No, you’re not paranoid. Your dog really is talking about you behind your back. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to tell what he’s saying.
At this spring’s Tokyo Toy Show, Takara Co, Ltd. unveiled “Bowlingual” a gadget that translates a dog’s bark into expressions like “I’ve had enough” or “I’m bored. Let’s play.” That’s right, the next time you try to blame the dog for an unpleasant smell, you might have to explain yourself.
Though not intended to replace belly-rub time, Bowlingual is a fun way to communicate with your dog. The device, which consists of a wireless microphone attached to the collar, detects feelings like happiness, frustration and sadness and displays the associated expression on the collar terminal’s screen, Takara said in a statement. Bowlingual, which carries a recommended retail price of $100, could be made commercially in the next year. No word yet on if Takara is working on a meow translator.
But if you (or Spike) are the tech-savvy type and can’t wait for Bowlingual, there are more hi-tech devices to consider. Noseprint and voice tag identification systems and robotic pets are a few of the hi-tech devices that are changing the way we look at pets.
Dognose ID is the first painless, noninvasive and permanent method of recording your dog’s identity. Totally digital, Dognose ID works just like fingerprint identification and is based on the unique patterns of your dog’s nose. A dog’s nose is like a person’s fingerprint — every one is different and every one can be uniquely identified. If you take an impression of your dog’s nose and send it to Dognose ID, they will scan it and enter it into their database. You then receive a registered collar with all the important information, as well as a registration card. If anybody tries to take Fido, they’ll see he is registered.
In the event that a crook does take Fido (or Fido runs off on his own), contact Dognose ID and they’ll fax a description to every veterinarian and shelter in your area. This All Points Bulletin usually gets the dog back, says a representative at Dognose ID. The system costs about $50.
Wanna make sure your pet has your cell phone number, pertinent emergency contacts or medical information with him at all times? Check out Voicetag ($24.95). It is the only re-recordable ID tag and can be used to hold 20 seconds of voice data. Twenty seconds is a long time –sprinter Michael Johnson could run 200 meters in 20 seconds! You can include pet-sitter info, your hotel information (if you’re traveling), special medical needs and a cell phone number in 20 seconds. And if you mess up, try it again. Record it as many times as necessary to get the right information stored on the tag.
“Your dog is worth it,” said Robbie Printz, Voicetag inventor and owner. “I know how much I love my two beautiful boxers, Whiskey Pete and Mugsy, and if they were lost, a person finding them would know how to contact me immediately,” he said. “If Voicetag were to help just one dog be returned safely to his family I would be very happy.”
Of course, if you have a robotic pet, you could just program it to come home. The most impressive is Sony’s Aibo ERS-220A ($1499). The electronic pet not only responds to its name, 75 commands, and touch, but also has a range of emotions and instincts (playful, tired, hungry, etc.). It even takes pictures on command with a built in digital camera.
For the younger set, the latest generation of Tomy’s robotic pets, “Micropets” are adorable, respond to 18 voice commands, and fit into the palm of your hand ($7.99). The Micropets even scream for food and pout when you don’t give them attention.
But remember, these electronic pet-counterparts can’t chase Frisbees, snuggle up with you on a bad day or roll in the grass on a sunny day. Technology can only do so much.
– Andy Summa
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