Giant Giraffes, 100-MPG Cars Wow at White House Maker Faire

Maker Faire Comes to D.C. with Inventions that Help as Much as They Delight

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    TK
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    President Barack Obama (R) talks with Lindsay Lawlor of San Diego, California, the builder of a robotic giraffe at the White House Maker Faire projects on the South Lawn June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Faire is a series of projects by students, entrepreneurs and regular citizens using new technologies and tools to launch new businesses and learning new skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (Photo by Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images)

    A giant robotic giraffe and newborn incubators sponsored by Beyoncé are just two of the incredible inventions present at Wednesday's first-ever White House Maker Faire.

    The White House Maker Faire featured more than 100 creators from more than 25 states. President Barack Obama viewed some of the exhibits and spoke to an audience of entrepreneurs, students, business leaders and mayors following his tour of the Faire.

    Maker Faire was launched in the San Francisco Bay area in 2006 as a venue for DIY-ers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it. The organization aims to move DIY projects out of the darkness of garages and shops and into the public eye.
    In celebration of the event, Obama declared June 18, 2014 the National Day of Making.
    "I call upon all Americans to observe this day with programs, ceremonies, and activities that encourage a new generation of makers and manufacturers to share their talents and hone their skills," he said in a statement.
    The event features tons of great creations, but a few especially stand out. Here are five awesome inventions from the White House Maker Faire:
    5. Robotic Giraffe: Invented by Lindsay Lawlor
    San Diego resident Lindsay Lawlor is a computer programmer who is passionate about bringing electro-mechanical animals to life. His robotic giraffe is a 17-foot-tall, 2200-lb giraffe that "walks" on wheels and is powered by a hybrid fuel-engine motor.
    Lawlor designed the gigantic animal to play music, feature innovative lighting displays and carry up to 30 people in its carriage. Lawlor is constantly evolving his creation, and brings it to Maker Faires and festivals across the country.
    4. SF Laser: Founded by Homeless Maker-Turned-Entrepreneur Marc Roth
    Roth, of San Francisco, was homeless when he overheard two co-residents in a homeless shelter talking about a local "tech shop" facility. After visiting the shop, he used what money he had to sign up for a one-month membership to learn basic skills in woodworking, laser cutting, welding and 3D printing.
    After 16 months, Roth launched his own business, SF Laser, which provides custom laser-cutting and etching services. He now uses his business to help others get back on their feet with The Learning Shelter -- an online program that teaches tech and manufacturing skills to people struggling with homelessness.
    3. 100 MPG Biodiesel Car: Built by the Students of Workshop School
    Three students, their teacher and principal might have the solution to rising gas prices.
    Taliya Carter, Joshua Pigford, Derrick Bell; their teacher, Michael Lumb; and principal, Simon Hauger, -- part of the Workshop School in Philadelphia -- built a 100-mpg biodiesel hybrid. The Factory Five 818 is fast, sleek and environmentally friendly. The school’s EVX Team has been designing and building fuel-efficient cars since 1998.
    Students from the school have also built modular post-disaster homes, energy-efficient lighting systems for a distressed West Philadelphia business corridor and indoor hydroponic gardens.
    2. $5 Chemistry Set: Created by Manu Pakash
    Pakash, who grew up in India, believes children at every corner of the globe deserve access to science and engineering.
    He is working to bring low-cost, cutting-edge scientific tools to schoolchildren and laboratories with his toy-music-box-sized chemistry sets. The set costs just $5 and can help children of impoverished communities learn to address real-world problems like water quality and contamination.
    Prakash has also created Foldscope, an origami-based paper microscope that costs less than $1.
    1. $200 Newborn Incubator: Invented by Jane Chen
    Jane Chen began her career as a student Maker at Stanford University and has gone on to create Embrace, a low-cost infant incubator for global rural communities.
    The incubator costs $200, less than 1 percent the price of existing technologies and, while most incubators require electricity, Embrace is electricity-free, expanding access to medical equipment needed to save premature babies.
    The invention has already helped more than 50,000 babies around the globe. This month, Embrace announced that a donation from Beyoncé would bring their product to 10 countries in Africa, helping an additional 2,000 newborns.

    Bonus: Smithsonian Reveals New Type of Portrait

    At team at the Smithsonian Institute used the event to showcase their first ever 3D portrait.

    Find out who's face and head were scanned to create the groundbreaking portrait

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