Illustration for article titled A Kickstarter project to build bonobos their own horrifying ape robots

The folks at the Bonobo Great Ape Trust Sanctuary of Des Moines, Iowa have a noble goal — to build their bonobos a teleoperated RoboBonobo so that the apes can interact with their environment using a mechanical avatar.

In practice, this means strapping a grinning monkey head to a droid, equipping it with a water gun, and allowing the horror to unfold while strains of the Benny Hill theme toodle softly in the distance.


We jest, we jest! Bonobos can utilize a vocabulary of approximately 400 words, and the Bonobo Chat and RoboBonobo projects would offer the apes an opportunity to expand their interactions using the internet and other computer technology.

The team seeks to raise $20,000 to build this undying ape-machine army to make human-ape communication history. Here's their pitch:

We would like the bonobos to use the Bonobo Chat app to control their environment using simple lexigram commands - to operate vending machines, open doors, watch movies and, hopefully, to control robots. We believe that controlling robots might be a good way for the bonobos to interact with guests and visitors outside their caged areas. They could play chase games or squirt guests with an onboard water gun.

[RoboBonobo via IEEE Spectrum]

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