June 25, 2021

Students and researchers at Catholic University were surprised to see a robotic dog trotting around campus in front of Hannan Hall on Thursday, June 24.

The dog, “Max,” was built by Boston Dynamics and purchased by Atkins, a commercial partner of the University’s Vitreous State Laboratory (VSL). Max was accompanied by his “handler” Eric Smith, Atkins senior project manager, and Brad Bowan, Atkins senior vice president. Ian Pegg, VSL director and professor of physics, said Max will potentially be used as a tool in nuclear waste cleanup support because of its ability to take samples or move equipment and radiation detectors into dangerous or hard-to-access locations.

Physics doctoral student Rishabh Uniyal, who studies particle physics, said he was excited to watch the machine in action after having previously seen videos of robotic dogs online.

VSL postdoctoral researcher Andreza Eufrasio, who earned her doctorate from the University in 2019, spends her days studying the electric and thermal properties of ceramics. She enjoyed seeing a different kind of scientific technology in action.

“Everybody was excited to see this,” she said.

While on campus, Max visited the laboratories of VSL and the University’s Pryzbyla Center, where he impressed onlookers by climbing the stairs, delivering a Starbucks coffee cup and placing it on a table, and then picking it up and throwing it away.