Obama Met a Giant, Talking Robot Giraffe at the White House Today

The robotic animal that speaks with a British accent and can carry 30 people is just one oddity in a giraffe-centric news cycle this week.

National Journal
Marina Koren
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Marina Koren
June 18, 2014, 8:28 a.m.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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?

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