May 10, 2005

Baby In The Machine: Automatic Cry Translator Heralds Childrearing Utopia

matrix_fetus.jpgAfter painting your newborn's nursery his (newly discovered) favorite color, you'll be able to find out if he likes it. If you speak Japanese, that is.

Researchers in Nagasaki are readying a device which will translate a baby's cries and supposedly put an end to the awful inconvenience of learning what the kid needs on your own.

The technology'll be ready this summer, says the lead scientist. Add a few months to shrink it down, come up with a cutesy name, and to close a licensing deal with Hello Kitty [who, it must be noted, doesn't even have a mouth], and we're looking at mid-2006 for delivery.

Judging by the insane hyperbole of the press report, it's not a day too soon:

"The gadget could be a godsend in a country where a growing number of young people find child-rearing too burdensome, although some experts are cautious about an almost science-fiction world where babies are understood with machines before they learn to talk."

No, what would be a godsend is a fully robotic matrix that could feed and care for the baby and oversee his mental development. Perhaps a nutrient soup-filled pod, and a series of spinal implants. THAT would be AWESOME. Now if we could only come up with a name...

Look who's talking: Gadget promises to translate baby babbling [afp, via yahoo. Thanks to DT reader Patty]

1 Comment

But will it translate babies into English or Japanese?

The photo reminded me of Damien Hirst's two-story sculpture on *permanent* exhibition at Lever House:

http://www.artnet.com/Magazine/features/jsaltz/saltz4-6-6.asp

Called "hideous" by Art Forum magazine.

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