This is not photoshopped, this really happened. Last Wednesday, President Barack Obama mingled with inventors and young students alike at the first White House Maker Faire on the South Lawn in Washington, D.C. The electric giraffe in question is named Russell. He’s 17 feet tall, rideable, and is loaded with a bewildering array of lights and motors that make him able to walk slowly through a crowd and light up like a rainbow supernova. It was a symbol of the quirky and clever creations Obama wanted to showcase on a day devoted to innovation.
The giraffe was one of the highlights of the Maker Faire. Based on Tamiya’s toy walking giraffe, the Electric Giraffe is a life-sized robotic giraffe that borrows this toy’s walking mechanism. The immense animal actually walks, just like its small-scaled design model, but towers at 17 feet tall when its neck is raised. The main frame where people can ride is eight feet off the ground, providing an impressive viewpoint of the surroundings. Though the beast appears to have wheeled feet, the giraffe actually walks on these wheels. The wheels are used to give it variable traction control, and more importantly, allow the 1,700 pound cyber-critter to be winched up onto its trailer.
Obama has been placing a fair amount of emphasis lately on the importance of new tools and techniques to start up new businesses, to boost manufacturing and to strengthen science and math education. “We’ve got to make sure that more Americans have the skills and opportunities to land a job in a growing industry or to create entire new industries,” he said. “That’s why I’m declaring today a national day of making.”
More than 100 makers from 25 states were at the White House as Obama focused on helping fledgling businesses create and market their products.
The White House says 13 federal agencies are teaming up with companies like Etsy and Kickstarter to help Americans access startup capital and tools to develop new products.
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