Pet Translator: Scientist Developing Device To Convert Dog Barks Into English Language

Instrument that could convert dogs bark into human language

That may soon change though. While there are times when the pets actually understand what the owner is trying to say, you can't really understand the exact message your dog or cat wants to convey to you when they bark or meow.

Slobodchikoff is trying to use artificial intelligence to crack the complexity of the barks, howls, and growls of dog show that their language could be easily understood by the dog owners. Slobodchikoff has spent the last 30 years studying the behavior and language of wild animals, more specifically prairie dogs. This may also require humans in interpreting the barks, tail wags and other body gestures of the dogs.

However, based on his study, Slobodchikoff and his colleagues have developed an algorithm that turns prairie dogs' vocalizations into English. Slobodchikoff and his team are doing a tremendous job and if they carry on their intense research in decoding the animal signals and expressions and converting them to human language, then within 10 years we can surely see pet translators coming to the market.

In 2013, Slobodchikoff, who is now Professor Emeritus at Northern Arizona University, had published "Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals", a study on the unique language characteristics of animals. The device is based on more than 30 years of research in animal communication. In his work, he claims animals and humans will be able to communicate effectively in just ten years' time. Slobodchikoff is so Gung-ho about this project that they've chose to open up a company called Zoolingua which, in theory, should supply customers with the necessary apps to translate bark sounds to English.

As per the researchers, the dogs make high pitch calls when they face any incoming threats. They also concluded that the calls differ as per size and type of predator. The North American rodent species combine their calls in a number of ways to communicate, with some of the combinations supposedly capable of recognising the colour of a nearby human's clothing.

Slobodchikoff went as far as saying that prairie dogs can communicate among them physical traits observed in humans, such as the colors of the clothes they're wearing.

Slobodchikoff and his team are sifting through thousands of videos of dogs to analyze their various barks and body movements.

Once enough data is collected, the video clips will help them teach an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm about the methods the animals use to communicate. "You could use that information and instead of backing the dog into a corner, give the dog more space", Slobodchikoff said.

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