€3.5m project to explore deictic communication05/02/16Science & Technology
A major new €3.5m research initiative led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) will aim to improve understanding of a fundamental part of human communication.
DComm will see 13 different projects explore deictic communication over the next four years in an attempt to gain further insight into human to human and human to system interaction.
Its results could pave the way for improved mobile phones and intelligent robots and to enhanced clinical and educational interventions; for example, for stroke patients and those with autism spectrum disorder.
“Communication involves a combination of language and gestures that act together,” explains Professor Kenny Coventry, head of the School of Psychology at UEA and DComm co-ordinator. “Deictic communication is critical to understanding not only how communication develops typically in a range of spoken and signed languages, but also when communication can potentially break down in a range of clinical and atypically developing populations.”
He adds: “UEA is delighted to be leading this interdisciplinary training network that brings together an exciting mix of leading scientists and industrial partners to understand deictic communication both conceptually and in application.”
UEA will lead two of the projects, one exploring deictic communication in development and how children learn to direct attention using language and gesture, and the other investigating deictic communication in stroke patients with visual neglect.
Other projects will focus on deictic language and gestures in developmental deficits, deictic communication in sign languages, applications in robot language learning, deictic communication and mobile phones, improved motion capture methodology and tools in linguistic research, iCub robot hand redesign for gestural and deictic interaction, and deictic communication in architectural and urban design.
DComm has been funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and will see UEA work alongside 11 European partner organisations, including the UK’s Plymouth University, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Sweden-based motion capture specialists Qualisys and Italian automation company Telerobotlabs. Additional support will come from organisations specialising in software and technology development, architecture and brain rehabilitation.