The robot dolphin is here. A California engineering company created a robot version of the aquatic animal. One day robots may replace their living counterparts at theme parks.
Edge Innovations is the creator of the between $3-5 million robots. The engineering company combined animatronics and special effects to create the animals. Previously, the company made creatures used in films like Free Willy, Deep Blue Sea and Anaconda. Now, they’ve turned their attention to theme parks.
The Company Wants to Use Their Robot Dolphin at Theme Parks
The company believes animatronics may capture audiences apposed to animal captivity. For instance, around 20 European countries have banned or limited wild animals at circuses and carnivals. The company hopes their invention can help these animals currently held in captivity. One day, they hope swimmers can interact with robotic great white sharks and other creatures. Maybe even dinosaurs.
“There are like 3,000 dolphins currently in captivity being used to generate several billions of dollars just for dolphin experiences. So there’s obviously an appetite to love and learn about dolphins,” Edge Innovations founder and CEO Walt Conti told Reuters. “And so we want to use that appetite. And offer kind of different ways to fall in love with the dolphin.”
Their current robotic dolphin weighs 550 pounds and stand eight and half feet tall. The company made the dolphin from medical-grade silicone. The company has partnered with TeachKind, a branch of PETA, to introduce their products to schools.
“The idea of this pilot is really to create a kind of Sesame Street under water,” said Roger Holzberg. Holzberg is the creative director for Edge’s animatronic program. “Those characters taught a generation how to feel about different kinds of aspects of humankind in ways that had never been imagined before. And that’s what we dream of with this project.”