wireless vocal microphone Gadget's bark is bigger than its hype / Vet puts 'bark translator' to the test. Verdict: nothing more than $120 curiosity
After months of hype, Bowlingual, a gadget that claims to translate dogs into English, finally went public.Made by Japanese toy company Takara, the device registers a dog's barking sound and then classifies the dog's mood as happy, sad, alert, confident, depressed or poor.There are 178 lovely English for every emotionTranslation of sentences.This device includes a beautiful wireless microphone connected to your dog collar and a handheld device that shows bark translation.The beautiful design and the fact of translating 74 varieties of barking make it seem that any owner who really loves him must do so.But before you rush to buy this toy, which is allegedly backed by solid science, worth $120, please read on.The product has appeared on television and many newspapers and magazines, and has even been rated one of the coolest inventions by Time magazine (November ).18, 2002).Unfortunately, most journalistsIn addition to the Wall Street Journal's Walter MosbergHaven't tested it completely yet.They will find it doesn't work if they do.As a researcher in the field of vocal communication in dogs, I am eager to test this so called translation.My first step is to take the pre-recorded barking groups collected in my early studies and play the same over and over again to see if bowench can do the sameI started with my Australian bull dog Zoe and the initial result was fair.When I played her harassing barking 10 times in a row (those were in response to the doorbell), Paulucci translated her mood into 80% frustration.When I played 10 more times, the precision dropped to 65%.However, when the invention does not say that she is depressed, it describes her as happy, confident, or sad.Next, I repeated the process with the isolated barking recorded when Zoe was locked outside and wanted to come in, and a play barking she recorded while playing with another dog.This time, the result seems to be better because 100% of the time is the same.The problem is that Zoe has been frustrated according to the translation.She was upset when she reminded me of the intruder at the door, and when she sat outside politely waiting for someone to let her in, she was upset when she played with another dogIn all three cases, dogs may be frustrated, but scientists determine the meaning of the sound by observing the background of the barking dog, the body posture, and the response of animals or humans to hear the barking.In this case, all three factors indicate that the mood translation is wrong.To make matters worse, every emotion is accompanied by a useless expression of English, like "I have an interesting feeling", "I want to help" and "You just don't" it doesn't make any sense in a given situation.Translation gets worse when I test the device on real-live dogs.I tested it on the home Independence feature, which records up to 100 barking for up to 12 hours each time.I also manually do sequential measurements in the same context.When Zoe performs crazy every dayThe eye race greeted UPS at the door and her barking was translated as "I did a good job, right ?"?" (happy);"I like to be by your side" (someone who needs help );"Why don't you talk to me?" (sad);among others.I'm sure if UPS's deliveryman Todd gets a list of what he thinks she's saying, the phrases won't be on the list.The more appropriate translation should be "red alert!"Leave my property" or "I'm kicking your Delhi Thunder !"!"I have never seen any of these translations in boranci.I also tested Bowlingual on several other dogs in the same way with the same scattered results, which made me think of another problem.Say your dog barks at you near the table because he wants you to entertain him.If Bowlingual translates to "please be good to me" (frustrated) and "You can't beat me" (vigilant), will it make any difference if you treat him?Or, if your dog barks at the table every day until you feed him some leftovers, why do you need a translator to know what he wants?My final ruling?If you get Bowlingual for free, it's fun to play for a while, but it's not very useful because the translation is not trustworthy and most translations don't make sense either.The toy has a strong scientific support from respected researchers in the market, but somehow, despite the honor they received, they made a matte.