Escafil Device

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The Escafil device was invented by Andalites allowing anyone who touches it to absorb the DNA of an animal and morph. Also known as the "blue box" or the "morphing cube.

Morphing Technology.

Andalite morphing technology is a fairly recent technological development, according to Prince Elfangor in The Andalite Chronicles. The technology is a closely guarded secret, and is normally only given to and used by members of the Andalite species; the only non-Andalites to morph are the five human Animorphs, Visser Three, David, the temporary sixth Animorph, the Auxiliary Animorphs, and various creatures which accidentally or deliberately operated the Escafil device. Near the end of the series, the Yeerks managed to obtain the Escafil device and gained morphing abilities. Now a lot of people have the power although most of these people are in the military.

Connection with Zero-Space.

When one morphs a being smaller than themselves, the extra mass (excess skin, bones etc) is extruded into Z-space. In the rare event that a ship would pass by, they would be drawn into it and likely vaporized or disentegrated by the ship's forcefield. According to a recently documented occurrence, the being's consciousness is pulled back to the mass in Z-space, rather than staying with the morphed body as usual. It used to be thought that the mass would be disorganized, random blobs, but it is now known, or at least conjectured, that the mass is in fact fully formed and proportioned. Should the mass survive somehow, it is subject to a 'snap-back' effect, causing the consciousness to return to the original body, with no time passing whatsoever.

There is the issue of the nothlit, one trapped in morph by staying in morph for longer than two hours, as previously mentioned. However, one can make the assumption that their matter, if in Z-space, would deteriorate or disconnect from the individual it originally belonged to, which may also be the reason that a morph cannot usually be sustained for more than two hours.


An individual can gain a limitless numbers of samples of DNA. There is a 2-hour time-limit for staying in morphed form, and if a person stays morphed longer than that, they are forever trapped in that form. The Andalite term for one trapped in morph is a nothlit. The escafil device can only be used once by each being. Once a being becomes a nothlit, they cannot regain the ability to morph. (In the book series, the only "documented" cases of morphing ability being returned to a nothlit involved assistance from a very powerful being known as the Ellimist).

One of the greatest properties of morphing is rooted in the biological physics of DNA. Because DNA is isolated and encapsulated coding for the genetic make up of a specific living form, it is unaffected by any injury. Hence, any injury sustained while either in morph or in natural form will be instantly cured by morphing to another form (if morphing back to original form, the term used is "demorphing", though earlier on in the series, "unmorph" was used sparingly). The DNA of the animal whose form sustained the injury is, of course, unaffected, effectively replenishing that animal/form. For example, if injured while in morph, one can demorph and be healthy, and remorph back to the animal form without any injury; likewise you can acquire the DNA of an injured animal and turn into a healthy animal. The one case in which this failed to work was in Megamorphs #2: In the Time of Dinosaurs, when Tobias' attempts to fix his broken wing by morphing repeatedly failed, apparently due to the time travel; how exactly this would affect morphing is unknown.


The time-limit for staying "in morph", which was long thought in the series to be final and deadly, has at least one minor loophole. The natural metamorphosis of any animal morphed, such as the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly, essentially resets the biological clock, giving the being in morph a space of approximately two hours to demorph.

In the third book The Encounter, the Animorphs seem to have outdone the two-hour limit. The four of them (Tobias being trapped in morph and Ax not having been introduced at this point), were in wolf morph and were 10 minutes past the two hour time limit when they started to demorph. It was only with sheer will power and concentration on human form that they managed to turn back, though the time on the truck (which Tobias gleened the time from) could have been off. Similarly in another book, Marco was part-way through demorphing when the clock ran out. He only managed to complete the process because he believed that if he hadn't, he would have lived out his life as a human-sized flea freak of nature.

Another possibility is that the designers of the Escafil device left some leeway on the time limit to reduce the chance of accidents.

Other than these cases, the only way to avoid the morphing clock is through the intervention of a being like the Ellimist or Crayak.
It was never revealed where morphers acquire the excess mass that they must use when morphing into something significantly larger than themselves, such as an elephant or a whale.

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