What’s 17 feet tall, weighs 2,200 pounds and has a British accent?
This robotic giraffe that President Obama met at the White House on Wednesday.
The giraffe, created by Lindsay Lawlor of San Diego, was on the South Lawn as part of the first-ever Maker Faire, an innovations gathering of more than 100 “makers” from 25 states. Obama also viewed electric guitars, a skateboard, a prosthetic foot, slippers, a toy robot, and various 3D printers, according to pool reports.
The wheeled robotic animal, whose name is Russell, is powered by a 12-horsepower hybrid fuel-engine motor.
It was operated by Russell Pinnington, Lawlor’s programmer, from inside the White House. Lawlor named the giraffe after Pinnington, who is British, instead of paying him for his work. The giraffe can play music, carry up to 30 people, and speak.
Here’s video proof of their exchange, courtesy of BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski:
Todd Gillman of the Dallas Morning News described the contraption in a pool report:
The neck and head undulated slowly. The mouth opened and closed. The neck swayed gently side to side. Ears flapped. Horns were made from lava-lamp type things with sparkles inside.
Lawlor offered the president a ride aboard his giraffe, but Obama declined.
Obama did compliment Russell’s ears.
This is the second news appearance for giraffes, real or robotic, this week. On Monday, Delta Air Lines tweeted a photo meant to be celebratory after Team USA’s win in the World Cup, featuring a giraffe to represent Ghana, the losing country. The photo was instead a huge mistake, as there are no wild giraffes in Ghana and, more importantly, there’s a lot more to Ghana than its supposed wildlife.
The giraffe news cycle could be worse, though. Remember Marius?