London, Feb 29 : Robotics experts at the University of Plymouth are planning to work with a 1m-high (3ft) humanoid baby robot called iCub, in order to find out if it could be taught to talk.
In the coming 4 years, work will be done in collaboration with language development specialists who investigate how parents teach children to speak. Then, their findings will be put to use for the development of humanoid robots that learn, think and talk.
This is a first of its kind project conducting typical experiments with the iCub robot including activities like inserting objects of various shapes into the corresponding holes in a box, serialising nested cups and stacking wooden blocks.
The iCub will be coming to the university next year, and it will also be asked to name objects and actions so that it gets hold of basic phrases such as "robot puts stick on cube".
A consortium led by the University of Plymouth, a world leader in cognitive robotics research, emerged winner in a competition from 31 others and earned a 4.7m pounds grant for the Italk - Integration and Transfer of Action and Language Knowledge in Robots - project.
"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," BBC quoted Angelo Cangelosi, Professor in Artificial Intelligence, as saying.