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Pixar Wiki

9 Pixar References in Other Pixar Movies

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Pixar Wiki

In every Pixar film, you'll find at least one reference to another Pixar movie, but usually there are a whole lot more. I've gathered some of my favorites, but they're countless. If I've missed your favorite, share it in the comments!

1. Pizza Planet. Pizza Planet turns up in just about every movie, if you look closely enough. In The Incredibles, a delivery truck can be spotted in a scene where the family is driving on the highway, and EVE from WALL-E checks the engine of a Pizza Planet vehicle to see if it contains any signs of plant life.

2. In Finding Nemo, play close attention to the scene in the dentist's office. A Buzz Lightyear toy can be seen in the waiting room.


3. Also, in the same scene, the mobile that you see in the dentist's office is also featured in Boo's room in Monsters, Inc., as are a Nemo toy and a Jessie toy (from Toy Story 2). And, check out the comic book the little boy is reading "“ it's The Incredibles.

4. Ratatouille features a guest appearance from Incredibles nemesis Bomb Voyage "“ he has a brief cameo as a mime.

5. All of the books on Andy's shelf in Toy Story have titles that are actually the titles of Pixar shorts.


6. Dinoco, like Pizza Planet, is another fictional company in the Pixarverse that appears in multiple movies. The oil company is first seen in Toy Story as a little gas station, then in Cars as a sponsor of the Piston cup. It's even in WALL-E - the name and logo can be seen on a lighter.

7. References to A113 shouldn't be too hard to find "“ they're scattered all over every Pixar movie. A113 is the room at the California Institute of the Arts where character animators trained. This isn't exclusive to Pixar "“ you can find A113 references all over "“ even on The Simpsons. A few of the Pixar cameos include Mater's license plate in Cars, the license plate number on Andy's mom's van in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, as the number on the tag of a lab rat in Ratatouille and as a code in WALL-E.

8. In Cars, the Piston cup cars all have "Lightyear" instead of "Goodyear" written on the tires. Sneaky.

9. WALL-E works in a clever reference to Ratatouille - the mechanic mice are called REM-E.

Check out more interesting references (and pictures) here.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Name the Author Based on the Character
May 23, 2017
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