Using technology to help the infirm control wheelchairs, computers and air conditioning, scientists in Hog Jaw, Arkansas, have developed a cap for dogs that allows their owners to understand what the barks mean.
"I got fed up checking to see if a gator had got in the chicken coop again," said local inventor, Emmet Brown PhD.By.Email. "When all the mutt wanted was to go and pee in next doors water butt. All them darned barks sound the same to me."
The technology exists already to identify which parts of the brain are working, and Brown adapted this, showing Mutt pictures of alligators, strangers and a dog having a pee in a water butt. With each bark, he carefully calibrated the machine to display in LEDs on the top what the bark means.
"It's been real useful," said Brown, "I know now when he wants to go pee, and when he wants a doggy biscuit. Generally, he always wants a doggy biscuit."
Brown has tested the device on his neighbours dog, Abbie Gayle Turdblossom, and discovered that it is this dog that has been peeing in his water butt, along with plenty of other information, such as the current location of his TV aerial and what has happened to the neighbourhood cats.
"I had to take the hat off my neighbour's dog," said Brown, "the darned critter wouldn't stop barking once it knew I knew what it knew, if you know what I mean."
Before Brown goes into mass production of his Bark Translator, he needs to solve the problem of the power supply.
"It takes one point twenty-one gigawatts of electricity to run it," said Brown. "Now, please excuse me, the dog's bark is telling me there are some Libyans outside, and I need to leave!"