Machine understands Diné Bizaad
RIO RANCHO, N.M.
Students and professors at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute have developed a voice-operated robot that can be commanded using the Diné language.
The Native American Voice Controlled Automated Robot responds to commands given in the Diné language and is programmed to repeat the words back as well.
The new Science and Technology building at SIPI campus in Rio Rancho is ground zero for the robotics program, where engineering students come to get creative and design robotic components for research.
Their latest creation, the NAVCaR, is a small robotic vehicle that receives commands in a variety of Native languages as well as English and Spanish and follows through with the commands.
“These are Cyber Code Talkers,” said Nader Vadiee, engineering instructor at SIPI, “these students here are making it possible to communicate with a robot through the Navajo language.”
He added the students come to design and build the robots using their tools and components to make them follow commands in a few Native American languages in New Mexico including Santa Domingo Pueblo, San Felipe Pueblo, and Diné bizaad.
A couple of Diné students and SIPI professionals gave the Navajo Times a demonstration of the NAVCaR.
“NAVCaR,” called student Sherrill George.
All of a sudden, a computer beeping noise filled the room as the robot powered to life.