Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Computational Linguistics & Phonetics Fachrichtung 4.7 Universität des Saarlandes

Talking Robots with LEGO MindStorms 2002

NEW! We have a paper about the Talking Robots project at the COLING 2004 conference (link to PDF version). The paper describes the basic system and the student projects.

NEW! The Talking Robots project goes into its second round. Check out the webpage of Talking Robots 2004!

Software project, Computational Linguistics, 8LP

In books, and in the movies, robots always talk. But in practice, they rarely do ... The goal of this course is to explore the possibilities of combining two fields, namely robotics and computational linguistics, to create robots that can communicate. The task is for teams of students to build "interesting" (cool!) robots using LEGO MindStorms, and then couple these robots to a dialog system including speech-recognition and speech-synthesis.

We provide LEGO MindStorms kits and the tools for building spoken dialog systems. We have also developed a framework that hides most technical details of the creation of new talking robots and have reimplemented the Talking Elevator as a demonstrator in this framework.

What the students need to provide is creativity and ingenuity!

LEGO MindStorms

On the robotics side, we use Lego MindStorms. The Lego Robotics Invention System lets one create robots using the familiar Lego bricks. At the heart of the robot is a programmable Lego computer, the RCX, which controls the robot's sensors and micro-motors. To program robots, we make use of the Lejos Java virtual machine for the RCX.

LEGO Germany has kindly provided us with four Robotics Invention System kits and four Ultimate Builders kits, for the purpose of this course.

Lecturers, and course outline

The course is given by Alexander Koller and Geert-Jan Kruijff. For a more detailed outline, see our course plan.

Enrollment, prerequisites

Because we only have enough sets for four teams, up to 12 students can enroll (3 per team).

Prior experience with programming in JAVA would be a plus.

In order to be able to run all the software, each team must have access to at least one PC that has a USB interface and runs a version of Windows that supports this. Yes, it must be a PC that runs Windows.