin, a 2-year-old dolphin, with a waterproofed iPad.

He showed the dolphin real objects, like a ball or plastic duck, and then asked Merlin to touch images of those objects on the iPad. It was a cinch. “This is an easy task for a dolphin, but it is a necessary building block towards our goal of a complete language interface between humans and dolphins,” Kassewitz said in a press release.

We know dolphins are smart, but they're not the only animals making tablet technology work for them.

Fingers Are Overrated — Try a Trunk Instead!

After all the YouTube videos of iPads captivating cats and dogs, we thought we’d seen everything. But then Samsung rocked our world with its “Bigger is Better” commercial, in which Peter the elephant plays with the Galaxy Note. The device’s screen measures approximately 5 inches — so about halfway between the size of a phone and a tablet.

Peter plays the xylophone, strums a guitar, takes pictures, scrolls through images of fruit and even draws a portrait of his elephant friend. The ad’s creators insist there’s no deceitful editing magic at work here, and point to raw clips of Peter banging drums and playing piano.

So to everyone who thinks their fingers aren’t nimble enough to navigate a smartphone, we say, if an elephant can do it, so can you.


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