Disaster relief humanoids on display at the International Robot Exhibition 2015, but Leonardo da Vinci steals the show. Jim Drury reports.
Leonardo da Vinci greets visitors to iREX, Japan's International Robot Exhibition. The Italian painter and engineer died 500 years ago, but his android copy is star of this year's show in Tokyo. Other humanoids are also mixing with visitors. Many such robots are now so realistic they're at the stage known as the Uncanny Valley - where their near-identical resemblance to humans can make us feel uneasy. But iREX visitors didn't seem bothered. Also on display were various response robots, displaying tricky tasks with aplomb. Roboticists hope humanoids could have a crucial role in responding to future disasters, like earthquakes and nuclear meltdowns. More than 400 companies are exhibiting at the four day biennial event.