Drivers in Bogota, Colombia are often taken by surprise when they see a cardboard police car transform into a walking, talking robot at a local traffic stop.

For the past eight years, Bogota resident Luis Rene Cruz has been supporting his family by dressing up in homemade costumes based on characters from the popular Transformers film series.

"At a time of economic crisis that I had with my family and knowing that a second baby was coming into the home, well, I had to figure out a form of working that would give me more than what you earn with the minimum wage," said Cruz.

"And the truth is, I took a toy from my son, a car with a doll, and watching the Transformer films, I said: I can make a Transformer, and that's where the idea came from."

Cruz's creativity, and the admiration of passers-by, has enabled him to support his entire family with his traffic light performances.

"A lot of people ask me if a family lives off of this painted, screwed-together, square cardboard, and yes, a family lives off of this. Five of us, five people live off of this: my 70-year-old mother, my 38-year-old wife, my 16- and eight-year-old sons and me."

Cruz has worn eight different costumes over the years and his entire family helps out with costume design - like which characters to emulate and what colours to paint his costumes.

"Look, I didn't study anything, I just graduated high school, but life's circumstances pushed me into this, a terminal illness like cancer, thousands of things that have happened that have brought me to this."