University scientists are teaching a robot to speak by emulating the way a baby might learn things.
The infant-like robot named DeeChee not only looks like a baby but is programmed to learn like one too. "Our work focuses on early stages analogous to some characteristics of a human child of about 6 to 14 months, the transition from babbling to first word forms," the team wrote.
The research takes advantage of the humanoid form of the machine on the basis that some cognitive processes are shaped by the body. "Learning needs interaction with a human, and robot embodiment evokes appropriate reactions in a human teacher, which disembodied software does not," said project leader Caroline Lyon.
"With the help of human instructors, a robot has learned to talk like a human infant, learning the names of simple shapes and colors."
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