What Are Dogs Really Thinking? Wearable Device Aims To Translate Canine Brain Patterns Into English

By Rhonda J. Miller on January 5, 2014 1:46 PM EST

No More Woof Aims To Translate Dog Thoughts Into English
A device to register and analyze brain patterns in dogs and translate the dog thoughts into English is being developed by the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery in Sweden. (Photo: Nordic Soc. Invention & Discov / Rhonda J. Miller)

Dogs have a reputation as being the one true source of consistent, unconditional love for their human families, but perhaps they just really appreciate the romps on the beach and the chunks of meat that slip down from the dinner table. Whatever the perspective of our canine friends, inventors in Sweden are on mission to break the code of dog thinking and translate it into human language using a small wearable device to pick up doggie brain patterns.

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The dog speak translation device called "No More Woof" is being developed by The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery, which has already raised nearly double its $10,000 goal through crowdfunding on Indiegogo.

"It's really not as complicated as it might seem. It's just use of existing technologies in a new area," developer Eric Calderon said in the video explaining the project on Indiegogo. "It's a completely non-intrusive small device. The electrodes are strategically-placed around the scalp of the dog. The small sensors are EEG recorders."

The tiny recorders register the voltage fluctuations from the ion flow in the dog's brain and those frequencies are then picked up by a microcomputer that analyzes them, Calderson said. The research is starting to pick up repeated patterns, which are considered dog thought patterns, such as "I like you."

The headset is built using Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized, bare-bones computer that makes it possible to put a computer on a small gadget. When that is combined with new brain-computer interface technology, it is possible to detect, analyze and translate the brainwaves of dogs inside the device, according to Venture Beat. The device currently speaks English, with Mandarin, French, and Spanish versions in the works, Venture Beat reported.

The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery admits in its Indiegogo pitch that "No More Woof" is a work-in-progress and that the funding is needed to continue research and development. The developers said no animals are harmed in the research.

The attempt to understand and translate dog thinking is one more chapter in humans' long-time efforts to connect with the animal world and understand the thoughts of various species. Some of the most extensive research has been done on dolphin communications. In a recent study of dolphin vocal patterns done by biologist Stephanie King of Scotland's University of St. Andrew's, she said, "The results present the first case of naming in mammals, providing a clear parallel between dolphin and human communication," according to a report on Wired.

That communication between animal and human may possibly take one more step forward with the efforts on No More Woof. 

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