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iPad to help humans communicate with dolphins?

People have long been fascinated by dolphins – loveable, friendly creatures like Flipper.

Now scientists are apparently one step closer to communicating with them – with the help of the iPad.

A two year old dolphin called Merlin is the object of a study conducted by a non-profit firm called Global Heart. The study aims to develop a system of symbols and sounds that correspond to objects and concepts, which will allow humans and dolphins to communicate.

“For several years, we’ve recognized that part of the problem in creating an artificial language between humans and dolphins has been the speed of acquisition of the human brain; it’s just not up to competing (with that of the dolphin),” said Kassewitz, president of Global Heart, a non-profit firm heading up the dolphin research.

The dolphin’s “acoustic range is so broad and ours is so limited, and our speed to react to their sound is so slow, I think we were just plain boring,” Kassewitz said.

Kassewitz turned to computer hardware, which can process information much faster than the human brain, special software for recording real-time data, and underwater microphones. (Source:

Perhaps more interestingly for language learners who aim to communicate with other (human) people, the article mentions that the research could also lead to a universal translator for humans.