Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy has announced a new and improved version of the IgNobel-Prize-winning Bowlingual “translator” of dog-to-human communication. The device was displayed at the Tokyo Toy Fair on Thursday. (See reports from sources as diverse as Computerworld and Gizmodo.) The Gizmodo story includes aw-gee photos.
Originally launched in 2002, Bowlingual allowed an owner to see emoticons representing the dog’s emotions. The new version includes speech-to-text and a speech synthesizer so the user can read and hear — in Japanese only, at this point—what the dog is believed to be communicating. It’s scheduled to be available in Japan in August — no word on when you can pick one up at the nearest US pet supply emporium.