May 10, 2002 7:35 AM PDT
Gadget converts woofs into words
The company on Thursday unveiled a gadget called Bowlingual, which scrutinizes and translates a dog's barks into expressions such as "I've had enough" or "I'm a little bored, let's play."
The gizmo was tested on a dog at the Tokyo Toy Show, an annual event featuring electronic games, collectibles and dolls from all over the world. The four-day event ends Sunday.
Bowlingual consists of a wireless microphone, which is attached to a dog's collar, and a terminal that analyzes and matches each "woof" with a set of preprogrammed phrases.
According to Takara, the device detects feelings--including happiness, frustration and sadness--and displays the associated expressions on the terminal's screen. Bowlingual can also be used to record a dog's mood throughout the day when owners are away from home.
A prototype of the device was unveiled last August with the intention of helping dog owners better comprehend their pets.
Bowlingual has a recommended retail price of $100 (12,800 yen). The company could not confirm commercial availability.
It's not known whether Takara is adapting the device to be used with cats.
CNETAsia's Irene Tham reported from Singapore.