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Roila, a New Spoken Language Designed For Robots

Lego Mindstorms NXT robots

These Lego Mindstorms NXT robots are learning ROILA, Robot Interaction Language, as part of a team of robots donated by Lego. The next step is to allow the NXT robots to talk in ROILA via text-to-speech synthesis.

Credit: ROILA

Eindhoven University of Technology researchers are developing the Robot Interaction Language (ROILA), a spoken language for robots that is meant to be easy for people to learn and easy for robots to understand. ROILA features simple, regular grammar and includes nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and pronouns.

ROILA uses an algorithm-generated vocabulary of about 850 words, which look like a combination of African languages, Dutch, and English. It has no irregularities, so word markers are used to indicate past and present tense.

The researchers say ROILA combines parts of the most successful natural and artificial languages. ROILA words are composed of phonemes that are shared among most human languages, and the word-creation algorithm makes the words sound as different from each other as possible.

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