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Science gives canines the power of speech

By Tatarigami in News
Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 02:38:32 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

This New Scientist article describes a combination of collar and palm-top console which may be able to let your dog tell you how he's feeling.


Continuing the trend of pet-enabling technology which earlier had MIT scientists proposing web-browsers for lonely parrots, how about a doggy babelfish?

The "Bow-lingual" was developed by Japanese toy company Takara Co ltd, based on the premise that a dog's feelings measurably affect qualities of its barks, growls, whines, etc. These differences are undetectable by the human ear, but can be picked up by microphones on the collar and analysed by the console.

Takara claims the device can give a dog a vocabulary of about 200 words relating to six different moods, and will assemble them into sentences to communicate what the dog is feeling. There's even a diary option which would periodically assess the wearer's state of mind during the day and record it for the owner to review upon reaching home. Currently in development is a function to allow dedicated dog owners to receive doggy updates via cellphone over the course of the day.

A dog psychiatrist working out of Surrey, England has given his opinion that the device sounds workable, but pet owners shouldn't need technological assistance to recognise their canine companion's state of mind.

I guess if he's chewing on a postman, he's happy....

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Science gives canines the power of speech | 16 comments (15 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Oh boy (1.41 / 12) (#1)
by spacejack on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 08:30:45 PM EST

Can you imagine the patch files you'll be able to get on the 'net? Take sparky around the neighbourhood and watch people's reaction..


Oh, and BTW, FIRST DOGGONE POST!

Don't need it (5.00 / 13) (#3)
by Wondertoad on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 10:54:03 PM EST

Here's what it would say if it was attached to my dog:

"Let's play ball. Is it time to play ball? Did you just look at the door where my ball is kept? Let's play ball! Did you just say the word ball? Or a word that sounds like ball? If I stand in front of the door where my ball is kept, will you remember it and get it for me? It's right in there. It used to be over there, now it's in there. It's been a long time since we played ball. Let's play ball. Oh we're going to play ball! Oboy! Oboyoboyoboyoboy! Run run run run run run run run run thank you! I'm tired, I'm going to nap now so I can dream about playing ball and wake up soon so that we can play ball again."


Wrong (4.72 / 11) (#4)
by John Milton on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 11:02:22 PM EST

That's not a dog. That's a highschool football star.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
Damn boy (4.00 / 5) (#6)
by Aphexian on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 11:36:57 PM EST

Now that has to be the funniest thing I've read all week.

You left out the "hump any leg in sight", but I'll overlook that. :-)

[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
[ Parent ]
And here I was (none / 0) (#15)
by Wah on Fri Aug 17, 2001 at 01:54:50 PM EST

thinking and stuff. Ah well, stereotypes go both ways, I guess.
--
Information wants to be free, wouldn't you? | SSP
[ Parent ]
heh.. (3.50 / 2) (#13)
by chopper on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:02:44 AM EST

my dog milo has the short-term memory of a grape.

i can imagine going outside to take out the garbage-

'heyheyhey he's going toward the door! he's going toward the oh, he's opening the door, he's opening the oh he's leaving he's leaving'

thirty seconds later...

'heyheyhey there's somebody at the door! someone's trying to break in, i'll scare them away i'll scare them away BARK BARK BARK'

that is, if his vocabulary includes that many words at all...

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Oh no (4.33 / 6) (#5)
by finial on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 11:25:14 PM EST

What's that? Gotta pee! Gotta pee! What's that? Gotta pee! What's that? What's that? SQUIRREL! Bark bark. Gotta pee! What's that?

Turn back while there's still time (4.87 / 8) (#7)
by Tatarigami on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 11:51:48 PM EST

I'm hoping the end result won't be like this.

More evidence (4.28 / 7) (#8)
by Tatarigami on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 01:04:30 AM EST

This Washington Times article reveals further confirmation of a 'canine vocabulary' which can potentially be translated into human speech: dog laughs. Apparently, when they enjoy themselves dogs make a particular panting sound. When researchers recorded this sound and played it to a roomful of puppies, they immediately grabbed all available doggie toys and started frolicking.

