A university in Devon is set to find out if a ‘baby’ robot can be taught to talk. Staff at the University of Plymouth will work with a creepy 3ft humanoid robot called i Cub, reports the BBC.
Over the next four years, robotics experts will work with language development specialists who research how parents teach children to speak.
The project is believed to be the first of its kind in the world and could lead to the development of humanoid robots which learn, think and talk.
Experiments with iCub will include inserting objects of various shapes into the corresponding holes in a box, serialising nested cups and stacking wooden blocks.
The iCub, which will arrive at the university next year, will also be asked to name objects and actions so that it acquires basic phrases such as “robot puts stick on cube”.
A consortium led by the University of Plymouth beat competition from 31 others to win a £4.7m grant for the Italk – Integration and Transfer of Action and Language Knowledge in Robots – project.
Angelo Cangelosi, Professor in Artificial Intelligence said: “The outcome of the research will define the scientific and technological requirements for the design of humanoid robots able to develop complex behavioural, thinking and communication skills through individual and social learning.”