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Bowlingual...a Ruff Translator

Boot Camp feature for Friday, August 15, 2003

An electronic canine translator. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It is called the Bowlingual... an electronic device that Japanese manufacturer Takara claims... can let dog owners know what their pets are trying to say to them. The system consists of a device with a transmitter worn on the dogs collar... .and a handheld walkie talkie type receiver... with an LCD display. That's where you see the translations. Takara's Ken Gitchel translated the answers about the device from one of the inventors... Masahiko Kajita. What can it really do?

It can't answer questions like... are you hungry... or it won't say specifically... I am hungry. But what it can tell is which of six distinct emotions the dog is feeling. Emotions such as frustration, happy, sad, angry. And then by learning those emotions you can really learn to understand your pet better."

The device is fun... if you don't take it too seriously. It can produce some seemingly accurate translations... like why don't you talk to me... from your pet's whine. Other responses at times seem random. Takara has sold about 300 thousand Bowlingual devices in Japan and hopes to sell a million in the United States. The price is 120 dollars. Next up... the Meowlingual for cats. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.