As Bob Dylan once instructed us, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." True that. So do you need an electronic gizmo to know which way a tail wags?
Maybe. A new crowdfunding campaign over at Indiegogo promises to deliver the world's first tail-wagging monitor that actually translates doggie emotions.
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It's called the DogStar TailTalk and it proceeds from the premise that, with a little technological intervention, we humans can read a dog's specific emotions by the way it wags its tail. The device includes a lightweight sensor that wraps around your poochie's tail and monitors movement with an internal accelerometer and gyroscope.
That information is then beamed wirelessly to a phone app, which translates the movements into a kind of emotional readout. According to the Indiegogo page, certain types of tail movement are specific emotional indicators. Wagging to the left, for instance, indicates negative feelings like fear, anxiety or aggression. Wagging to the right suggests positive feelings like happiness or excitement.
"Tail wagging is asymmetric and includes complex emotional signals that the human eye cannot recognize," according to the designers.
How does the design team know all this? "We have consulted professors from the famous College of Veterinary Medicine in Cornell University already in the early stages of the conceptual design." That's about it in terms of hard science on the crowdfunding page.
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Current plans call for the TailTalk app to work with iOS or Android phones, and will include features like the Happiness Overview function, which tracks Fido's emotional status over the course of a day, a week, or a month. The monitoring device itself is designed to be waterproof and, yes, chew-resistant.
As of now, the campaign has raised about a third of its $100,000 funding goal. If all goes according to plan, the TailTalk device will be ready to ship this time next year.