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Case study

Inflatable robot makes a huge impression at the 2022 Monash Tech Maker Faire.




Inflatable Robot Replica

Monash Tech School, Monash University

Melbourne, Australia


Inflatable Robot Replica


Monash Tech School, Monash University


Melbourne, Australia

A larger-than-life inflatable Makey the Robot, a globally recognized icon of the Maker movement.

Monash Tech School hosted the 2022 Maker Faire, a festival of innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. Each year the Maker Fair travels to a different international location to bring focus to makers worldwide. The mascot for the Maker Faire, Makey the Robot, travels around each year and is re-erected at every destination.

The Design and Fabrication

For Monash’s Maker Faire, Monash Tech tasked Giant Inflatables with creating a five-meter-high inflatable version of the Makey mascot to be displayed at the fair. The inflatable needed to be portable so it could be moved around to different locations but large enough to make an impact. Furthermore, the inflatable was required to be very simple to set up, so it could be set up by volunteering students.

We used a lightweight polyester material for the five-meter-high Makey robot to ensure the weight of the inflatable was kept as low as possible. Weighing in at only 28 kg, the robot could be easily maneuvered into position.

We used the Pantone Matching System (PMS) to ensure we had the perfect red to correspond with the Makey Brand and opted for internal fans, and the Makey was created to be as quickly set up as possible. Once unrolled and plugged in, the robot inflates, and the setup is complete after tying it down to an appropriate anchorage. The robot has very flat surfaces, so the decision was taken to hide the baffles with a color-matched over-skin, creating a flat-looking surface.

The mascot is re-designed every year, so Giant Inflatables was given creative license to develop a streamlined modern design based on images of previous years’ Makey’s. The design team finally decided on an animated structure, making it look playful while ensuring the robot could stand independently. After a few alterations to incorporate internal fans, the Monash Tech team enthusiastically approved the final design.

The Results

The images speak for themselves. With a buzz of attendees around the fair, the inflatable Makey took center stage and “certainly had great presence in the room!”. Monash Tech school plans on using the Makey at orientation and event days throughout the year, wherever possible.

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