The Electric Giraffe Project
8th January, 2008 by

Hello Gang!

I got featured with my creator in a “Best of 2007” article in the North County Times!

Lindsay Lawlor (June 2007)

Escondido’s Lindsay Lawlor, whose electronic giraffe was featured in the North County Times earlier this year, has continued to add to his creation and has more in store for his 17-foot tall robotic friend.

After returning with the giraffe from the annual Burning Man festival last summer, Lawlor added bright red, yellow, green and blue LEDs to create glowing spots on the robot’s body. He also doubled its walking speed from its original half-mile an hour and rebuilt its hydraulic-control system to make it complete maneuverability.

“I don’t have to get off and turn him around,” he said. “He can turn on a dime. We’ve motivated his feet a little more with drive motors so he can actually just roll around as well as walk.”

The robotic giraffe recently was featured on the Discovery Channel in Canada, and Lawlor’s proudest moment may have been Dec. 1, when he rode it during the Ocean Beach Christmas Parade. Unsure whether the Escondido parade would be rained out the same day, Lawlor said he picked Ocean Beach because it is his home town.

“He went down Newport Avenue, and the crowds went ballistic,” he said. “I’ve never been subjected to that much roaring from people. It was just amazing.”

Lawlor won the top award in the best-individual entry category.

He next plans to add more artificial intelligence to the giraffe so people with wireless devices can communicate with him as he works the controls.

“The giraffe will graze on the frontiers of technology,” he said.

Lawlor said several schools are interested in visits from the giraffe, and he hopes to create lessons about robotics and actual giraffes for the visits.

The giraffe’s next public appearance will be 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 12 at Ray at Night, held the second Saturday of each month in North Park, San Diego. The event is held on Ray Street, just north of University Avenue.

—- Staff writer Gary Warth