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Obama pets a giant, laughing robotic giraffe

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 9:40am
Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor

While the Obama administration has been dealing with a lot of heavy topics lately, the White House also had time to push policy on innovation and creation. Part of the campaign was the White House Maker Faire, designed to celebrate “all things built-by-hand and designed-by-ingenuity.” It featured 30 projects from more than 100 students, engineers, creators and researchers from 25 different states.

This was the first ever Maker Faire in the White House, and Obama opened the event by asking the hard hitting question, “Why is there an ‘e’ at the end of Faire?”

“I’m just warning you, next year, the ‘e’ may be gone,” Obama joked. “I don’t know exactly who came up with that. This is America. We don’t have ‘e’s at the end of faire.”

On a more serious note, Obama spoke about the legacy of creation in the United States.

“This is a country that imagined a railroad connecting a continent, imagined electricity powering our cities and towns, imagined sky scrapers reaching into the heavens and an internet that brings us closer together,” Obama said.  “So we imagined these things and then we did them. That’s in our DNA. That’s who we are.”  

Pretty good stuff.

There was this 3D printed violin created by mechanical engineer David Perry.

The caption reads: David Perry plays a 3D printed violin at the White House Maker Faire. #NationofMakers

It’s cool, but not as cool as a 17-foot robotic giraffe that laughs.

The Electric Giraffe project started in 2005 with the idea of taking a small model giraffe and making a robotic giraffe that was 24 times the size of the original. It’s made from about 2,200 pounds of metal that is semi-intelligent and capable of walking.

It’s an ever-evolving project, but the best thing about it is named Russell and it laughs and  says, “hehehe. That tickles.” It’s either the greatest or creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. (Click the speaker in the top left corner of the Vine video to hear it)

When Obama was told it could carry up to 30 people, he replied, “Secret service might not like that.”

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