Monday, January 31, 2005

Wackiest of What's New

We see so many interesting, useful and creative gadgets that sometimes it's refreshing to see something that's just complete bunk. We were blessed with the arrival of two such products this year from Japanese toymaker Takara, both variations on a theme--the Bow-Lingual, which promises to translate your dog's woofs into words, and the Meow-Lingual, which does the same for cats. True breakthroughs in these areas would have been a worldwide sensation, of course, sparking furious debate and ushering in a new speaking class of domestic animals. These products did no such thing. Indeed, Sophia Yin, a canine vocal communication researcher who tested the Bow-Lingual by feeding it recorded barks, found that it translated the same set of woofs differently at different times. Alan Beck, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, also dismissed the device as a "silly toy," pointing out that dogs communicate more through body language than vocalization. He also noted that cats are even more complex and rely heavily on olfactory signals. Authenticity notwithstanding, 300,000 Bow-Linguals have been sold in Japan, at approximately $120 apiece. Those who'd like to waste even more money on dubious translators will also want to check out last year's WhyCry baby interpreter.

I new someday that a product like this would come and hopefully work. If it does not, than I feel sorry for all those people wasting hard earned money on a toy. on the other hand if it was proven to translate dog and cat sounds, then I'll be quick to buy, I'd like to know what my dog is saying when he gets yelled at.


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