BudgieTalk: Animal Translator (Beta)
|We're learning numbers|
- "Man has much power of discourse which for the most part is vain and false; animals have but little, but it is useful and true, and a small truth is better than a great lie"
- "... They will hear every kind of animals speak in human language. They will instantaneously run in person in various parts of the world, without motion. They will see the greatest splendour in the midst of darkness. O! marvel of the human race! What madness has led you thus! You will speak with animals of every species and they with you in human speech. You will see yourself fall from great heights without any harm and torrents will accompany you, and will mingle with their rapid course.- Leonardo da Vinci
This blog post is about how I somewhat inadvertently developed a way to translate my birds vocalizations into words and how this methodology could be used as the basis for an animal or interspecies translator. I dont have the programming skills to develop it further but I can present what i've been able to do so far. I'm working on a video to demonstrate and describe it better.
*(I'm currently updating this blog so it's not fully edited or done.) *
I'm going to go over this in such detail so those who are interested (and have birds or other vocal animals) can try it but also to show that it's not being faked or fabricated. Obviously most of the dictation isn't accurate but it's just a proof of concept and a starting point to something that will become more accurate over time.
The purpose is to use this process/ program to differentiate the different vocalizations into words we can recognize - the next step is to understand what they mean.
Background Information and Animal Communication Potential:
|These “SignAloud” gloves developed by UW sophomores Navid Azodi and Thomas Pryor translate American Sign Language into speech and text. - Source|
|This is Amy from Michael Crichton's "Congo" She was equipped with a backpack that allowed her sign language to be converted to human speech. (Fiction)|
This technology and KoKo could make "Amy" a reality. Fiction becomes fact.
- Software has performed the first real-time translation of a dolphin whistle – and better data tools are giving fresh insights into primate communication too. - Source
Info on Animal Communication:
- Puck, a male budgerigar owned by American Camille Jordan, holds the world record for the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words. Puck died in 1994, with the record first appearing in the 1995 edition of Guinness World Records. - Source
- The Semantics of Vervet Monkey Alarm Calls: Part I - Source
Speech to Text:
STT: Is when you talk and the computer turns those sounds into words. This is what Siri and Google Now do.
Text to Speech:
TTS: is when the computer takes text and then with it's computer simulated voice - speaks those words.
Commands are words and phrases that the computer recognizes and then executes something. "Check my email" would open your email program. "What is the weather" would show you the weather on an app.
Dictation is when the computer will attempt to type out the words that you speak.
Is type of program that allows you to program in certain words and phrases that will then execute a command or do something else. The computer will listen to for words and then write them out. If these words are recognized as a command it will then execute that command when it's recognized or said.
This would be the ability for a computer to recognize a specific sound. Eg: A doorbell or a specific song or tv episode or a car engine. There are apps that you can turn on and it will listen for a song and then take you to it so you can buy it. The same could apply with other sounds but is more difficult due to the inevitable variations between the sounds of the same things.
This would be the same as a Voice Macro but the computer would perform an action when it heard a sound rather than a voice and words. So you could program it in to turn on a light whenever it heard the garage door open or turn on a security camera if it heard a car drive up - stuff like that.
Voice and Text Translation
Uses a computer's ability to translate words from different languages and speech to text. So if you say "Hello" and have the computer set to recognize english and then translate it to spanish it would then repeat back "Hola" This enables two people who speak different languages to talk into their phones and have it translate and then speak out a different language - and another phone hear that language and do the same. Essentially a digital translator. Being able to do this with any language would make it a "universal translator."
This would be the ability for a computer to hear a noise and then recognize what it was. So if it heard a door bell it could say "Doorbell" or a dog bark or a cat meow.
Now we get to the fun stuff! What if we could combine everything above into a program that would be able to not only recognize the different sounds that different animals made but differentiate the sounds within a single species> not only that but to then translate it into english? (or any other language) That is the basis of BudgieTalk - with Budgies/ Parakeets as the starting point to develop the program and methodology which could then be applied to others.
A little over 2 years ago I got my lil English Budgie Danny Cooper with the #1 goal of teaching him to talk. Unfortunately he, is a she - and SHE does not like to talk. I probably said "Hey baby" 2.3 million times and she just gives me a funny look in silence. She would only sometimes chirp along to some music and very very very occasionally do what sounded like mumbling in my ear. It sounds like someone speaking english but while covering their mouth and talking reallllly quietly.
You see, girl budgies are less likely to talk and if they do they do so less often, sometimes, like Danny, not at all. That has not been my experience with human women, but that is besides the point. The point being - I had to get another Budgie - a boy this time! Enter - Dylan Pryce. I had him DNA tested and got him as soon as he was weaned - as young as you can. He was friendly, loves me, he's adorable but honestly and unfortunately - he's a little 'special' - probably due to the in-breeding of the "English" variety of budgies. They make awesome company but I was still left with my primary goal of teaching one to talk being not met - at all. Again he would sometimes mumble in my ear and sometimes talk a little in his sleep.
This was not for lack of trying. I would constantly repeat phrases - talk to them as if they could understand me, make them watch educational videos, baby learning courses and even watch other talking budgies on youtube - over and over. Nope. Not going to happen. They wouldn't even make normal budgie vocalizations. Silent treatment. That's not to say they are dumb (well Dylan is a little) but Danny is obviously smart and seems to understand me to an extent - she just won't talk back.
and I have 5 birds - no babies and these little flockers will NOT SHUT UP.
