Woof Woof, Bow Wow Wow

Recent news tell of software that analyzed over 6,000 barks from 14 Hungarian sheepdogs in 6 different situations. It could consequently discern whether the a dog was in a stranger, fight, walk, alone, ball or play scenario. This isn’t the first time we’ve tried something like this, but previous devices haven’t been very successful (have you seen any talking dogs around?).

Bark, Bark

The new system uses artificial neural networks which are trained to discern different types of sound patterns, and can identify the 6 different situations mentioned above with 43% accuracy. Admittedly, that doesn’t sound like an ideal number but as stated by the researchers it’s a lot higher than we humans can achieve.

Komondor, a type of Hungarian sheepdog
(I don’t know the specific type used in the research)

Additionally, the system can correctly identify individual dogs by their bark 52% of the time during play, but interestingly only 30% when aggressively barking at strangers. The R&D was carried out by a team led by Csaba Molnár of Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary.

Arf Arf Arf

A few years back I heard about a simpler variation of a dog translator. A certain pitch in a dog’s bark would trigger the playing of recorded statements such as ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I want to go outside’. And here’s the brilliant part: That’s all the device did! The dog would soon enough learn that a certain bark would result in his masters giving him food. However, this technique obviously didn’t pan out very well as evident by the lack of talking dogs.

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