It's a dream come true for millions of children and Pixar fans: Michael McMaster and his resourceful friends have built a life-sized, moving, and talking replica of Wall-E. As part of YouTube's Geek Week, Tested visited McMaster's workshop for an up close look at the mesmerizing robot, which was meticulously pieced together over the course of several years. Using a Yahoo Group to keep in touch, McMaster and his builders club pals had already assembled an equally impressive R2-D2 robot. So after hearing about Wall-E's impending release in 2007, making a real-life version of Pixar's new character seemed like the natural choice.
Nailing the exact scale of a CG character proved challenging, with McMaster's team turning to known objects like VCR tapes and a Rubix cube to work out the size of Wall-E's "hands" and working on from there. "Blu-ray was our friend," he said of the hi-def format, which provided detailed screen grabs that helped the group replicate every inch of the lovable character.
But it's not just about looks. Controlled with a handheld remote, McMaster's Wall-E also moves and sounds just like you'd expect. His head pivots realistically, and he's loaded up with nearly every sound effect (and song) you've heard in the movie. Even with all they've accomplished so far, McMaster and the builder's group aren't finished iterating and improving on their Wall-E. It's not every day that a Pixar character is brought to life with such extraordinary detail.