Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Orangs and iPads: There's an ape for that"

Okay, so I just posted earlier about re-purposing apps...Now, how about re-purposing the iPad for use with animals?  According to an article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer, two orangutans at a Milwaukee zoo are smitten with using the iPad for apps, games, videos. The article explains how an emerging program at the Milwaukee County Zoo, which started as an April Fools joke, is working to place iPads into the giant, gentle palms of its orangutans.  These orangutans receive 20-minute sessions on the iPads three or four days each week with Scott Engel, the zoo's iPad enrichment coordinator.

The orangutans' favorite apps, so far, are:

Also, the orangutans seem particularly engaged with using the iPads to watch videos.

Richard Zimmerman, executive director of Orangutan Outreach, explains, "Orangutans are very tactile and their natural curiosity is perfect for a device like an iPad...They are open to all types of enrichment and we think that the touch-screen 'games' will be really good for them - especially during the winter months in northern climates when they spend long periods of time indoors. . . . We have a lot of different ideas we want to try with them and a lot of interest in the zoo community around the country."

At the present time, the only concern this program has before giving each orangutan a personal iPad is finding an orangutan-proof case for the iPads.  I wonder if they have considered a case with an animal-like name.

-  Jeremy

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