iCub Robot Learns to Talk Like a Baby
June 15th, 2012
When last we saw iCub, he was learning to crawl like a baby and even count numbers like one. Now he has learned to talk like one. Human instructors have taught the bot to talk like a human infant, learning the names of simple shapes and colors so far.
Their work is all about the characteristics of a human child of about 6 to 14 months, minus all of the pooping and slobbering. They are particularly interested in the transition from babbling to the first word forms. This version of the iCub robot is named DeeChee.
At three-foot-tall, he’s huge compared to a baby of 6 to 14 months, which I’m sure makes for some creepy scenes in the lab. Researchers think certain cognitive processes are shaped by the bodies in which they take place. For instance, a brain in a vat would think and learn very differently than a brain in a body. The robot isn’t capable of thinking as yet, but I guess you could say that this endeavor is all about learning how to think.