The specific goal of the Communicator program is to develop and demonstrate “dialogue interaction” technology that enables warfighters to talk with computers, such that information will be accessible on the battlefield or in command centers without ever having to touch a keyboard. The Communicator Platform will be wireless and mobile, and will function in a networked environment. Software enabling dialogue interaction will automatically focus on the context of a dialogue to improve performance, and the system will be capable of automatically adapting to new topics so conversation is natural and efficient.
The Communicator program emphasizes computer-human arbitrated dialogue, emphasizing task knowledge to compensate for natural language effects and noisy environments. To date the majority of the research has focused on English-computer dialogues in support of command and control operations. Recently, research has begun on foreign language computer interaction in support of coalition operations. Unlike automated translation of news for unlimited vocabulary (speech-to-text, text-to-text) tasks, the Communicator program is directed toward human-to-machine interactions, where task specific issues constrain vocabularies, with the emphasis being on control of interaction by the operator to maximize clarity of intent. Hands-on exercises have been conducted involving small unit logistics operations with the Marines designed to stress test the technology in extreme environments.