- Danny (girl) (English Budgie)
- Dylan (English Budgie)
- Luca (girl) (Parakeet)
- Matt (Parakeet)
- Bradley (Parakeet)
Much much each you much you you
These vocalizations - to me all sound the same and i am unable to physically due to the limitations of my hears (hearing range) concentration and the speed at which they vocalize to differentiate between anything they say. However using this method and the computers help I can start to detect patterns in the english words and phrases even if they are not what they are actually saying or even if they are not traditional words - they are definitely language. When the sound they make "chirp" gets translated to "each" that doesn't mean they are really saying "each" but now i am able to use that as the basis to understand what 'chirp" really means because I can now differentiate it and see what they are doing when they say it.
This methodology (via technology) helps to fix those challenges and I believe with the right people and animals behind this idea it could quickly lead to a lot of childhood dreams being fulfilled. The ability to talk to animals and have them not only understand you but talk back.
Learning & Teaching
Eventually the program can be used with other birds which has already been developed which will then teach them the same words/ phrases and process - adding to it, and then further refining the language and technology. Birds teach each other to talk as well as people teaching birds to talk so all it takes it showing other birds videos of birds talking - and they will learn the same words.
Setting up Microphone.
|Logitech C920 (&910) are great, they are the ones that I use. Any webcam will work as long as it has a microphone.|
|This is a best selling one on amazon for only 7.99$ (haven't tried it myself)|
Using your phone as a wireless microphone:
Selecting your microphone as the default device:
|Right Click on the Sound Button on the Bottom Right hand corner.|
|If it's not already select the microphone you want to use, then click on "set Default"|
The text in black are dictations that are new and not recognized. They are what the program thinks it's hearing. The text in green are words and phrases that used to be black but have been saved into the program so that they will speak back those words if they are recognized again. For example if the computer translates their vocalizations as "you you" and it has been said before and programmed in - it will then say out-loud in its computer voice "you you" the next time it's recognized.
Install Voice Macro
ZIP file: VoiceMacro_1.2.2.zip
The Installer version will install it like any other program. Download it - start the install. Open like any other program. Windows - type in or find: "Voice Macro" Open the Program.
The Zip file needs to be extracted.
- http://www.7-zip.org/ (Free Unzipper)
- Extract to a folder on your desktop or harddrive. The Icon to open Voice macro will be in that folder. Click no it to open the program.
To do this properly would require recording them and then manually looking at each sound wave (or listening with headphones) and then corresponding each to another time they made them and what they were doing. Until I can figure out how to have the computer automatically add the sounds and phrases i'm going to have to do it manually. I'm also going to have to devise ways to discern the meaning to then assign them to the noises.
They are probably saying
Over and over and over in different ways. They are like little crazy kids on speed.
- The vocalizations aren't always random and unique. There are the same sounds they make over and over. "Churp" "Tweet" "Chhh" as examples.
- The computer's Speech to text will interpret the "churp" into the text "each" even if they are not actually 'saying' the english word "each" the computer will still be able to recognize and translate it the same each time.
- So every time they make the "Churp" noise the computer will recognize it as "each"
- Then "each" can be programmed into the computer as a Voice Macro to say outloud (Text to Speech) "each"
- This means that when a bird makes the "churp" sound the computer will then speak "each" acting as a translator.
- With that same basic principle an entire word/sound/vocalization library can be built up.
"Churp" isn't just used as a single sound but can be modified enough that the computer will recognize it as another/ different word. So "Churrrrp" and "Chhhhhhurp" are recognized as the english words "each" or "much" adding even more words to the dictionary.
They do say the same words over and over but usually they are using long strings of words in different combinations.
"Churp Churp" or "Churpppp churp Churp"
or "Tweet Tweet Churp"
or "Tweet Churp Churp Tweet"
Adding a Macro
Set up: (after installed and app is open)
Add a New Profile
Add a macro "Hello" then program it to Speak "hello"
Importing Budgie Talk:
I'll provide the file that you can import to get all the words we've developed soon.
|This is what the program looks like. You click on "Add Macro" to add a new word or phrase.|
How to test if it's working:
Then within a short time numbers would start to be said. Not just random numbers but number in order - this has happened a few times followed by random numbers and words combined. Like kids they start to combine new sounds and put them in different orders and play around with them. This isn't any different than saying
"Say hello, who's a pretty bird" and they say back "Pretty bird, helllo"
Then if the computer was able to even get a single word "hello" or "pretty bird" right after you told them to say it - it would verify that the computer was working and translating and they were speaking some english words and that some of it is intentional.
Intentional is slightly different than contextual. Repeating back what you say is one thing but saying something on their own that is related to what they are doing - in context - is another. An example of this would be me not saying anything and one of them starts to eat and then "eat" or "eating" or something to do with the word 'eat' shows up. That would mean that they are not only speaking in english but speaking contextually and without being told to. This has happened at least twice. If in 1000 words and phrases that come up none are "eat" then all of the sudden one of them starts to eat and "eat" shows up - it would be less of a coincidence and more of verification. "Singing, sing" when music is playing or when they are singing is another sign of context. It's not that they are mimicking the word "Sing" when I say "Sing" the computer will actually show 'Singing" "You Sing" "Sing much" and other variations with the word 'sing" being used - none of which i've taught them and being said on their own without any prodding. They are much more likely to say a word on their own later NOT when I try to get them to.
Games and Aids:
- Make flash cards that are associated with different words/ sounds.
- Hold up # of finger to say numbers