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Tail-monitoring gadget tries to sense your dog's emotions

The TailTalk prototype is intended to be an emotion sensor for dogs that interprets their feelings based on tail position. Like people usually do, but more accurately.

TailTalk fits near your furry buddy's buns. DogStar Life

Dog language is different from human language. We like to think we understand what's going on with our furry friends, but we don't always get it right. That's why DogStar Life is working on building TailTalk, a tail-mounted sensor intended to track your dog's emotions based on tail movements.

The concept, according to the project's Indiegogo campaign, is that the sensor wraps around your pup's tail like a bracelet. It has an accelerometer and gyroscope built in so it knows the difference between frantically happy tail-wagging and when the tail is tucked or standing at attention.

The idea behind TailTalk is that pooch tails are capable of expressing complicated feelings based on subtle changes. Scientists have researched the difference between right-side tail wagging (relaxed and happy) and left-side tail wagging (anxious). It's just that people don't usually pick up on these clues.

The TailTalk is supposed to send information back to an app that translates the movement data into emotions, telling you if your dog is stressed, happy or bonkers-thrilled. It'll even send notifications to your phone when you're not around, so you'll know if the neighbor's cat is taunting your dog outside the windows.

The battery is said to last for up to 6 months and the device is designed to be "chew-resistant" as well as water-resistant.

Some questions come to mind about the gadget: How well will it stay on for short-haired dogs with slick tails? What about dogs with stubby tails? How accurate is it? If the project goes into production, we may eventually find out some of these things.

TailTalk is aiming for a $100,000 fixed funding goal and has raised over $35,000 with 28 days left to run. A TailTalk will cost you a $99 (about £65, AU$137) pledge. Keep in mind that not all crowdfunding projects deliver as expected and on time.

There is no shortage of unusual dog gadgets on the market, ranging from a light-up disco vest to the Woof Washer 360. The TailTalk could fit right in as a translator between tail language and human language.