1 August 2003

Talk to the Paw

Japanese toy company Takara is importing their popular Bow-Lingual product, a digital device that "translates" your dog's barks into English phrases, to U.S. retailers. This gadget identifies your dark's barks, er his "woof print", as belonging to one of six different moods - happy, sad, frustrated, needy, on-guard or assertive. A random phrase will then be displayed from that mood category. Sort of like that baby translator that Uncle Herb, Homer's half brother, built in a Simpsons show episode.
The battery-powered product consists of two parts: a cordless microphone that attaches to your dog's collar, and a wireless receiver that displays the translations and other data on a tiny screen. It has a range of 30 feet, or even farther in rural and suburban settings. Along with bark translation, the Bow-Lingual handset's main screen also offers dog-owning tips, and a home-alone feature that keeps a log of your dog's barks for as many as 12 hours while you're away. Bow-Lingual comes in bright hues of blue or red, and each color device operates on a different frequency, in case you want to use it with more than one dog.

Takara insists there is real science behind this product. It is based on analysis by the Japan Acoustic Laboratory, a private research lab, of thousands of barks from over 80 breeds. The JAL grouped the barks into one of six moods according to the bark's digital voiceprint or sound wave shape: happy, sad, frustrated, needy, on-guard and assertive.

Accurate or not, it will be a good seller as Americans continue to spend more money on their pets...


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