Checkin’ In: Russell the Electric Giraffe

Checkin’ In: Russell the Electric Giraffe

With the Bay Area Maker Faire only 6 weeks away, I started getting really excited about seeing old friends from past Maker Faires. Someone I always miss in the interim is Russell. I met Russell (aka Rave Raffe) at the first Maker Faire back in 2006. He’s a sweet guy, towering at 17 feet tall and weighing in at a healthy 1700 pounds, and he’s always accompanied by his good friend (read: maker) Lindsay Lawlor. Russell knows how to bring the party as he walks around the fairgrounds, fully suited in tons of LEDs and boomin with his onboard sound system. Here’s a great nighttime video (by MakeJapan) that shows Russell in action, working the outer lot at the 2008 Maker Faire (you also get a glimpse of some other great pieces that were there):

Russell loves to be loved and will tell you so when you rub the sensors on his head.


I could go on and on about what makes Russell such a cool robot, er, I mean, giraffe, but word on the street is that Russell has been through some pretty dramatic changes! Maybe he was having a mid-life crisis. Here’s what Lindsay said:

“A huge robot giraffe is an ever-changing project, growing, changing, adapting to new technologies and sponsorships. The giraffe is ‘Grazing on the Frontiers of Technology’ and hopes to offer something new to see, hear, and feel each year that it appears. This year the giraffe has been totally gutted to the ground and rebuilt from scratch. Only the basic frame has been kept. We have been furiously working on him and hope to have a lovely new machine ready for the faire. We’re doing all we can to make the new giraffe into something that will dazzle the crowds more than ever with his flashy new paint and electronics. Everything on him is new from the ground up. Most people who know him from the past will swear we threw the old giraffe away and built an entirely new one!”

Whoa! There are some disturbing in-progress shots on Russell’s blog, like this one of giraffe guts:


and this one of his head chilling in the living room with posters of past appearances around him:


The suspense is killing me. Can’t wait to see you again, buddy!


Come check out Russell’s transformation and meet thousands of your new best friends at this years Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, on May 30th and 31st. Get your tickets in advance and save some dough. See you there!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

View more articles by Goli Mohammadi


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.