Hungarians unleash dog bark translator
'Oi, Dolittle, throw me a stick'
Hungarian scientists are apparently working on computer software which analyses dog barks and potentially offers people the chance to "better recognise" their mutts' emotions, Reuters reports.
Csaba Molnar and colleagues at Budapest's ELTE University have tested the software on 14 dogs of the Hungarian Mudi herding breed in six situations: when the dog is alone, when it sees a ball, fights, plays, encounters a stranger, or goes for a walk.
The computer "correctly recognised the emotional reaction of the dogs based on their barks and yelps in 43 per cent of the cases", which would be moderately impressive were it not for the fact that mere people had "judged correctly in 40 per cent of cases".
Although the scientists conceded the software "could be improved", Molnar offered: "A possible commercial application could be a device for dog-human communication." ®
The Japanese back in 2002 unleashed the world's first commerical canine translator - the "Bowlingual". Whether it actually worked or not we can't say.
@ Karl Lattimer
I can't find any articles about this that don't source the Daily Mail, however, by the sounds of it the researchers recorded the responses of the dogs in different situations, then created a programme that, 43% of the time, would correctly give the answer, eg, "the dog that barked just then, he'd just seen a ball", and the human could guess what situation the dog was in 40% of the time.
So, they could easily verify the results the software was giving them, either the dog had just seen a ball, or it hadn't.
I forgot to mention that the sound of the door barking woof can be a bit different according to size.
A big dog would woof in the way I described, whereas a smaller dog might bark;
"Waur waur waurrgh? Waur waur waurgh!"
Means the same thing though.
Throw me a frickin' bone here
- from Dr Evil, Austin Powers.
Anyway, why would I need a dog translator?
If somebody knocks at the door, dogs always make the same barking noise;
'Boo woo woo? Woo woo woof!'
If they are begging for something, it is easy to tell because of the way they jump up onto their hind legs and whine;
If they want to play, they make as if to run away or they attack your feet and bark at you and wag their tails;