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Thursday, January 17, 2008

This is something I could use right now!

According to Wired Magazine, Hungarian researchers have written a program that explains the meaning of dogs' barks. If we had this right now, maybe I could tell my Mum what's going on with me and why I don't feel good! That would be so great!

Here's what they are saying...

The software is still a bit buggy, but it's promising enough to suggest that computers could one day translate not only between humans, but between species.

For a study scheduled to be published this week in Animal Cognition, researchers from Eötvös Loránd University developed algorithms to analyze the acoustic features of dog barks. Then they recorded 14 Hungarian sheepdogs barking 6,000 times in a variety of situations -- greeting a stranger, picking a fight and so on.

Their program correctly classified 43 percent of the barks -- not exactly a staggering accuracy rate, but better than most humans achieve by sound alone. (Reassuringly, it was particularly good at tagging 'fight' barks.) It was also able to identify the individual dog behind each bark about half the time -- again not an overwhelming number, but better than people can do with dogs from the same breed.

Wrote the researchers, “The use of advanced machine learning algorithms to classify and analyze animal sounds opens new perspectives for the understanding of animal communication."
Read more...
Read the press release...

In other news, the Dog Wizard, Vladae Roytapel, weighs in on how he compares this year's presidential candidates to the K-9 world. Check out this interesting video!

I'm off back to bed now. Still not feeling well. Mum can't wait to get me to the vet and find out what's going on!!!!

2 comments:

  1. I hope you're feeling better.

    My dog Stetson doesn't really bark at all. In the past 6 months he's only barked one time that I've heard. He does snore and make groaning sounds, but that's about it. I guess a system that explained the meaning of barks would not help Stetson much.

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  2. A few years back, I attended a seminar by John Rogerson, a noted trainer from England, and he demonstrated a variety of different barks and what they meant. It's amazing how well he spoke the language. Several of us had our dogs in the room, bored & dozing next to us. When John demonstrated the "I'm alone in the yard and I'm bored" bark--which I recognized so clearly!--the dogs continued snoozing. When he demonstrated the "Uh-oh, alert, there might be a problem here" bark, every dog in the room came erect and several responded with the "I'm here, I acknowledge the possible danger" sort of "whuff" that dogs do while they looked around for what the problem was. It was fascinating. Even more fascinating that maybe a machine can do that.

    (More than the old "Hey!" Far Side cartoon.)

    -ellen

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Thanks for barking in!

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