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Give Wild Elephants Smartphones

Bring elephants into the 21st century
  [vote for,

It is known that elephants can learn to use touchscreen-based smartphones. They can also be taught to read and probably type human languages. [links]

I propose giving every wild elephant a smartphone.

These elephant smartphones would be larger than human smartphones, for easy trunk operation and viewing at trunk's length, and should be made to be waterproof and durable. As well, the screen should be sunlight-readable. I suggest e-paper, or maybe a Pixel Qi hybrid screen [link], so photos can be taken and viewed. This would also conserve energy.

The elephant would be fitted with a harness to hold the phone, probably on the chest where it can easily be reached with the trunk. The phone would be connected to the harness by a mechanical arm, which could be pulled out to hold the phone in front of the elephant so it could be operated using the trunk. Alternatively, the phone could be carried in a backpack, and pulled out and placed on the ground by the elephant to be used. Solar panels would be mounted at the top of the harness, over the elephant's shoulders. The harness should probably be composed of straps with gaps between them, rather than continuous wide fabric, to avoid itching and harboring pests and dirt.

The phone would have to communicate by satellite, probably, because I doubt there's sufficient cell coverage over the entire range of elephants. It would also have a GPS receiver and report the elephants' locations to conservationists and counter-poachers. The harness would have sensors for heart rate, body/ambient temperature, and motion. If these indicated a problem, an alert would be sent out.

The elephants could voluntarily call a veterinarian if they were feeling unwell, using an app on the phone. This app would also enable them to communicate their health issues more effectively, by e.g. tapping on symptoms on the screen or sending photos of injuries.

With another app, they could report sightings of poachers, and even send photos of them. If the poachers succeeded in approaching and/or killing an elephant, the phone would stream video to counter-poachers to help track down the poachers.

The GPS tracking would could be useful for alerting farmers to elephants approaching, so they can prepare to defend their farms in less elephant- harmful ways. It would also be useful to help elephants find each other in the wild, if there are times when or places where their infrasound communication doesn't work well, though I think the phone would have to be equipped with infrasonic transducers if voice calls were to be possible.

Of course, there'd also be an elephant-optimized version of Tinder.


P.S. Can we have a public: ecology: anti-poaching category? The anti-poaching ideas are currently scattered among many tangentially related categories.

notexactly, Mar 28 2017

Elephant using a smartphone https://wayback.arc...ng-the-galaxy-note/
mentioned in idea [notexactly, Mar 28 2017]

Teaching an elephant to read (1884) https://books.googl...20to%20read&f=false
mentioned in idea [notexactly, Mar 28 2017]

Pixel Qi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_Qi
mentioned in idea [notexactly, Mar 28 2017]


       t___k c__l!   

       It's the way I tell 'em.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 28 2017

       If you phone an elephant, is it a free call, or do they charge ?
8th of 7, Mar 28 2017

       That depends on the trunk line ...
normzone, Mar 28 2017

       If the NSA were to listen in, would that be a tap on the nose ?
8th of 7, Mar 28 2017

       If one of them roams away from a group hot spot it just isn't herd anymore.   

       Smartphone design has one fatal flaw where elephants are concerned - because elephants hear through their feet, the phone would be crushed every time an elephant tries to receive a call!   

       And of course, having no opposable thumbs, or ANY thumbs at all for that matter, your typical garden-variety elephant would be completely unable to power up their smartphone.
Canuck, Apr 01 2017

       Give Tame/captive Elephants Smartphones - Set for local calls only
popbottle, Apr 01 2017

       // typical garden-variety elephant //   

       An elephant in the garden is seen by the vast majority of horticulturalsts as a Bad Thing, whatever its variety. While not as bad as an Elephant In The Room, an Elephant In The Garden is equally difficult to completely ignore, particularly as their droppings are remarkably efficient at encouraging the growth of plants.   

       // unable to power up their smartphone. //   

       Trained monkeys would be the answer. The monkeys could ride on the elephants, and have the necessary manual dexterity to operate the handset controlls.   

       Hilarity ensues.
8th of 7, Apr 01 2017

       //An elephant in the garden is seen by the vast majority of horticulturalsts as a Bad Thing,//   

       Oh, don't be silly, [8th]. Who do you know that doesn't have at least a few acres of garden set aside for exotic species? My Head of North-West Gardening has - only yesterday - returned from a detailed survey of the savannah-themed borders, and tells me that the 'phants are thriving. Of course, silly me, I told him that they wouldn't get on _at all_ with the wildebeest herds - but he was right: they don't seem to mind them at all.   

       His (that is to say, the H of NWG's) father always used to say "a garden without elephants is like a bacon sandwich without pickled onions" (although he said it with a stammer ever since the trampling - but you had to see the funny side).
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2017


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