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The Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology is developing ROILA, a spoken language designed to be easily understandable by robots.

The number of robots in our society is increasing rapidly. The number of service robots that interact with everyday people already outnumbers industrial robots. The easiest way to communicate with these service robots, such as Roomba or Nao, would be natural speech. But current speech recognition technology has not reached a level yet at which it would be easy to use. Often robots misunderstand words or are not able to make sense of them. Some researchers argue that speech recognition will never reach the level of humans.

Most previously developed artificial languages have not been able to attract many human speakers, with the exception of Esperanto. However, with the rise of robots a new community on our planet is formed and there is no reason why robots should not have their own language. Soon there will be millions or robots to which you can talk to in the ROILA language. In summary, we aim to design a “Robotic Interaction Language” that addresses the problems associated with speech interaction using natural languages. Our language is constructed on the basis of two important goals, firstly it should be learnable by the user and secondly, the language should be optimized for efficient recognition by a robot.

The Lego Group has even donated 20 NXT sets and a cubic meter(!) of Technic girders in support of the project. [Via The NXTStep]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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