Cómo funciona la app que convierte maullidos de gatos en palabras

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¿Qué dicen los gatos cuando maúllan? ¿Esos gemidos y alaridos típicos de los felinos tienen un significado específico?, ¿varían de acuerdo a sus sentimientos, deseos, alegrías y enojos? El ingeniero Javier Sánchez propone una solución: una máquina que traduce los maullidos en palabras que los humanos podemos comprender.

Sánchez es un especialista en la comunicación entre los dispositivos y las personas. Anteriormente trabajó en Amazon, en particular en el proyecto Alexa. Aquel es el asistente virtual de la compañía que dirige el magnate Jeff Bezos, que ya incluyen muchos productos y ofrece un funcionamiento similar a Siri de Apple y a Google Assistant.

Ahora Sánchez es gerente de proyecto en la compañía Akvelon de Bellvue, que tiene sede en Washington, y su principal ocupación es la aplicación MeowTalk (nótese la onomatopella “meow”, que en español usualmente mencionamos como “miau”), un sistema capaz de analizar los maullidos y convertirlos en palabras humanas.

Cómo funciona el traductor para gatos

De acuerdo al ingeniero, los felinos no tienen un idioma como el nuestro. “No comparten palabras ni se comunican entre sí”, dijo en declaraciones a NBC. El equipo que dirige encontró que estos animales usualmente usan nueve intenciones diferentes que intentan transmitir cuando maúllan. Esas variaciones tienen sonidos diversos y pueden tener la intención de manifestar algún dolor, pedir que abran la puerta, o comunicar que tienen hambre.

Según los desarrolladores de la app, los gatos usan nueve intenciones diferentes que intentan transmitir cuando maúllan.
Según los desarrolladores de la app, los gatos usan nueve intenciones diferentes que intentan transmitir cuando maúllan.Por: Gundula Vogel | (Foto: Pixabay)

En la práctica, el usuario descarga la aplicación en su dispositivo móvil, graba los maullidos del gato y finalmente obtiene las traducciones del sonido que se analizó mediante un sistema de aprendizaje automático. Como es usual en estos mecanismos, los resultados son más precisos a medida que se entrena a la tecnología. En este caso, se piden entre cinco y diez ejemplos para que la app comience a reconocer los pedidos del felino.

“Para entrenar a la aplicación para que aprenda un maullido específico, elija un contexto en el que sepa con certeza lo que su gato está tratando de decir (por ejemplo, alimentación/comida, en la puerta/ déjame salir). Utilice la aplicación para traducir esos maullidos y luego proporcione la traducción correcta. Repita al menos 5 veces”, explican en la descripción de la app.

De acuerdo al sitio 20 Minutos, MeowTalk ya se puede descargar en las tiendas para equipos con iOS y Android, aunque aún se encuentra en desarrollo. La herramienta se consigue gratis.

El traductor de llantos de bebé

Aunque el objeto de estudio es otro, MeowTalk tiene un funcionamiento similar al de una aplicación desarrollada por una experta en ciencia de datos española, que reconoce las diferentes intenciones, estados de ánimo y sentimientos en los llantos de bebés.

La misma fue creada por Ana Laguna Pradas, que en diálogo con TN Tecno dijo que la idea llegó cuando fue madre por primera vez y que fue un desarrollo más por diversión que por trabajo. Además, señaló que muchos le preguntan si se inspiró en un capítulo de Los Simpson en el que se ve una máquina con esa función, pero que nunca había visto ese episodio antes de su invento.

“Suena a madre chiflada, pero soy para primera mamá que quiere que su hijo lloré”, bromeó Laguna Pradas al explicar el funcionamiento de su ingenio. La experta sostiene que los sollozos esconden patrones comunes, lo que permite crear categorías y avanzar hacia una clasificación de los mismos a través de un algoritmo.

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