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Bringing Engineering Alive – A Look Back at the Best Animated Manufacturing…

by Iraz Akkus

To celebrate making it through the week let’s have a look at manufacturing, vehicles and engineering through a different lens…  

From Optimus Prime in Transformers to Pixar’s Lightning McQueen, animation has brought every-day engineering, manufacturing products and vehicles to life… and let’s be honest, some of them are pretty impressive. So, let’s take a walk-through memory lane and look at some of the most impressive, animated engineering! 

One classic example is Bob the Builder (Yes, we can fix it!). This cheerful, hard-working contractor, lives in a world where every-day building equipment like diggers and cement mixers can talk. Watching Bob and his friends work together to build things is entertaining for the kids but even us equipment lovers find the show rather charming. Although now we are left wondering how Bob manages to fund all these tools without the right finance firm backing him…  

Next, looking back, we can see that the real star of Pixar’s Cars world was Guido, not Lightning McQueen. Guido is the most skilled and fastest tire changer in the Cars world. His ability to change tires quickly comes from him being at one with his equipment, a harmony that we wish for all our equipment, whether that’s a coffee roaster or 3Dprinter! Not to mention the tractor-cows in the third movie, that help McQueen train to be world champion – success is all in the equipment!  

Another stellar example is from Transformers. Optimus Prime, head of the noble Autobots, represents the pinnacle of robotic engineering and technology. We would be lying if we said his ability to convert back and forth from a truck to robot isn’t still an impressive concept. 

In a less saving-the-world narrative, Baymax from Big Hero 6 is also an engineered miracle that we all wish we could shrink and carry around in our pocket. He is a bouncy healthcare robot, acting as an in-house nurse and best friend all in one go, though chattier than robotics used in real-life, he shows that, when designed thoughtfully, technology can have a life-saving impact in practise (a reality we are seeing more and more!).  

Part of the appeal of engineering-based cartoons is imagining that our cars, planes and construction equipment have minds of their own. We get attached to our own vehicles and I’m sure we are all still guilty of remembering the name of our first car (miss you Peewee!). So, seeing them come to life on-screen taps into a nerve that all equipment-heads have. These childish cartoons remind us not to take our machines and tech for granted, showing us what our machines may be capable of.