No More Woof! Amazon Pet Communication Device in the Works
Could you imagine talking to your fur-baby? Petting his or her’s soft, luscious coat while asking, “Who’s mommy’s good dog?” You would normally expect a quick woof or lick to the face, but your dog replies, “Me, me, me, I’m a good dog!” Pet communication might be something you never thought would happen. Amazon recently revealed that turning woofs and meows into words may soon become more of a reality than a fantasy with a pet communication device.
Amazon and co-author/futurologist William Higham of Next Big Thing, believes that pet communication devices could be on the market in less than a decade. A professor at Northern Arizona University spent 30 years studying the behavior of prairie dogs, the north American rodent, and discovered they had a sophisticated communication system and use their own ‘words’ for different species of predators, colors of human clothes, or the coat of coyotes or dogs.
Advances in machine learning have led to an increase in automatic speech recognition and translation. Now convinced that other animals use decipherable language, he begins his effort in raising money to create a cat and dog translation device so we can our pets will finally know who the good boy or girl really is.
Juliane Kaminski, psychologist and Portsmouth University, is less optimistic about the approach, as she believes a dogs woof is not a language. Instead, a dog would use rudimentary signals, a right-sided tail wag may be construed as a positive signal to others, while a left wag is not so positive. She does believe, however, that a translation device could help people who lack intuition or misinterpret signals by interpreting the animals behavior and possibly saving someone from approaching a dog or cat that could bite.
Related: 6 Bizarre Ways Our Dogs Talk to Us
Amazon currently sells a device that transfers a human voice into meows by using samples from 25 cats. A dog translation device called No More Woof was recently put “on pause” when the research lab realized the scale of the challenge. The gadget resembles a Madonna-style headset that measured brain activity according to the dogs thoughts, which were communicated through the speaker on their collar. The project lacked a full understanding and required more research. Tomas Mazetti, who was also involved in the project described it as “extremely limited.”
More by Cynthia Haldeman