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Japanese toy company claims its new product can translate dogs' thoughts into human speech

August 10, 2009 |  2:40 pm

Bowlingual VoiceTo hear a Japanese toy company tell it, those remarkable collars worn by the animated dogs of Pixar's "Up," which translate their thoughts into human speech, aren't all that far-fetched.

The company, Takara Tomy, recently unveiled the "Bowlingual Voice" translator, which it claims can distinguish between six distinct dog emotions: sadness, joy, alertness to danger, neediness, happiness and frustration.  The device then translates those emotions into human phrases, such as "I feel sad" and "Play with me."

For the equivalent of about $215, Japanese consumers can purchase Bowlingual Voice, which includes both a microphone that attaches to the dog's collar and a wireless receiver to be carried by its owner. The receiver contains both a speaker, through which the dog's "thoughts" are broadcast, and a screen onto which they appear in written form.

According to the Daily Mail, a similar product was launched in Japan seven years ago, but the original product didn't include sound. 

Bowlingual Voice is set to hit shelves in Japan later this month, but there are no plans as of yet to release an English-language version. No matter -- if we know our dogs (and we think we do), their internal monologue consists mainly of "Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon there! From that bag; what's it say? I can't read!  Please, please give me what's in the bag! Chewy, yummy, smoky bacon!"

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Bowlingual Voice is demonstrated during last month's International Tokyo Toy Show. Credit: Junko Kimura / Getty Images

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