Edge Innovations is a US company specialising in hyper-realistic animatronics robots for aquariums: they can be used instead of real dolphins.
Can aquariums and marine parks ever be eco-sustainable? The answer is not as obvious as many of us might think. In the USA there is in fact a company – Edge Innovations – that has set itself the goal of making these structures pet friendly, much criticised by animal lovers. In what way? Thanks to technology! The Edge Innovations team specialises in designing hyper-realistic animatronics robots in the shape of dolphins, killer whales and sharks. These “androids” have the same appearance as real marine animals and are programmed to behave exactly like them. A team of biologists have worked with the programmers at Edge Innovations to develop an Artificial Intelligence algorithm that “mimics” the behaviour of fish and marine mammals. The result is amazing: only the most careful observers can distinguish robots from real animals! These “androids” have long been used on Hollywood movie sets. The shark from “Deep Blue” or the orca from “Free Willy”, for example, were born in the Edge Innovations laboratories. Now, however, the American company has decided to use robots in aquariums and marine parks instead of live specimens. This would free a lot of animals that are now kept in captivity, putting an end to exploitation.
Robot instead of dolphins in US aquariums
Edge Innovations’ engineers, programmers and designers have “created” robots to try and reinvent the marine entertainment and aquarium industry. All, of course, putting the well-being of dolphins, whales, sharks and sea creatures first. “By combining live puppeteering (a technique very similar to puppeteering, ed), programmed behaviour and Artificial Intelligence – explain the authors of the project – we can create a unique experience for the guests of aquariums and water parks. The aim of this initiative is to recreate the educational and commercial potential of the marine animal industry by putting their welfare first. Animatronics are hyper-realistic “creatures” able to make you live any experience you can imagine. From dolphins playing with children, to great white sharks inviting you to be part of their feeding frenzy, to sea dragons spitting fire in a nighttime show in Las Vegas. Thanks to technology, we can finally imagine a realistic and sustainable future to live in harmony with the wonderful creatures of the oceans”.
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