One of the items on my bucket list that I have regrettably yet to tick off, is swimming with dolphins. Every time I’ve gone to aquariums that offer this experience, it has sadly been beyond my reach financially, but hopefully, that day will come when I will be able to join the dolphins in a pool. Real dolphins that is, because it looks like the world may soon be looking to transfer that experience to some robotic doppelgangers which I have no time for.
Edge Innovations, a company in New Zealand, is focusing on building animatronic animals to eventually replace the need for real creatures in zoos and aquariums. And to start, they’re focusing on one of the most intelligent of species known to man, dolphins. A noble goal that would certainly please many activists out there that aren’t happy with the treatment of animals in a contained environment. Though at the same time, defeating the whole purpose of visiting a place where you’re interested in seeing nature interact as its intended.
The technology itself is impressive though, with the final product practically indistinguishable from the real thing. The company combines artificial intelligence and remote-control operation to bring the automatons to life and when you look at them in motion, you can’t even tell the difference between them and the real thing. That is until they turn into killer terminators and try to wipe us all out
This remarkable technology doesn’t come cheap though, with the dolphins reportedly costing about R440 million each, according to The Guardian. While these machines could potentially last far longer than the original mammal, it would be interesting to see exactly how long they do last or what sort of maintenance is involved to keep them operational.
With prices like that, its perhaps no surprise that Edge Innovations don’t have too many buyers yet although there is a new aquarium in China that is looking to acquire these new animatronic dolphins for their guests. In South Africa, we have the real thing, so I guess we will just save our money instead.
Last Updated: August 12, 2020