Akvelon Develops App (MeowTalk) To Translate Cat’s Meow as moderated by a former Amazon Alexa engineer.
MeowTalk records the sound and then attempts to identify the meaning.
The cat’s owner also helps to label the translation, creating a database for the AI software to learn from.
Currently, there are only 13 phrases in the app’s vocabulary including: “Feed me!”, “I’m angry!” and “Leave me alone!” among others.
Research suggests that, unlike their human servants, cats do not share a language.
Each cat’s meow is unique and tailored to its owner, with some being more vocal than others.
So, instead of a generic database for cat sounds, the app’s translation differs with each individual profile.
By recording and labeling sounds, the artificial intelligence and machine-learning software can better understand each individual cat’s voice – the more it’s used, the more accurate it can become.
The eventual aim is to develop a smart-collar, Javier Sanchez, group technical program manager at app developer Akvelon, said in a webinar on its website.
The technology would then translate your cat’s meow instantly, and a human voice would speak through the collar.
With MeowTalk’s cat translation technology, you can finally understand what your cat is trying to say.
Every cat has their own unique vocabulary that they use to communicate with their owners.
For instance, each cat has their own distinct meow for phrases like “feed me” or “let me out”.
With MeowTalk, you can create a profile for your cat and start using its auto-recognition to translate your cat’s meows.
Several translations are already built-in, but specific translations will require a little training of the app to recognize your cat’s specific vocabulary. If you know a translation is wrong, just fix it through the app and select the correct translation. MeowTalk learns with each translation you confirm.
However, users have also expressed concern about privacy on the app over how the data from the recordings is stored and used.
“Most cat vocalizations are actually to communicate with humans, as most owners will respond to them,” Juliette Jones, cat behavior specialist at Wood Green, The Animals Charity, said.
As the app relies on the owner labeling translations, there is room for miscommunication, she added.
“There may be some inaccuracies which could give owners the wrong impression about what their cats are feeling.
“This could be detrimental to the cat, the owner and their relationship – for instance, if a cat is purring it doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy and restful. A purr can also be seeking affection or indicating discomfort. In its current form, the app should only be used for entertainment.”
“We will probably never be able to covert a cat’s meow into human words,” Anita Kelsey, cat behaviorist and author of ‘Let’s Talk About Cats’, said. “All we can do is have fun thinking about what they might be saying from our own human perspective.
“The app seems like fun and there’s no harm in having fun with your cat.”