The lockdown was tough for all of us, not least because everyone was frankly annoyed without a stimulus. At least we have TV to entertain us, leaning towards lots of on-demand streamers so we can choose our escape every day. Lack of stimulation is also a problem for captive animals, so computer scientists have come up with a solution, at least for the white-faced Saki monkeys at Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo: video players according to their own needs. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT ate for me either.
Researchers at the University of Alto in collaboration with the zoo designed and created an on-demand video device that allows monkeys to choose what they want to see and when. Designed to enrich the life of these little primates, the TV viewing room – a box around them – allows monkeys to activate it in their spare time. Captive animal enrichment programs (including digital devices) are not new, but researchers point out that choices and controls are well-known, although they offer the animals the opportunity or skill to choose when and how to use a device to promote animal welfare.
In a study published in Animals, researchers explored how primates choose to control these devices, what monkeys enrich certain scenes, and how these videos affect their behavior. Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, lead author and observation researcher at Alto University, explained, ‘We were very interested in how animals could control their environment, and in particular how they could control technology. “Typically, when we use technology with animals, we use it in them, so we play their sound or video without giving the technology itself the option to control.”
So what do discerning visitors see around their monkeys?
Saki monkeys given a choice of aquatic life, such as fish water and jellyfish, wiggly worms, lash forests, other zoo animals or abstract art.
The TV box was equipped with a monitor for viewing plus cameras and sensors to monitor how they used it. By choosing the step in the box – effectively press play – monkeys can decide whether they watch the video of the week. Although researchers find it hard to confirm that monkeys are the most preferred – then there, is no monkey Nielsen rating or rotten tomato – it has been found that they spend most of their time looking at patriarchal insect pests and water scenes. “We’ve had interesting results,” said Vilma Kankanpa, co-author of the paper and a graduate student at Alto University. First, we learned that monkeys pay attention to the screen; they see it and touch it. We suspect they recognize objects on the screen. We featured food worms in one of the videos – the daily food for them. They actually tried to lick the screen and even looked around the tunnel to see if the bugs were behind it.”
Unfortunately, Evening-O-Vision has not yet arrived in the primate world, but the experiments may have had a positive effect on the monkeys’ well-being. Researchers have noticed that monkeys scratched them significantly less when videos were available. Scratching can be a sign of stress in captive animals, so perhaps they found the underwater scenes admirable.
On the other hand, the same team tested a similar device on white-faced Saki monkeys last year that allowed them to choose which sound they heard, and they showed a significant preference for traffic when they heard jungle sounds. There is no calculation for taste. However, researchers say that digital devices designed for animal enrichment should allow animals to control and control the performance they perform, allowing them to decide to activate it and even choose video or audio. They have to decide for themselves whether there is a remote-hogger among them.