Wall-E Built to Scale & Fully Roboticized (Complete with Disney Eyes)
Obsession with a fictional character can be a sign of psychosis, but, if you’re obsessed with an emergently self-aware and emotive post-apocalyptic cleanup robot from a Pixar film - enough to build one - you totally get a pass on that diagnosis.
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Actually, “obsession” might not be the best word. The guy behind the project, an orange farmer from central California, seems pretty well put together. So, perhaps a phrase, something like “Inspired, talented, and severely interested in a challenge!” would be the most appropriate way to describe roboticist Mike McMaster and friends.
This guy does not work for Pixar or Disney or Hollywood. He's a hobbyist, and you know, hobbies are important; some people collect, others play sports or practice martial arts, and some people, well... they build functional copies of fictional robots.
Using screen captures to judge the relative size of real-life objects Wall-E touches in the film, McMaster and a partner extrapolated backward from the size of Wall-E’s hands to arrive at appropriate dimensions for the rest of his physicality. They then set out to assemble the puzzle and roboticize the various joints. All the way down to the treads on the tracks, this Wall-E was made by hand, from scratch.
Thoroughly impressive attention to detail resulted in a mobile, vocal, expression-capable Wall-E facsimile complete with rust, wear & tear, and a rubber cockroach on his shoulder (not yet a robot).
Have a watch, and if you’re interested in more, check out McMaster’s blog where you’ll find details on his Wall-E, other Wall-Es, and (entirely unsurprisingly) info on his R2-D2 builders team.
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