http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/lingodroid-robots-invent-their-own-spoken-language (there are pictures at the original article)
Lingodroid Robots Invent Their Own Spoken Language
POSTED BY: Evan Ackerman / Tue, May 17, 2011
[...] Now Australian researchers are teaching a pair of robots to communicate linguistically like humans by inventing new spoken words, a lexicon that the roboticists can teach to other robots to generate an entirely new language.
Ruth Schulz and her colleagues at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology call their robots the Lingodroids. The robots consist of a mobile platform equipped with a camera, laser range finder, and sonar for mapping and obstacle avoidance. The robots also carry a microphone and speakers for audible communication between them.
If one of the robots finds itself in an unfamiliar area, it'll make up a word to describe it, choosing a random combination from a set of syllables. It then communicates that word to other robots that it meets, thereby defining the name of a place.
After playing several hundred games to develop their language, the robots agreed on directions within 10 degrees and distances within 0.375 meters. And using just their invented language, the robots created spatial maps (including areas that they were unable to explore) that agree remarkably well:
Schulz and her colleagues -- Arren Glover, Michael J. Milford, Gordon Wyeth, and Janet Wiles -- describe their work in a paper, "Lingodroids: Studies in Spatial Cognition and Language," presented last week at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), in Shanghai.