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News From The Future: Dolphins Soldiers

…the Navy sent some real marine mammals into action off the Pacific. Four bottle-nosed dolphins trained to find underwater mines demonstrated their abilities during Operation Trident Fury, a joint U.S.-Canadian military exercise held earlier this month off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia. The dolphins are part of the Navy’s little-known Marine Mammal Program, which has trained sea lions, dolphins, and, yes, seals to find mines and enemy divers and was used successfully during the Iraq War.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. johngineer says:

    “So long and thanks for all the advanced tactical training.”

  2. johngineer says:

    “So long and thanks for all the advanced tactical training.”

  3. johngineer says:

    “So long and thanks for all the advanced tactical training.”

  4. johngineer says:

    “So long and thanks for all the advanced tactical training.”

  5. johngineer says:

    “So long and thanks for all the advanced tactical training.”

  6. johngineer says:

    “So long and thanks for all the advanced tactical training.”

  7. Very Smart Animals…

  8. Very Smart Animals…

  9. Robert K says:

    Hope it is not the same as with Russia withe their Anti-tank Dogs.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tank_dog but a camera on a a dolphin is a good thing.

  10. Robert K says:

    Hope it is not the same as with Russia withe their Anti-tank Dogs.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tank_dog but a camera on a a dolphin is a good thing.

  11. Robert K says:

    Hope it is not the same as with Russia withe their Anti-tank Dogs.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tank_dog but a camera on a a dolphin is a good thing.

  12. AndrewS says:

    “News from the future”

    make that

    “News from the past”

    1. Addidis says:

      Yeah this one has been being done for a long time. Still interesting.

    2. Addidis says:

      Yeah this one has been being done for a long time. Still interesting.

    3. Anonymous says:

      i think technology wielding soldier dolphins still count as “news from the future” – i suppose i could add some further comment, eventually the dolphins will conscientiously object.

  13. AndrewS says:

    “News from the future”

    make that

    “News from the past”

  14. Anonymous says:

    Is George C Scott training them?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069946/

  15. Todd Phillips says:

    “Planet of the Dolphins”

  16. hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, check it out

  17. hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, check it out

  18. As a robotics geek, I would regard it as an intellectual challenge as well as an ethical imperative to develop an ROV that could perform this type of mission without the captivity and endangerment of intelligent animals, never mind the cost of upkeep and training.  

    1. They use dolphins rather than an ROV because a lot of mines are magnetic and are set off by the slightest amount of metal or change in electromagnetic field. 

      Back in 97′ there was a military exercise in my home town with the dolphins. They let the public come and see them in the holding pools. They seemed to be well cared for.

    2. Anonymous says:

      i agree, this is a good x-prize / darpa challenge.

    3. Anonymous says:

      i agree, this is a good x-prize / darpa challenge.

    4. Anonymous says:

      i agree, this is a good x-prize / darpa challenge.

    5. Anonymous says:

      i agree, this is a good x-prize / darpa challenge.

  19. As a robotics geek, I would regard it as an intellectual challenge as well as an ethical imperative to develop an ROV that could perform this type of mission without the captivity and endangerment of intelligent animals, never mind the cost of upkeep and training.  

  20. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful.  Are there no depths to which the US armed forces will not stoop?  The country should be ashamed of itself for allowing intelligent animals to be exploited in this way.

    1. Anonymous says:

      if one dolphin saved thousands of human lives would it be worth it?

      1. migpics says:

        Life is life and to begin equating one life for thousands is a mistake in itself.
        A loss of any life will be tragic no matter how you justify it.

    2. migpics says:

      I remember seeing this quite a while back but it’s new news to me that Canada is working in partnership with the US.
      I don’t feel this is exploitation of animals as you’ve put it though.  If you assume that, where do you draw the line?  Do you say a dog that provides assistance and puts it’s life in danger when helping it’s handler cross the road is exploitation?  So many other sports such as horse racing or dog shows can be considered exploitation as well.
      As long as the animals are well cared for and the handlers do their best to provide a high quality of life for the animals, I think it’s great that these animals can help save lives.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful.  Are there no depths to which the US armed forces will not stoop?  The country should be ashamed of itself for allowing intelligent animals to be exploited in this way.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful.  Are there no depths to which the US armed forces will not stoop?  The country should be ashamed of itself for allowing intelligent animals to be exploited in this way.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful.  Are there no depths to which the US armed forces will not stoop?  The country should be ashamed of itself for allowing intelligent animals to be exploited in this way.

  24. You forgot to mention that they have experimented with using bomb-toting Dolphins as smart torpedoes in the past.

    And yes, they did blow up the Dolphin. No, they don’t respect or care a damn about a fellow sentient species. Yes, they’ll keep exploiting them until the commercial incentive to kill diminishes.

    Military Dolphin Exploitation: It was depressing news when it broke, and it’s depressing to be reminded of it… :-/

    1. Anonymous says:

      the canada – us partnership is new.

  25. No. I said put the lasers on the sharks, not the dolphins.

  26. No. I said put the lasers on the sharks, not the dolphins.

  27. No. I said put the lasers on the sharks, not the dolphins.

  28. No. I said put the lasers on the sharks, not the dolphins.

  29. No. I said put the lasers on the sharks, not the dolphins.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of CnC

  31. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of CnC

  32. I believe that even under the ‘play nice’ rules of this forum, I am allowed to question claimed alleged expertise on terrorist water mine technology so long as I refrain from personal attacks and focus on objective numerical analysis.  .  

    Using the inverse square law, it can be calculated that if a mine is sensitive enough to detonate from the proximity of a ten pound ROV at a distance of twenty feet, it will detonate from the promixity of a five thousand ton ship (which is small by US Navy standards) at four miles.  That separation is sufficient to protect the ship from any explosive device short of Castle Bravo.  

    Hence, I challenge the assertion that ROVs would be relatively ineffective compared to dolphins in locating underwater explosive mines.  
     

    1. Can’t tell if trolling… or just really misled.

      If I hold a huge piece of metal, or a small piece of metal near a magnet.. It’s the strength of the magnet, not the size of the material being stuck to. A small ROV or a massive warship, it doesn’t matter, if it gets close enough, KABOOM. I didn’t read the article, but I doubt the dolphins are being blown to bits in this case.. I think they’re used similar to bomb-sniffing dogs, to find the location of the device and alert the handler that its there.

    2. Can’t tell if trolling… or just really misled.

      If I hold a huge piece of metal, or a small piece of metal near a magnet.. It’s the strength of the magnet, not the size of the material being stuck to. A small ROV or a massive warship, it doesn’t matter, if it gets close enough, KABOOM. I didn’t read the article, but I doubt the dolphins are being blown to bits in this case.. I think they’re used similar to bomb-sniffing dogs, to find the location of the device and alert the handler that its there.

  33. I believe that even under the ‘play nice’ rules of this forum, I am allowed to question claimed alleged expertise on terrorist water mine technology so long as I refrain from personal attacks and focus on objective numerical analysis.  .  

    Using the inverse square law, it can be calculated that if a mine is sensitive enough to detonate from the proximity of a ten pound ROV at a distance of twenty feet, it will detonate from the promixity of a five thousand ton ship (which is small by US Navy standards) at four miles.  That separation is sufficient to protect the ship from any explosive device short of Castle Bravo.  

    Hence, I challenge the assertion that ROVs would be relatively ineffective compared to dolphins in locating underwater explosive mines.  
     

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