It’s a cute little robot learning how to say “green” and “blue.” And as part of a major project undertaken by robotics researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, it’s also promising to transform perceptions of how robots — and humans — learn language.

DeeChee, which is built to look, act and learn like a 6-to-14-month-old child, is the subject of a report recently published in PloS ONE by Caroline Lyon, Chrystopher L. Nehaniv and Joe Saunders, researchers with Hertfordshire’s Adaptive Systems Research Group.

DeeChee is designed on the open source iCub platform, which is available for anyone to create similar robots for a variety of types of research, including language acquisition.



iCubs are designed to appear like human children, based on the notion that the appearance of a robot affects how people interact with it. Their design also draws on the “embodied cognition hypothesis,” meaning that the robot’s own perceptions and development depend, in part, on its embodiment in humanoid form.


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