Incredible Caltech’s Morphobot (M4) with the Ability to Walk, Drive, and Fly!

Caltech, known for its innovative robotics research, has unveiled its latest creation: the Morphobot (M4), a revolutionary robot capable of transforming its shape to adapt to different terrains and challenges. With the ability to drive, fly, and walk, this RC car-sized robot showcases remarkable versatility and autonomous decision-making capabilities.

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Caltech's Incredible 'Morphobot

Image Source: TECHEBLOG

The Transformer-Like Robot

  • Inspired by the concept of Transformers, the M4, short for Multi-Modal Mobility Morphobot, lives up to its name by seamlessly transitioning between various modes of transportation.
  • Developed by Professor Mory Gharib from Caltech and Professor Alireza Ramezani from Northeastern University.
  • The M4 boasts a compact design packed with electronics, motors, and a small computer for onboard decision-making.

Shifting Forms for Dynamic Movement

  • The Morphobot’s most impressive feature lies in its ability to change its form to suit different scenarios.
  • Equipped with large wheels that can transform into drone-like rotors within seconds, the robot can effortlessly take flight.
  • This flexibility enables the Morphobot to conquer challenging terrains, including steep slopes, by utilizing its rotors for elevation while simultaneously propelling itself forward with its back wheels.
Robot NameMulti-Modal Mobility Morphobot (M4)
SizeRC car-sized
FeaturesShapeshifting capabilities for driving, flying, and walking
TransformationLarge wheels transform into drone-like rotors for flight
AdaptabilityAbility to stand on two wheels for better perspective and traversal of rough terrain
AI Decision-MakingAutonomous decision-making using artificial intelligence
CPUPowered by Nvidia’s Jetson Nano CPU
PurposeVersatile applications, such as transportation and exploration
Other Notable RobotsLEONARDO (bipedal robot with propellers) and launchable transforming drone
InstitutionDeveloped by Caltech
Features of Morphobot

Adapting to Rough Terrain and Gaining a Better Perspective

  • When faced with rough terrain or the need for enhanced visibility, the Morphobot can stand up on two wheels, employing them as “feet.”
  • This form allows the robot to traverse uneven surfaces more effectively and gain a better vantage point to assess its surroundings.
  • The Morphobot’s adaptability draws inspiration from nature, with cute animal drawings in the accompanying Nature Communications paper, including meerkats and walruses.

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Caltech's Incredible Morphobot

Intelligent Decision-Making and Autonomous Functionality

  • Powered by Nvidia’s Jetson Nano CPU, an affordable robotics-focused miniature computer, the M4 is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
  • This enables the robot to autonomously assess its environment using surrounding conditions and make informed decisions on the most suitable mode of motion.
  • Caltech’s press release highlights the potential applications of the M4, such as assisting in transporting injured individuals to hospitals or exploring extraterrestrial environments.

Caltech’s Legacy of Versatile Robots

  • The M4 joins Caltech’s portfolio of remarkable and versatile robots.
  • LEONARDO, a bipedal robot with propellers for arms, combines walking and flying capabilities, creating a captivating and somewhat eerie presence.
  • Caltech has also developed a launchable transforming drone, showcasing the institution’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of robotic innovation.


Caltech’s Multi-Modal Mobility Morphobot, or M4, represents a significant leap forward in robotics innovation. With its ability to change shape and seamlessly transition between driving, flying, and walking, the M4 showcases a new era of adaptive robotics.

By combining intelligent decision-making with an array of motion possibilities, the M4 opens doors to countless applications, from aiding in emergency situations to exploring uncharted territories. Caltech continues to push the boundaries of robotics, bringing us closer to a future where machines effortlessly adapt to the world around them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the purpose of the M4 robot?

The M4’s versatile capabilities make it well-suited for a range of applications, including shuttling injured individuals to hospitals and exploring extraterrestrial environments.

Q: How does the M4 make decisions on its mode of motion?

The M4’s versatile capabilities make it well-suited for a range of applications, including shuttling injured individuals to hospitals and exploring extraterrestrial environments.

Q: What other notable robots has Caltech developed?

Caltech has created LEONARDO, a bipedal robot with propellers for arms, and a launchable transforming drone, demonstrating their commitment to developing versatile and cutting-edge robotic technologies.

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