New Collar Claims to "Translate" BarksPublished September 25, 2009
Have you ever met people who claim they can communicate with their dogs and have no problem understanding what they are "barking"? I often wonder if this is pure fantasy. Is it possible that they are just imagining a conversation in "words" or if they are somehow connecting telepathically with their pooch? Accompanying this breaking news with a flourish of a drum roll, here is some exciting information for all you dog lovers. Apparently there is an innovative "scientifically" designed device about be released on the market so there will be no more "wondering" what your dog is trying to tell you. Just think! A "real" conversation may actually become a reality! What an exciting concept! But it may be awhile before it is available for sale in the United States. A Japanese toy company, TakaraTomy will soon be marketing the "Bowlingual" Voice dog collar. It includes a microphone worn around the dog's neck and a digital reader which the company claims to "translate barks into one of the six emotional states: happy, sad, frustrated, threatening, needy or assertive". This said . . . photo credit: Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno, AFP Aceves, a 30 year-old resident of San Diego, Ca, and devoted dog owner is not "sold" on the concept. She highly doubts that it will work. She said, "Since I have personally trained [my dogs] according to the different sounds that they make, I don't know that I would really trust the collar's telling me what they want. I don't feel like all dogs do the exact same bark." There are canine experts that say dog barks cannot even be translated into human concept or words. Kathryn Lord, a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, majoring in organismic and evolutionary biology added, "But it's hard to see the world or feel the world like they do. When we say a dog feels something, it's probably not exactly that". However, the Japan Acoustics Laboratory provided the "research and development and consulting as well as aiding speech, acoustics and radio waves", for the creation of the canine conversation-converter's Bowlingual Voice's mechanism, according to a press release. The manufacturer claims that this device provides spoken translations of the barks of up to five dogs at a time. The company also includes in addition to the translation function of the collar, basic instructions for owners, a schedule planner, a guide to understanding canine body language and a quiz for the owner to test his dog knowledge. At this time the Bowlingual Voice is not for sale west of Tokyo. The list price of the item is 19,950 yen - which converts to approximately $220 U.S. The scientific community's involvement in this product however still has not convinced the skeptics that this "ingeniously designed" collar will work. Melissa Reinckens, 30, a New York City attorney thinks it would be really "cool" to communicate with her dogs more intelligently. However she thinks the TakaraTomy claims are rather far-fetched. Her comment, "I don't doubt that there are a range of emotions, but a mood ring? Come on," kind of says it all. Would you consider yourself to potentially be in the market for a "translating collar device" in order to better understand your dog's moods? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.