“The Simpons already predicted it” … or almost. In the popular Mark Groening series, Homer’s brother invented a “baby translator,” and in the middle of 2020 one of Alexa’s ex-engineers has done the same, but with cats. MeowTalk is an app that promises to “translate” our cat’s meows, but what is the truth in this?
We have tested the application and, apart from curiosity, we are going to explain you the technology behind such an operation, as well as the future intentions of such a curious project.
The app that promises to translate your cat’s meows
MeowTalk is available for iOS and Android, with a fairly simple interface. In the main section, ‘Talk’, we have a microphone button that allows you to record the sounds of the cat. After hearing the meow, he offers us an answer, with the supposed translation of what “the cat said”. If we have several cats, we can create profiles for them, to have a record.
The main problem of the application is that it is only capable of offering 10 translations, predetermined results for a whole world of meows from different cats. Specifically, these are some of the answers offered by the app:
- I’m here.
- I am resting.
- Something hurts.
- I am angry.
- I am scared.
- I love u
As we can see, messages are short and lead to a wide margin of error. However, to understand how the app works, it is convenient to know what the concept is and how it works.
The technology behind MeowTalk
The person behind MeowTalk is Javier Sánchez, ex-Amazon engineer who worked on the development of Alexa. The app is intended to “help people bond even more with their cats”, especially if they cannot be in contact with other people on a regular basis.
The app is based on a learning model that associates the collected recording with a predetermined response. The semantic field of the model can grow over time
The application is based on a general learning model (developed by Google) that interprets the recording and associates it with one of the 10 pre-established intentions. Being a machine learning model, the app may learn new words and associate them with meows, so we are only facing an early development phase.
In the same way, Sánchez raises the future use of a smart collar (in development stage), which could be linked to the app to send notifications to the phone. Be that as it may, and taking into account the imprecision of the app, the concept is more than curious and opens the door to work on learning models in the future to better understand animal communication.
Via | [GeekWire](https://www.geekwire.com/2020/meowtalk-app-that-translates-cat-sounds-is-pet-project-for-former-alexa-engineer/= Image | Unsplash