Disney Research is developing a new generation of robots as a potential successor to the miniature smartphone-controlled Sphero BB-8 that you can buy today.

The entertainment company’s Zurich research lab, in partnership with ETH Zurich university, unveiled the VertiGo robot this week that can climb walls. VertiGo, which runs on four wheels, can seamlessly transition from ground navigation to wall climbing thanks to two tiltable propellers that provide the thrust. Paul Beardsley, principal research scientist at Disney Research Zurich, said one pair of wheels is steerable, and each propeller has two degrees of freedom for adjusting the direction of thrust. This allows the wheels to lift and climb over objects, or up walls.

“By transitioning from the ground to a wall and back again, VertiGo extends the ability of robots to travel through urban and indoor environments,” Beardsley writes in theresearch paper. “The robot is able to move on a wall quickly and with agility.”

Source (John Gaudiosi, “Disney’s New Robot Can Climb Walls”, Fortune, 31.12.2015)