A group of Scandinavian researchers, the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery, have raised enough money by means of the Indiegogo webpage so as to further improve their translation prototype which would be able to translate a dog’s thought processes into words. They initially sought $10,000, but they have already gained a total amount of $16,000 with more than six weeks to go before the fundraising finishes.
The prototype, called No More Woof, is based on electroencephalography (EEG) headsets which measure brain activity. A Raspberry Pi computer is then in charge of the translation into words, which will come out of a trumpet-looking speaker attached to each headset. The aim is to make the gadget available in other languages apart from English, such as Spanish, French and Mandarin, although it is currently in the early stages of development.
The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery claims to have been able to translate canine mental states, but in the Indiegogo page http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/no-more-woof they admit that the first version of the gadget will probably be rudimentary. On a brighter note, the researchers added that the first version would only be the beginning, in the same way that computers were once very basic tools as well.
So far, the group is aiming at translating simple thought processes such as “I like you” or “I’m hungry”. Some have voiced their scepticism towards the project saying that these types of feelings are already being communicated by dogs by other means beyond language, but the researchers in charge of the project have stated that this would only be a start.
The project was developed with limited funds which were mostly raised from donations. The group behind the research experience spent some time showing possible future customers that the experiments do not harm the animals used for testing. As they clarify, No More Woof is 110% animal-friendly.
The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery has already come up with other devices such as a rocking chair capable of charging an iPad, as well as a floating lamp that can be taken from one place to another. The company has a futuristic approach based on networked creativity, and it aims at inventing products, ideas and services in collaboration with engineers and product developers.