The White House welcomes science

Students are honored at a special science fair at the president’s home

By Daniel Strain, 16:23 PM February 27, 2012

MAYA may just be the weirdest guest ever at the White House. And that’s saying a lot. The family of President Calvin Coolidge, who served from 1923 to 1929, kept exotic pets, including a raccoon named Rebecca and — very briefly — a black bear. But unlike MAYA, none of those pets was a robot made out of a recycled trash can and an old cordless vacuum cleaner.

On a February day, MAYA the robot stands next to its creator, 14-year-old Benjamin Hylak, in the White House’s State Dining Room. Re...

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