For Japanese parents looking for a toy for their baby girl’s next birthday, Tomy’s Ketai Wanko (roughly translated as “mobile dog”) might be a fun option to consider. It’s a cute stuffed dog accompanied by mobile controller that works as a mock dog-to-human translator.
When the toy dog barks, you can bring the cell-phone close to its nose, and the noises are translated into language. The dog can say over 300 different phrases such as “pet me,” “sing to me,” or even “I like your what you’re wearing today.” A toy biscuit is also included, and when you feed your dog it will make happy eating sounds or even ask for more biscuits. You can learn more about how it works over on the Tomy website.
Keitai Wanko can be purchased for 3,780 yen (about $40) and is available in three breeds: toy poodle, chihuahua and Shiba Inu. In its announcement, Tomy (TSE:7867) notes that as many as 30% of Japanese people have some kind of pet. But of course there are some families that can not enjoy pets for some reason or another. The company hopes that Keitai Wanko could be an alternaitve for such families to teach children to take care of animals.
For real dogs
For those with real animals to pet, Tomy has an actual dog-to-human language translator and emotional analyzer called Bow-Lingual. That was released way back in September of 2002, co-developed by Tomy, Index Holdings, and Japan Acoustic Lab.
Bow-Lingual allows owners to communicate with dogs through a wireless mic built into the dog’s collar. The product sold over 300,000 units worldwide and received an Ig Nobel Prize in 2002. There is also a Bow-Lingual iPhone app if anyone wants to give it a try. We’ve not tested it (nor do we actually speak dog) so your mileage may vary!