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While it may seem magical that a machine can speak for dogs, the science behind BowLingual is actually quite simple.
The Bowlingual Bark Translator is based on extensive research conducted by Dr. Matsumi Suzuki into voiceprint and dog behavior analysis. Working at the Japan Acoustic Laboratory, Dr. Suzuki generated voiceprints of more than 5000 dog bark samples.
Voiceprints are digital representations of sound and every dog's bark fell into one of six basic patterns. Comparing the body language expressed at the time of a bark and the owner's observations about the dog's behavior, researchers, working in conjunction with specialists from the Kogure Animal Hospital, were able to identify the emotions (happy, sad, frustrated, on-guard, needy and assertive) associated with the six patterns.
Note: No animal was harmed in the research for or creation of BowLingual. Most of the barks were collected from dogs spontaneously. However, at times, it was necessary to create a situation in order to elicit a specific bark from a dog. In these cases the researchers worked with the owners to modify the dog behavior by tempting them with a treat, toy or dog lead, or temporarily preventing the dog from a desired activity.
This research was the basis for the Animal Emotion Analysis System (AEAS), the technology that powers BowLingual. Every time your dog barks, the device analyzes the sound. Based on your dog's behavior and this analysis, BowLingual selects one of more than 200 pre-programmed phrases. These phrases reflect the emotion expressed by your dog, but are also intended to entertain and reflect the natural playfulness characterized by most dog behavior.
Since not all dogs sounds alike — the bark of a Chihuahua is vastly different from the bark of a Great Dane — the device requires you to select a breed so that the analysis of your dog's barks is accurate. With the understanding that the dog's size and shape of the dog's muzzle influence the bark, inputting this information will allow you to communicate with any dog, even if the breed is unknown.