There will be a rash of dogs saying... (4.25 / 4) (#9)
by Fez on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 10:28:38 AM EST


It's BACON!

This sounds kind of creepy. Though it would be nice to get a page to know your dog is feeling much better now that he's thoroughly soiled your carpet.

I wonder if they'll adapt similar technology to babies for crying.

Though there are many reasons not to (people are just being lazy, they should know better, etc) it could help in places like day care. (Or kennels in the context of dogs.)

Interesting, but wholly uneeded. (3.75 / 4) (#10)
by mrgoat on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 01:49:20 PM EST

I think the dog psychiatrist is right. I'm not a dog owner myself, (Instead I have cats, which some people claim are harder to understand) but I haven't ever met anyone who couldn't tell what their pets wanted.

I realize this is nothing but personal anecdotal evidence, but are there really people out there with dogs, who have no idea when their dog is unhappy? I sure haven't met any. Live with a pet long enough, and you know exactly what they mean when they bark, meow, chirp, (or whatever weird noise your pet makes) at you.

As for recieving updates on your dog over your cell phone: Come on. Is that really something you want to bother with? It's just a pet. People are bad enough, you really want fido paging you because he's lonely?

It all reminds me of the old Far Side cartoon, (by Gary Larson, sorry that I have no link) displaying a scientist with a device such as this, and "hearing" the translation of every dog bark on the street coming out as different variations on "HEY!"

"I'm having sex right now?" - Joh3n
--Top Hat--

Re: Interesting, but wholly uneeded (none / 0) (#16)
by tijnbraun on Fri Aug 17, 2001 at 06:44:51 PM EST

All true... but communication should go both ways (otherwise it quite useless, of course). Your note of Gary Larson reminded me of this cartoon. Well you know the saying ...a picture says more than a thousand words....

[ Parent ]
If dogs could write (e-mailed to me) (4.00 / 8) (#11)
by pyramid termite on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 03:14:19 PM EST

HOW TO WASH THE CAT

1. Thoroughly clean the toilet.

2. Add the required amount of shampoo to the toilet water, and have both
lids lifted.

3. Obtain the cat and soothe him while you carry him towards the toilet.

4. In one smooth movement, put the cat in the toilet and close both lids
(you may need to stand on the lid so that he cannot escape).

CAUTION: Do not get any part of your body too close to the edge, as his
paws will be reaching out for anything they can find. The cat will
self-agitate and make ample suds. Never mind the noises that come from
your toilet, the cat is actually enjoying this.

5. Flush the toilet three or four times. This provides a "powerwash" and
"rinse" which I have found to be quite effective.

6. Have someone open the door to the outside and ensure that there are no
people between the toilet and the outside door.

7. Stand behind the toilet as far as you can, and quickly lift both lids.

8. The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet, and run outside where
he will dry himself.

Sincerely, The Dog



On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Not for my dogs... (5.00 / 4) (#12)
by Mzilikazi on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 03:17:45 PM EST

I just had to take my mixed-breed in to have surgery (anal gland removal). So right now he's got stitches in his ass, one of those big cone collars around his neck so he can't pull out his stitches, and has to take bitter antibiotics twice a day.

Needless to say, I don't want to hear how he feels about me right at the moment. ;)

(Of course, if anyone is interested in the details of said surgery, given some recent topics on K5, I'd be more than happy to provide a story. Short version: if you ever see your dog's ass swelling up, go to the vet immediately, and discuss removal at the earliest opportunity.)

Bad Idea!! (4.50 / 2) (#14)
by nakrman on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 07:19:32 PM EST

Honestly I don't want to know what my dog's saying as he's trying to hump my leg.....

Science gives canines the power of speech | 16 comments (15 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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