Bowlingual dog-emotion translator is back

The gadget can supposedly recognize and convey 6 basic emotions from a dog's bark.

The Bowlingual, a gadget that analyzes a dog's bark to detect its emotion, is being relaunched.

First put on sale in 2002, a new version from toy-maker Takara Tomy is due to be launched in Japan in August and was on show Thursday at the Tokyo Toy Fair.

The Bowlingual was developed in collaboration with an audio researcher and analyzes the acoustics of a dog's bark. It is said to be able to recognize and convey six basic emotions.

It consists of two parts: An microphone worn around the dog's neck and a handheld unit that receives data from the microphone, determines the emotion and then displays a corresponding phrase on the screen for the owner.

The new version has a smaller handheld unit and packs a built in speech synthesizer so it will audibly tell you what you dog is supposedly trying to communicate, in addition to displaying it on the screen.

When it went on sale in 2002 the company sold more than 300,000 in Japan, a country where many owners will often spare no expense in making sure their pets are happy.

The Bowlingual will cost just under 20,000 yen (US$213), and will initially be available in Japan only. There's no word on when it might be available outside Japan.

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