President Barack Obama meets Lindsay Lawlor of San Diego, Calif., and his creation, a 17-foot-tall, 2,200-lb robotic giraffe that "walks" on wheels and is powered by a 12-horsepower hybrid fuel-engine motor, during his tour on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, to meet with students, entrepreneurs and inventors, during the first ever White House "Maker Faire". Obama is highlighting new tools and techniques that promote fledgling businesses create and market their products in an effort to focus attention on US manufacturing need for science and math education. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

If President Barack Obama is mingling with inventors, sooner or later there has to be a robot. On Wednesday, it was Russell, the 17-foot electric giraffe towering in the South Lawn of the White House, a symbol of the quirky and clever creations Obama wanted to showcase on a day devoted to innovation.

"New tools and technologies are making the building of things easier than ever," Obama told entrepreneurs and students who gathered at the White House at its first Maker Faire. "There is a democratization of manufacturing that is potentially available because of technology."

RELATED: Maker Faire: What can 'maker culture' do for the US economy?

As part of a weeks-long emphasis on the economy, Obama was promoting the use of new tools and techniques to start up new businesses, to boost manufacturing and to strengthen science and math education.

"We've got to make sure that more Americans have the skills and opportunities to land a job in a growing industry or to create entire new industries," he said. "That's why I'm declaring today a national day of making."

More than 100 "makers" from 25 states were at the White House as Obama focused on helping fledgling businesses create and market their products. Obama was in Pittsburgh on Tuesday pledging to make expanding manufacturing a priority for his remaining years in office.

The White House says 13 federal agencies are teaming up with companies like Etsy and Kickstarter to help Americans access startup capital and tools to develop new products.


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