I’m not going to lie to you guys. I love living in a world where an R2-D2 Builders Club can have an offshoot called the WALL-E Builders Club. If nothing else, it means we aren’t in the middle of an intergalactic nuclear war, and that’s the kind of world I like living in. Bakersfield, California robot builder Michael McMaster recently talked with Norman Chan of the Tested website (started by MythBusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) and gave the world a detailed look at the creation and design behind a real-life, fully-functional WALL-E robot. You might recall last year when we ran a similar story with robot builder Mike Senna. Well, you probably won’t be surprised to find out Senna and McMaster partnered up for the WALL-E ‘bot. I bet it helped that WALL-E is a mostly silent being and wasn’t trying to offer them constructive criticism.
It’s awesome watching the creation in action, but holy crap did it take a lot of planning and building and rebuilding to get this guy in working order. Because working with found items would not have allowed for perfect replication, almost everything involved in the project had to be created from scratch material. The most troublesome part I’d think would have been the custom creation of all 60+ treads used for WALL-E’s wheels — a term I use loosely. He wasn’t created to climb over giant piles of trash or anything, but he moves like an android dream over flat land. No electronic sheep involved.
Much like controlling a video game, the right hand is used to maneuver the ‘bot while the left hand is used to move the face and the metal brows. He can also play music, as well as utter some of his one-word phrases. Tadaaaa!
Of course, whenever we do end up in that intergalactic nuclear war, I don’t think WALL-E’s ability to look expressive will do much as far as preventing an apocalypse, but it’ll at least be clear how he feels about it. Sad. Awww.
The resemblance is striking. If only they’d get into a slapstick sequence where they’re standing on opposite sides of a doorway while mirroring each other. I think I smell a sequel, Pixar.
If you hadn’t checked out the video from last year’s Maker Faire, you can put your human peepers on it below.