A former Amazon Alexa developer has created an app that claims to translate your cat’s meows. The app ‘Meowtalk’ is available to download on the Apple Store or via the Google Play Store. Meowtalk records the audio from your cat and then attempts to identify the meaning, despite research suggesting that cats do not have their own language like their human companions.
The user can then help to label the translation which contributes towards creating a database for the AI software to learn from. However, rather than having a shared database for the cat sounds, each cat’s meow is unique and tailored to its owner, with some more vocal than others. Therefore, the app’s translation differs with each individual profile. The more sounds that the user labels, the better the artificial intelligence software can understand each individual cat’s voice. The database is currently still under development and only has 13 phrases so far which include “feed me”, “leave me alone” and “i’m angry”.
According to Javier Sanchez, the group technical program manager at app developer Akvelon, the long term goal is to bring out a smart collar where the technology would translate your cat’s meows instantly. This means a human voice would speak the translation through a speaker in the collar. We can’t help but be reminded of the Disney movie Up with this idea…
“I think this is especially important now because, with all the social distancing that’s happening, you have people that are confined at home with… a significant other – this feline,” Mr Sanchez added.
“This will enable them to communicate with their cat, or at least understand their cat’s intent, and build a very important connection.”
The app is still in its early stages so there has been some mixed reviews about its translation capabilities. One user stated “I’m getting quite irritated, I just downloaded it and haven’t even been able to use it because it just keeps telling me there is a wifi/connection error.” whilst another review stated “I was getting the translation ‘I’m in love!’ 90% of the time, while it’s nice to think that my cats love me so much, I’d caught one of my cats hissing and growling during play – and it said she was in love then too.”
Despite some negative reviews, the ratings for the app on the Google Store are 4.3 stars and some claim the app is great if it isn’t taken too seriously.
“For now, if you don’t take it too seriously, it’s a really fun app,” one review said. “And, who knows, maybe in time, it will really learn my cat’s true meow in all instances. It surely looks promising.”
We are excited to see what becomes of the Meowtalk app, even if it is only used as a bit of fun, and we would love to hear your feedback if you’ve downloaded the app and tried it for yourself. For more information about Meowtalk please click here.