God love the Japanese. They come up with the craziest inventions, such as the Head Stabilizer for those who fall asleep on the train, or the Cuddle Pillow for the lonely among us. But I read that the toy company, Takara Tomy, is reintroducing its dog interpreter, the Bowlingual. This contraption claims to analyze a dog’s bark and interpret its emotional state. This is rather ridiculous, as it would seem to me that most people can read the emotions of man’s best friend relatively easily. A wagging tail is a happy dog, flattened ears is fear/aggression, a whimper suggests pain.
But then, you never know. I’m wondering if this electronic translator can interpret an elevated level of stress, such as in a lie detector. As an instructor, I come across my share of students who forget to do their home assignments. Indeed, I had one student who came home from Thanksgiving break swearing that the paper he wrote on his parents’ computer–suggesting he didn’t have the file to print–was destroyed by his dog. He even presented me with the shredded remnants of the paper he somehow saved from the jaws of his pet.
This old and tired excuse–my dog ate it–is seemingly effective because the only other witness to the crime is the perpetrator who cannot communicate the truth. But if this Bowlingual could somehow interpret Spot’s emotions when confronted with the now unreadable shreds of evidence, well, Takara Tomy might have something that I might buy.