TailTalk Translates Toto’s Temperment

Remember the scene in “Up,” where the big, shaggy, enthusiastic dog is running around with a collar that can translate his thoughts and barks into language? Now there’s an app for that.

A company called DogStar has created an IndieGoGo campaign to fund its TailTalk system. Billed as the first dog emotion tracker, the Tail Tracker is a sensor that kind of looks like one of those rubber charity bracelets. It goes around your dog’s tail and monitors how the dog reacts to the world around it during the day. “Translating the position of the tail and how it’s wagging, the Tail Tracker delivers messages straight from the heart of your furry friend—to your smartphone.”

A wagging tail isn’t just an indicator that a dog is happy, the company says. The way a dog uses its tail to communicate is filled with subtle indications and differences, much like how the tone of a person’s voice changes with emotion, stress, fatigue, etc.

The app, which is available for both iPhone and Android platforms, monitors a wagging tail and analyzes the dog’s mindset at that moment. A message is sent to the owner’s phone to notify him or her when the dog is stressed, happy or upset. And the company stresses that the TailTalk works whether the owner is near the dog or at work, so no more wondering whether Fido’s sad when you’re gone for the day.

Giorgio Vallortigara and Angelo Quaranta, professors  from the University of Bari, Italy, published canine behavioral papers in scholastic journals, and from there, DogStar created TailTalk “to analyze the data and associate patterns with environments, people, toys, and anything else that may excite or stress out the dog,” writes Stanley Goodner for Gizmag. “Instead of having to guess (sometimes incorrectly), dog owners will be able to more accurately know how their pet responds in different situation,” the owner can simply click on the app and get a readout.

As of Monday night, more than $40,000 of the $100,000 goal had been raised, with 23 days remaining. For $99, backers get their own TailTalk for 23% off its retail price. The added incentive to donating early is the company is collecting photos of dogs owned by its first round of financial backers for a gallery on the company’s website. Estimated delivery is currently scheduled for early 2016.

To learn more, check out the IndieGoGo campaign.


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