A baby robot called iCub is to be taught to communicate with humans by scientists in Devon.

The 1m-high humanoid baby robot is the centre of a 4-year project that will look into how parents teach their babies to talk.

Staff at the University of Plymouth will work with language development specialists and it is hoped that the project may lead to the developing of humanoid robots which learn, think and talk.

The iCub, which will arrive at the University of Plymouth next year, will be given simple tasks as a child would - such as putting shapes through holes and will also be asked to name objects and actions.

It is hoped that iCub will then acquire basic phrases such as "robot puts stick on cube".

The BBC reports that the University of Plymouth beat competition from 31 other teams to win a £4.7m grant for the Italk - Integration and Transfer of Action and Language Knowledge in Robots - project.

The university's partners in the project include the University of Hertfordshire and others from across Europe.