DeeChee Learns to Talk

DeeChee Learns to Talk

Posted On: June 24, 2012
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Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK are out to prove that a robot can learn to speak in the same way that infants do. That’s where DeeChee comes in. DeChee is a 3 foot tall humanoid that can produce any English syllable, but not words. He was programmed to learn to form words. Humans are teaching DeeChee to use simple words for shapes and colors just as they would teach an infant.

At first, all DeeChee could understand was an unsegmented stream of sounds. But DeeChee is capable of breaking up that stream into individual syllables and to store them in memory. Then the words are ranked according to how often they come up in conversation. DeeChee is programmed to smile when he’s ready to pay attention to the teacher and to stop smiling and blink when it needs a break.

This robot will help us to understand how infants learn and figure out if what we know about the process is accurate.