KING5- A former Amazon engineer who worked on Alexa has unveiled his latest pet project: an app that translates your cat's meow. Javier Sanchez is now a project manager with Bellevue-based tech company Akvelon and has developed MeowTalk — an app that reportedly translates what your cat is vocalizing. “It’s not a language. They don’t share words or communicate with each other. Cats never meow at each other out in nature," Sanchez explained.
He said he was intrigued by the NPR series “The Secret Language of Cats,” and was motivated to use his experience working on Alexa to develop a new tool for cats. Research led Sanchez and his team to realize that there are about nine intents that all cats have. These are the basic emotions and messages that MeowTalk builds upon. Everything from “I’m hungry” to “I’m happy” and even “I’m in pain” are all built into the app. Users can fine-tune the reactions to help improve the accuracy.
The app allows users to record their cat’s meow and decodes what it means, but the ultimate goal is a collar that will translate with a voice response.
Tough look for Jeff Bezos when a former employee comes out with a better invention than anything Amazon has pumped out in years (no offense Alexa, since I know you are always listening). Not because I give a flying fuck about what cats say. Quite the opposite. You may THINK Javier's machine works like this:
However, I imagine it would work more like this:
A prototype unit demonstrates the process and Sanchez tested it with his own kitten. The anxious cat let out a meow that the collar translated to a voice saying, “I’m angry, leave me alone!” as Sanchez was holding the cat.
An app that tells you what your cat says will either result in finding out your cat wants to kill you because it's hungry, your cat wants to kill you because it's thirsty, or your cat wants to kill you because it's a cat and cats are a trifling pet that should never be trusted under any circumstances.
What I am more interested in is what we can do with this technology once we upgrade it to a species worth a damn. The obvious next step would go to the much better household pet and create a dog translator so you can know if your best friend is hungry, needs to piss, or just wants to say that they love you. However the endgame to all this should be an invention that has been lodged in my brain since I saw it on (what was then) the greatest television show ever: The Baby Talker on The Simpsons.
If Javier can figure out how to translate that translation magic from meows to goo goos and gah gahs, he can name the stock price he wants Akevelon to hit. I missed out on the feeding frenzy of when the stock of a certain casino that owns a certain sports media conglomerate valued at a half a billy was cheaper than a Happy Meal.
So I refuse to miss out on the next rocket ship headed to the moon and trust me, there is not a price parents won't pay to know why the hell their baby is screaming their guts out at them at 3 AM. Again, it's probably due to food or wanting to dispose of that food after it passed through their body (or gas. Gas cries are the WORST and rarely easy to fix). But as a parent whose life is roughly 1000000 times easier now that my 2.5 year old can tell me why he is pissed at me every hour of the day, I can guarantee you this small step for finding out why cats are hissing like snakes would be a giant leap for mankind if we can figure out what babies want.