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MorpHex transforming robot is more than meets the eye

A rolling orb robot transforms into a walking hexapod, complete with flashing LEDs.

Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET

Now this is one cool toy. It's called the MorpHex MKIII, and it's the third generation of a robot designed and created by Norwegian hobbyist Kåre Halvorsen, aka Zenta, a father of three who builds robots in his spare time.

Like the name suggests, MorpHex is a hexapod robot -- tucked away inside a rolling ball that can change its shape by way of extending wedges to deal with tricky terrain -- as well as fully transform into a walking hexapod.

Its body is split into two hemispheres, each divided up into six extending parts that allow the ball to push itself along the ground, handling both inclines and obstacles. High accuracy is achievable thanks to an inclusion of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) -- a board by Sparkfun containing an accelerometer and gyroscope, which means the MorpHex can gauge orientation and speed, stabilising and controlling its rolling motion.

Servos allow the robot to transform, and 24 LEDs -- two in each wedge of shell -- let Zenta add some fancy light effects.

We're not sure if he has any plans to bring the MorpHex to production, but you can check out his website for all his blog posts concerning the builds of the robots, and if you're around Trondheim towards the end of August, you can catch up with Zenta and his robot at the Trondheim Maker Faire.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy this awesome video of the MorpHex MKIII in action.