Caltech M4 Robot Flies, Rolls, Walks, and More

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Northeastern University have unveiled a shape-shifting robot capable of eight distinct types of motion. The robot, named Multi-Modal Mobility Morphobot (M4), can turn its wheels into rotors to take off and fly, or perform other tasks, such as walking like a meerkat on two wheels and even tumbling. Controlled by artificial intelligence, it can choose the most energy-efficient mode of movement based on the terrain ahead. It was inspired by the way animals like chukar birds and sea lions use their limbs and can repurpose appendages including wheels, legs and thrusters to some degree.

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