Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Technology

Dog Collar Claims to "Translate" Dog Barks; Experts Are Dubious

DiscoblogBy Allison BondAugust 7, 2009 1:42 AM
barkdogweb.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

In the recent Pixar movie Up, a group of dogs wear collars that translates their barks into humans words. Such a device is no longer just the stuff of animation: One is about to be, er, unleashed by a Japanese company that claims its collar can give humans a glimpse into Fido's emotions. But although the device would certainly be useful—wouldn't it be helpful to know how your pup is feeling?—most experts are skeptical about whether the collar, called Bowlingual Voice, actually works. ABC reports:

The device includes a microphone worn around a dog's neck and a separate digital reader that — the company says — translates barks into one of six emotional states: happy, sad, frustrated, threatening, needy or assertive.... [The developers] provided "research and development and consulting as well as aiding speech, acoustics and radio waves" for the Bowlingual Voice's creation.... "It's a cute idea," said [organismic and evolutionary biologist] Kathryn Lord... "But it's hard to see the world or feel the world like [dogs] do. When we say a dog feels something, it's probably not exactly that."

A consensus of experts agrees that while many humans have long yearned for the ability to communicate with animals, the concept is a myth that is both "crude" and "simplistic." Still, that likely won't keep pet-lovers from trying... Related Content: Discoblog: Looking to Immortalize Your Pet? Now You Can Turn Muffy’s DNA Into a Diamond Discoblog: Weird Science Roundup: The Pet Survival Edition (Plus a Rap about Isotopes) Discoblog: Animal Fun Looks a Lot Like Human Fun: Games of Catch and Spa Visits

Image: flickr / TheGiantVermin

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In