We're a little late to the party on this one, but a new robot is making the rounds at Japan's Chiba Institute of Technology, with the help of experienced industrial designer Shunji Yamanaka. Halluc II was designed for search and rescue, presumably for earthquakes, as its three modes of movement--Vehicle, Insect, and Animal--enable it to traverse terrains ranging from rubble to staircases.
In Vehicle mode, Halluc II simply drives around like a car (albeit one with eight wheels), and it keeps the cabin perfectly level regardless of changes in terrain height, perfect for transporting an injured patient. In Insect mode, the 'bot turns its wheels into feet and walks, enabling it to cross rocky terrain. In Animal mode, the robot walks with its legs tightly underneath it, so it can squeeze into smaller spaces. This thing must be seen to be believed; check out its three movement styles in the videos below.
via pink tentacle