Engaging Apes
Chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gorillas and other apes are highly intelligent animals that require cognitive stimulation and enrichment to thrive in captivity.  A key element to their happiness is being able to choose preferred foods, activities, objects or companions and to be able to communicate these needs, choices, likes and dislikes to their human caregivers.  This app is designed to aid in that vital communication process by presenting choices to apes in the form of pictures, audio, and video.

Lexigram Slider
Learn how bonobos at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative in Des Moines use symbolic icons called lexigrams to communicate about objects, actions and ideas with caretakers, researchers and visitors. The apes use this app to practice their communication skills. Now you too can learn how to communicate with lexigrams and talk to a bonobo.

The Lexigram Keyboard allows bonobos at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative to communicate electronically with their human caretakers and visitors. Kanzi is the most famous of the six bonobos at the sanctuary. He uses his keyboard to compose sentences from a set of over 500 lexigram symbols representing words and ideas.

About the author:

Dr. Ken Schweller is emeritus professor of Computer Science and Psychology at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He is currently head programmer at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative in Des Moines, Iowa where he develops computer programs and mobile apps to provide the bonobo residents with cognitive stimulation and enrichment opportunities.

Please contact Dr. Schweller at schweller@bvu.edu with any questions or comments you may have regarding the operation or design of the apps. Thank you!