Do you remember the Bowlingual, the portable dog language translator that was released in Japan last year? The basic concept behind the $250 device (which people living outside Japan can get here) will soon be used for an iPhone app that translates what a dog “says” into human language and emoticons in real-time.
Japanese toy giant Takara Tomy markets the device as a gag product but also stresses its scientific component (it was jointly developed with an acoustics research laboratory and a veterinarian), meaning we’re in for a treat with the iPhone app that’s scheduled for release this summer [JP]. The developer, Tokyo-based Index, a (listed) mobile contents provider, will release a Japanese version fist, followed by the English app in mid-August.
The way it works is that you need to let your dog bark into the iPhone mic first. The app then uses a special algorithm to analyze what your dog wants from you and displays it on the iPhone screen. On the picture above (left half), for example, the dog says “Let’s play together”.
What the Bowlingual device doesn’t offer is the “social networking feature” of the iPhone app. Press the bone-shaped button below your dog’s statement to post it to Twitter (see the Twitter conversation thread shown on the right half on the screenshot above), along with a profile picture of your dog. You can also add a comment before you tweet your dog’s message out, a feature that’s supposed to encourage dog owners to connect and communicate with each other on Twitter.
The Bowlingual gadget has been sold over 300,000 times in Japan so far and won the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.