Abstract # 6221 Event # 231:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2015 10:40 AM-11:00 AM: (Cascade E) Oral Presentation


SHARED TOUCH-PANEL TASKS AT ZOOS: A PROMISING NEW PLATFORM FOR RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ENRICHMENT

C. F. Martin and R. W. Shumaker
Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222, USA
line
     Despite the successes of the few zoos that offer voluntary computer touch-panel activities to their primates, the practice has never gained enough traction to become widely adopted. This is likely due to the prohibitive costs of equipment and the need for specialized staff, but it may also be reflective of the limited objectives that zoos have traditionally placed on the usage of their touch-panels. Zoos that have implemented ape computer touch-panel programs have typically done so mainly for the purpose of scholarly research, and have given relatively less consideration to the potential for public education, behavioral enrichment, and conservation awareness. At the Indianapolis Zoo Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, a new computer system enables humans and orangutans to directly interact with each other over two interconnected computer touch-panel screens adjacently located on either side of a pane of exhibit glass. A variety of shared touch-panel tasks have been developed for the system, some of which are designed solely with cognition research goals in mind, while others focus more on goals of visitor engagement, immersive education, and behavioral enrichment. It is thought that the new shared touch-panel system, by fulfilling a diverse range of objectives for research, enrichment, and science education, may serve as a widely replicable exhibit platform for zoos with primates in their collections.