Saul Griffith

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Saul Griffith
Saul Griffith (2310546290) (cropped).jpg
Griffith in 2008
Born1974 (age 48–49)
Alma materUniversity of New South Wales (B.MET.E)
University of Sydney (M.E.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D.)
Known forEnergy conservation, Howtoons
AwardsMacArthur Fellowship (2007)
Scientific career
FieldsMaterial science

Saul Griffith (born 1974) is an Australian-American inventor and renewable electricity advocate.[1] He is the founder or co-founder of multiple companies, including Otherlab (where he is currently CEO), Makani Power, and Instructables.[2]


In 2000, Griffith graduated from the University of Sydney with a Master of Engineering degree.[3] He won a scholarship to MIT Media Lab to study towards a PhD that he completed in 2004. The subject of his PhD thesis was "self-replicating machines". They were one of the first instances of artificial replication being demonstrated using real physics.[4]


Griffith is the co-founder and CEO of OtherLab, a research and development company working on computational manufacturing and design tools[5] and applying those tools to projects such as inflatable pneumatic robots and prostheses,[6] novel approaches to heliostat design,[7] and applications of computational origami to the design of pressure vessels (e.g. for compressed natural gas) in arbitrary shapes.[8] Otherlab's R&D is guided by a vast map of energy flows in the US economy,[9] which they use to identify key leverage points in building a more sustainable energy economy.

Griffith used this energy flow mapping for Rewiring America, a nonprofit organization working on electrification.[10] He argues that the United States can create 30 million jobs, save consumers money, boost energy resiliency, and accelerate achievement of a net zero economy.[11][12]

Previously, he was a co-founder of Squid Labs,[13] and its spinout companies and projects Makani Power,[14] Instructables, Wattzon, HowToons, OptiOpia, Potenco, Sunfolding, Other Machine Company and Monkeylectric.[15][2]

Saul Griffith giving a talk at Poptech 2008

Personal life[edit]

Griffith used to live in San Francisco.[16] As of 2022, he has relocated to Australia, living in Wollongong.[1]

He is married to Tim O'Reilly's daughter Arwen.[17] He has two children.[18]

Griffith's mother is a wildlife artist, early Greenpeace activist and printmaker, while his father is a retired professor.[10]

A portrait of Griffith by artist Jude Rae was highly commended in the 2022 Archibald Prize.[19]


  • Electrify: An Optimist's Playbook for Our Clean Energy Future (2021). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT University Press. ISBN 9780262046237 (Hardcover edition).[20]


  1. ^ a b Seccombe, Mike (2022-02-05). "The Joe Biden adviser living in Wollongong". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  2. ^ a b Coxon, Sara-Katherine (2020-07-22). "Saul Griffith". Climate One. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  3. ^ "Meet the class of 2007: Saul Griffith". MacArthur Fellows Program. MacArthur Foundation. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  4. ^ Griffith, Saul (September 2004). Growing Machines (Thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Projects".
  6. ^ "Solve for X: Saul Griffith on inflatable robots". Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.
  7. ^ "Novel, Disruptive Approaches to Heliostat Design".
  8. ^ "Conformable Tank".
  9. ^ Peters, Adele (August 9, 2016). "This Very, Very Detailed Chart Shows How All The Energy In The U.S. Is Used". Fast Company. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Pannett, Rachel (2021-05-29). "An Australian inventor wants to stop global warming by electrifying everything". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2021-05-29. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  11. ^ "Rewiring America".
  12. ^ Roberts, David (August 6, 2020). "How to drive fossil fuels out of the US economy, quickly: The US has everything it needs to decarbonize by 2035". Vox.
  13. ^ billysorrentino. "Rogue Inventor Saul Griffith Is Radicalizing R&D — With Inflatable Arms". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  14. ^ "Makani". X, the moonshot factory. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  15. ^ Holthouse, David (December 6, 2007). "How $500,000 can save the world". Fortune Small Business. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  16. ^ "September 15, 2010". The Colbert Report. September 15, 2010. Comedy Central.
  17. ^ Owen, David (May 17, 2010). "The Inventor's Dilemma". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  18. ^ Kalish, Jon (2019-06-14). "Inside Otherlab's World of Flying Inventions and Elastic Machines". PCMag UK. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  19. ^ "Archibald Prize Archibald 2022 work: The big switch – portrait of Dr Saul Griffith by Jude Rae". Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  20. ^ Griffith, Saul (12 October 2021). Electrify: an optimist's playbook for our clean energy future. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-54504-4. ISBN for paperback edition.

External links[edit]