The headset that can read your DOG’S MIND: Gadget claims to analyse brain waves to transform inner barks into human speech
- No More Woof is a headset for dogs that lets them ‘talk’ to owners
- It uses brain-scanning technology and translates thought patterns
- The prototype includes phrases like ‘I’m hungry’ and ‘I’m tire
Dog owners often have an incredible affinity with their canine companions, but a prototype technology could soon take pet-to-human communication to the next level.
No More Woof is a headset that uses brain-scanning technology to detect a dog’s thought patterns, analyse them and translate them into the spoken word.
It has been developed by the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NCID), a small Scandinavian research lab that has previously developed concepts like the iRock (a rocking chair that charges your iPad), the Fly Lamp (a hovering lamp that follows you around) and Nebula 12 (an indoor cloud generator).
Potential dog phrases already identified by the developers include: ‘This is splendid!’, ‘Leave me alone’, ‘I am so very weary’, ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Erm, why are you guys leaving?’
The technology used in No More Woof is a combination of the latest technologies in three different tech-areas, Electroencephalography (EEG) sensoring, micro-computing and special brain-computer interface software.
In the last decade, huge discoveries have been made to map out the human brain’s functions, but the developers say it is the first time anyone made a serious attempt to apply this groundbreaking technology on man’s best friend.
Developer Eric Calderon says NCID is keen to stress this is not a product on the market, simply a working prototype, but the project is developing.
He said: ‘It’s really not a complicated as it might seem. It’s a use of existing technologies but in a new area.
‘The sensors are EEG recorders that reduce the thought readings and reduce the voltage fluctuations resulting from the ionic current flowing in the dog’s brain.
‘The fluctuations are then picked up by a microcomputer, in this case a Raspberry Pi, and interprets them.’
For instance there is a spectrum of specific electrical signals in the brain defining the feeling of tiredness (‘I’m tired!’). Some of the most easily detected neural patterns are: ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I’m tired’, ‘I’m curious who that is?’ and – handily for pet owners – ‘I want to pee’.
It is worth pointing out that dogs ‘think’ in a different way than humans. Whereas the dog’s brain signals might indicate hunger, that does of course not really mean the dog is ‘thinking’ that, it’s rather more a mental state than a ‘thought’ as humans understand it.
NCID say they are only scraping the surface of possibilities. They want to go on and personalise the device to distinguish even more thoughts, and produce a combination of thoughts, like: ‘Who is that woman, she looks nice!’
They also hope to use the device to let hurt or disabled pets control artificial limbs or other appliances.
Finally, two-way communication is their ‘Holy Grail’. A similar device to No More Woof could eventually be hooked up to humans translating our thoughts into ‘dog’.
PHRASES THE CANINE TRANSLATOR HEADSET CAN PICK UP
Currently the device only speaks English.
Mandarin, French and Spanish versions are coming soon.
‘This is splendid!’
‘Leave me alone’
‘I am so very weary‘
‘Who are you?’
‘Erm, why are you guys leaving?’
‘Is that really you?’
‘He must be a very nice animal’
THE DOG WHISPERER: HOW DOES ‘NO MORE WOOF’ WORK?
Every mammal creates and transports ‘thoughts’ the same way, as a swarm of electrical signals through a complex neurosystem.
It has long been possible to record this activity through Electroencephalogram (EEG) readings. When it comes to humans, the last decade has seen tremendous progress.
However every species uses its unique structure. You could say that all creatures speak the same language only with varying dialects.
Animal brains are less complex than humans their signal patterns are more distinct for feelings of anger, curiosity or tiredness, actually making them easier to distinguish.
The challenges the developers face using EEG on pets are a matter of placement for best comfort and how to identify the clearest signal when attaching the device on fur (‘We would never let you shave a tonsure on your beautiful German Shepherd’, they added)