Talking toy 'translates' dog barks -

TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy said on Thursday that it would launch a talking version of its Bowlingual gadget that can "translate" dog barks into the human language.

The new model analyses six emotions, including joy, sadness and frustration, and speaks phrases such as "Play with me!" -- an improvement on the original which just showed them on a screen.

"Dog owners can enjoy the toy at a dog run and a park," said Tomy spokeswoman Chie Yamada.

The original version of the toy, which has a handset and a microphone attached to a dog collar, won the Ig Nobel Prize in 2002. The awards, a parody of the Nobel Prizes, celebrate achievements that make people laugh and think.

The new Bowlingual Voice, priced at 19,950 yen (212 dollars), will be launched in Japan next month, Yamada said.

It will be only available in Japanese at present. The original non-speaking version is also available in English and Korean.

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