A rather unexpected (for ignorant folks like me) approach to animal technology has been taken by Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas in her June 17, 2016 piece on phys.org,
Imagine leaving your dog at home while it turns on the smart TV and chooses a programme to watch. Meanwhile you visit a zoo where you play interactive touchscreen games with the apes and watch the dolphins using sonar to order their lunch. In the field behind you, a farmer is stroking his flock of chickens virtually, leaving the drones to collect sheep while the cows milk themselves. Welcome to the unusual world of animal technology.
Hirskyj-Douglas’s piece was originally published as a June 15, 2016 essay about animal-computer interaction (ACI) and some of the latest work being done in the field on The Conversation website (Note: Links have been removed),
Animals have interacted with technology for a long time, from tracking devices for conservation research to zoos with early touchscreen computers. But more recently, the field of animal-computer interaction (ACI) has begun to explore in more detail exactly how animals use technology like this. The hope is that better understanding animals’ relationship with technology will means we can use it to monitor and improve their welfare.
My own research involves building intelligent tracking devices for dogs that let them interact with media on a screen so we can study how dogs use TV and what they like to watch (if anything). Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve found that dogs like to watch videos of other dogs. This has led me to track dogs dogs’ gaze across individual and multiple screens and attempts to work out how best to make media just for dogs.
Eventually I hope to make an interactive system that allows a dog to pick what they want to watch and that evolves by learning what media they like. This isn’t to create a toy for indulgent pet owners. Dogs are often left at home alone during the day or isolated in kennels. So interactive media technology could improve the animals’ welfare by providing a stimulus and a source of entertainment. …
This 2014 video (embedded in Hirskyj-Douglas’s essay) illustrates how touchscreens are used by great apes,
It’s all quite intriguing and I encourage you to read the essay in it entirety.
If you find the great apes project interesting, you can find out more about it (I believe it’s in the Primate Research category) and others at the Atlanta Zoo’s research webpage.