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November 18, 2002

Bowlingual Going Global

Bowlingual, the gadget from toymaker Takara which interprets your dog's barks and yelps, has been such a hit in Japan that it is to be marketed overseas, according to Friday's Japan Times. As we reported back in October, the device won the 2002 Ig Nobel Peace Prize from a US science magazine for promoting harmony between species. And it has since won an award as one of the best inventions of the year from TIME magazine. The product consists of a small device attached to the dog's collar and a palm-sized console that displays the translated whelps and growls. The sounds made by the canine - from Chihuahuas to German Shepherds - are classified into six emotional categories: joy, sorrow, frustration, demand, menace and self-expression. Suitable phrases, such as "I'm sad" or "I'm going to explode with anger" convey these feelings to the owner. The product will be marketed in Asia next summer and later in the US and Europe, with a target overseas distribution of 2 million units by March 2004.

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