Dug from "Up" may be closer to reality than you think. The animated dog's translation collar is pretty close to what the No More Woof project is trying to achieve. The brainwave-reading dog-wearable gadget is powered by Raspberry Pi. Sensors detect EEG brainwave patterns, which are then translated into the human-speech equivalents and made audible through a speaker.
The device isn't as sophisticated as Dug's. The detectable neural patterns are limited to the basics like, "I'm hungry," "I'm tired," and "Who are you?" The project is currently raising funds on Indiegogo.
Creator NSID (Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery) is very up front about No More Woof being a work in progress. The funds raised through Indiegogo will go into further development on the device, with the aim of delivering effective production models to customers.
A budget $65 version comes with only one sensor and the ability to determine two or three different thought patterns. A $300 pledge puts you in line for a two-sensor version of the gadget that can distinguish at least four different thought patterns.
The device only speaks English at this point, but Mandarin, French, and Spanish are on the horizon. NSID is also working toward offering different voice personalities, so your greyhound can speak like an emo teen or your bulldog can talk like a grumpy Englishman.
You might wonder if such a device is really necessary. After all, you can pretty much tell when your dog is begging for food, when its eyes are drooping, and when it's curious about something ("Squirrel!"). No More Woof may state the obvious, but it's about the novelty of the project and about pioneering more in-depth communication between pups and people. Admit it, you really wanted to adopt Dug the moment he first spoke, didn't you?