President Obama at the White House Maker Faire: “Today’s D.I.Y. Is Tomorrow’s 'Made in America'”

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“Our parents and our grandparents created the world’s largest economy and strongest middle class not by buying stuff, but by building stuff -- by making stuff, by tinkering and inventing and building; by making and selling things first in a growing national market and then in an international market -- stuff “Made in America.”  President Barack Obama at the first-ever White House Maker Faire, June 18, 2014

Today at the White House, President Obama enjoyed the company of a 17-foot robotic giraffe; a 128-square-foot, portable “tiny house”; a 3D pancake printer; a giant red weather balloon; and more than 30 other inspiring and creative inventions brought to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by more than 100 students, entrepreneurs, engineers, and researchers from 25 states — all of whom love to “Make” stuff.

At the first-ever White House Maker Faire, the President also announced a host of new steps to spur manufacturing, innovation, and entrepreneurship by increasing the ability of more Americans, young and old, to have access to tools and techniques that can bring their ideas to life.

The day was a celebration of all things built-by-hand and designed-by-ingenuity — highlighting the role of cutting-edge equipment like 3D printers, laser-cutters, easy-to-use design software, and desktop machine tools in empowering everyday Americans to create and achieve almost anything.

These Makers took the White House by storm, demoing designs built with cutting-edge tools and technologies and sharing the inspiring stories that motivated them to Make. Mark Roth, for instance, explained that he used skills picked up at a San Francisco TechShop to beat homelessness and launch his own laser-cutting business. And Jane Chen showcased her low-cost newborn incubator, “Embrace,” which has already touched the lives of more than 50,000 babies around the world.

President Barack Obama looks at Lindsay Lawlor’s robotic giraffe on the South Lawn of the White House

President Barack Obama looks at Lindsay Lawlor’s 17-foot-tall, 2,200-lb robotic giraffe on the South Lawn of the White House during the first White House Maker Faire, June 18, 2014. The creation “walks” on wheels and is powered by a 12-horsepower hybrid fuel-engine motor. Lindsay designed the Robotic Giraffe to play music, feature innovative lighting displays, and it can hold up to 30 people in its carriage. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

After touring the exhibits, President Obama took to a podium flanked on one side by a 10x10x10 “LED shield” and on the other by a 3D-printed sculpture of his most recent State of the Union Address. There he addressed the crowd of assembled tinkerers, announcing new commitments that his Administration and key partners outside government are making to enable Americans from all backgrounds to launch businesses; excel in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); and contribute to the renaissance in American manufacturing.

The efforts announced today included steps to help schools take shop class into the 21st century; new support for startups that want to file for a patent; and a number of private-sector commitments from companies and businesses like Disney, Intel, Etsy, and more, who are committed to doing what it takes to help unleash a new wave of innovation here in America.

President Obama also declared the day — June 18 — a National Day of Making, encouraging dreamers across the country to become Makers of things, not just consumers of things, and calling upon Americans in every corner of the nation to host programs and activities to mentor and empower a new generation of pioneers in design, manufacturing, and engineering.

And in a direct message to the inventors in the room, President Obama said: “Your projects are examples of a revolution that’s taking place in American manufacturing -- a revolution that can help us create new jobs and industries for decades to come.”

We congratulate all of the Makers who participated in today’s White House Maker Faire. We can’t wait to see what you Make next. 


Check out the Mobile Fab Lab at today's Maker Faire:

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Find out more about the Electric Giraffe:

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See some of the tweets and Instagram posts about the Maker Faire:

Becky Fried is Deputy Director of Strategic Communications at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Katie Wetstone is a Student Volunteer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
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