IF you’ve always wondered what your cat is trying to tell you when it meows, then this is the app for you and your feline companion. Developed by a former Amazon engineer, the MeowTalk application claims to be able to translate your four-legged friend’s meows into human language. Evidently, there’s an app for everything these days!
“I’m hungry,” “I’m happy,” “I’m in pain”: those are just three of the nine translations proposed by the MeowTalk app to help cat owners understand their pets. According to reports in various US media outlets Monday, November 16, ex-Amazon engineer Javier Sanchez has created a new application that aims to translate cats’ meows into English.
Already available free of charge for iOS and Android, the application is currently in a beta version. Users are encouraged to refine the data by telling the app when they consider the translation to be correct. Cat owners can also add their own translations if they feel that none of the nine available options corresponds to their pet’s meow.
Bringing credibility to this kind of app, which may leave people dubious, Javier Sanchez explains that he drew on expertise from his time developing Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, when building MeowTalk. “I worked in the machine learning platform team at Alexa for a while,” Javier Sanchez told GeekWire. “And I got to see how the sausage was made, how they train their models and work with all the data science platforms. So I was fresh off the heels of that and I was thinking, ‘Well, we could do something similar with cats and it could be an app.'”
While MeowTalk may seem like a novelty, the US-based engineer highlights how this kind of tool could be important, especially during periods of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “A tool like this can help certain people bond even more with their cats, especially if they can’t be in contact with other people on a regular basis,” Javier Sanchez told GeekWire. “So this could be a real game changer for a key demographic that have cats.”
Now working for tech firm Akvelon, Javier Sanchez said that he is currently developing a smart collar that could translate sounds made by cats directly into human language – an idea that sounds similar to Doug the dog in Disney’s movie “Up,” who speaks by means of a collar.