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Mechanimation is a patented "dual-control" animatronic technology for mascot costumes introduced in 1993 by French engineers Jean-René Auvray and Yannick Rambin, formerly of CEI Europe (the European branch of Aaron Fechter's Creative Engineering). It is owned by Fuse Special Effects.

The dual-control system for Mechanimation allows the animatronic heads of the costumes to be controlled either by an R/C transmitter or using codes generated by and received from an offstage computer.

History

In 1982, when French restaurateur Zacharie Abel Bouhier licensed the ShowBiz Pizza Place brand to open locations in France and the United Kingdom, Aaron Fechter sent employee Nick Gevorgyan to Paris to open CEI Europe. Nick was the only American employee working at the unit, the other employees hailed from France, Spain, Italy, Quebec, Japan and the United Kingdom. CEI Europe manufactured The Rock-afire Explosion bands for those European ShowBiz locations and for other foreign locations.

While working at CEI Europe, engineers Jean-René Auvray and Yannick Rambin were prepping a Rock-afire band for shipping to Cardiff, Wales when fellow engineer Mahiro Ogiwara (later of OLM, Inc.) informed them of a missing Billy Bob mascot suit that was destined for shipping along with the band to Cardiff. After locating it, Auvray and Rambin had the idea of "sophisticated, animatronic mascot costumes".

In 1990, after CEI Europe was closed, Auvray and Rambin formed Mechanimation S.A. in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine after developing the technology on the weekends for several years. In 1993, Mechanimation was introduced by Auvray and Rambin at Expo '93 in South Korea. The demonstration was a success and close to 150 Mechanimation suits, styled after various different licensed characters, were ordered by multiple companies including Feld Entertainment and Nickelodeon.

In 1995, Mechanimation S.A. merged with El Kadsreian firm X-WOW (formed by ex-CiGiWOW employees) to form Fuse Special Effects, based in Eirabourne and Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine.

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