High tech cognitive and acoustic enrichment for captive elephants

French, Fiona; Mancini, Clara and Sharp, Helen (2018). High tech cognitive and acoustic enrichment for captive elephants. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 300 pp. 173–183.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.09.009


This paper investigates the potential for using technology to support the development of sensory and cognitive enrichment activities for captive elephants. It explores the usefulness of applying conceptual frameworks from interaction design and game design to the problem of developing species-specific smart toys that promote natural behaviours and provide stimulation. We adopted a Research through Design approach, and describe how scientific inquiry supported our design process, while the creation of artefacts guided our investigations into possible future solutions. Our fieldwork resulted in the development of an interactive prototype of an acoustic toy that elephants are able to control using interface elements constructed from a range of natural materials.

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