So to carry on my run of content on this website, I have planned to share one of my favourite articles this week. I was cautious to add it to the blog because I really didn’t wish to offend the initial author, but I trust he/she is glad that I loved reading their article and planned to share it with my readers.
Don’t check your calendar, it’s not 1 April. No More Woof is a new doggie headset that claims to translate your pooch’s inner thoughts into English, and you can order one for about £40 today.
I can understand your scepticism — it’s something directly out of a Pixar movie — but however barking mad the idea, it’s a genuine prototype product, developed by reputable scientists in Scandinavia, who are asking for your money on crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
They stress it’s a work in progress — and I’m not going to recommend you do pay your own money for it — but from their demo video it looks genuine.
No More Woof straps an electro-encephalograph (EEG) reader to your canine buddy’s noggin, and a tiny Raspberry Pi computer translates the electric activity in its little squirrel-obsessed brain into English, with Mandarin, French and Spanish coming soon.
“The technology used in No More Woof is the result of combining the latest technologies in three different tech-areas, EEG-sensoring, micro computing and special brain-computer interface software,” the project’s website says.
It can recognise states of thought, such as hunger, and then play a phrase such as, “I’m hungry!” Its developers are working on different ‘characters’ with different phrases, such as posh Holly (“This is splendid!”) and Pudge, who seems to be wracked with existential angst (“I’m so very weary”).
It’s developed by the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery, a group of hipsterish Scandie boffins who’ve tested the device on their own pets. They stress you’ll be buying a prototype, not a finished product, and your money will be used to develop it further.
“Right now we are only scraping the surface of possibilities; the project is only in its cradle,” they say. “And to be completely honest, the first version will be quite rudimentary. But hey, the first computer was pretty crappy too.”
They’re certainly ambitious. “A similar device can be hooked up on humans translating our thoughts into dog,” they reckon, “or other animal tongue like, oh sweet thought, a dolphin!”
$65 (£40) buys the most basic NMW Micro unit with one sensor, which will be able to “distinguish 2-3 thought patterns, most likely Tiredness, Hunger and Curiosity”.
$300 (£185) buys another sensor, and more thought patterns, while $1,200 (£735) buys a fully customised unit in whatever colour you want, and an experimental learning mode that should be able to produce more complex phrases over time. All are very limited edition, with only 50 Micros on offer, and a modest funding goal of $10,000.
Would you buy this for your furry friend if it became a proper retail product? Will you back the project? Or is this the most elaborate prank ever staged?
Here’s more on earphone (pen.io) visit the web site.