Monday, January 13, 2014

Doggone Cool! A Translator For Dogs!

I ran across this interesting story after my furkid Sophie, without my permission, took to the Intertoobs yesterday.

The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery is in the development stage of a rudimentary wearable device called No More Woof.  The device’s EEG headset supposedly reads dogs’ brainwaves; then a tiny Raspberry Pi computer translates the thoughts into human language and a built-in speaker utters the words.

The developers warn that No More Woof is a work in progress. The version shipping in April translates just four thought patterns, but they are primal sentiments universal to all dogs: “I’m hungry,” “I’m tired,” “Who are you?” and “Boy, I’m glad I can think deeper thoughts than Joe Biden!”

The Nordic Society used $10,000 of crowd funded money to develop the device and is taking donations through February 14, 2014.  Their site says, “As we see it, by pre-ordering your own set of NO MORE WOOF, you are not only buying the first edition of a cool product (that might not be perfect) but more importantly, you are showing your support for further research into finally breaking the language barrier between animals and humans. Join the movement!”

Skeptical?  Of course you are.  Colin Lecher at Popular Science makes the claim that the translator is bogus saying, “if it worked, and probably if it even showed legitimate promise, this is the kind of technology companies and the government would be offering money hand-over-fist to fund.”  No doubt such a device is many years and gazillions of dead presidents in the future.

Imagine though that it does work—we could expect to hear our four-footed companions utter such things as:
“Yeah, I’m afraid of thunder—but at least I’m not afraid to wash myself after an airing of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho on TV!” 
“Master, you say one of your co-workers is a brown-noser. I’m not sure why that’s an insult…” 
“You see muddy paw prints. I see me getting in on the ground floor of biometrics and avoiding identity theft. 
“I assure you my interest in the ladies is on a purely intellectual level. Now, for the luvva Marmaduke put down those surgical instruments!”
If this thing takes off then surely we could see other versions like No More Meow.  Mr. Flailtail might be saying to you, “This meow means I’m going out, in, out…” or “This meow means I’m hatching a Machiavellian plan for world domination.  ZZZZZZZ.”

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