DJI are best known for their drones, but their technology is also making its way into robots. Today the company announced their first ground-based robot, the RoboMaster S1, will be available for purchase in Australia.
The S1 was built to introduce new users to the fun and possibilities of robotic technology, with powerful brushless motors, a chassis that can move in all directions, a high-precision gimbal, and interactive modes for programming, play, and competition.
Similar to Sphero, these robots are not just entertainment, but S1 users can learning to maneuver the rover, programming with Python or Scratch and competing with friends in multiplayer battle modes.
“DJI is powered by passionate engineers with the continued desire to push the boundaries of technology.
Passion is vital but so is the opportunity to learn and engage with technology at an early age. We developed the RoboMaster S1 with the next generation of innovators in mind, making robotics and programming not just more accessible but also an entertaining and academic experience.”Frank Wang, DJI’s Founder & CEO.
Advanced, Safe and, Intuitively Designed
The S1, short for “Step 1,” is a highly advanced rover designed to give new users an easy introduction to AI, engineering, and robotics. With simple controls, a dedicated RoboMaster app, easily navigable menus, and a wealth of tutorials, the S1 is approachable to newcomers while offering advanced features to users already experienced in AI, engineering, and robotics.
The S1 is equipped with 31 sensors to help map the world around it, including six on its intelligent body armor, which are used to detect hits. Atop the durable S1 frame is a first-person view (FPV) camera that sends a stabilized live feed from the S1 to the RoboMaster app.
It also features a specialized mechanical gimbal with an infrared and nontoxic gel bead Blaster, which automatically limits launching rate and angle to help ensure safety. The S1 is modular with DJI parts and also includes six Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and one S-bus control port so advanced users can take advantage of third-party hardware.
Some exciting new features are coming in November. The S1 can be used as an Intercom, transmitting sound clips from the RoboMaster app to the robot. This useful new feature will offer pre-recorded clips in the app and support locally imported recordings up to 30 seconds in length.
Combined with the voice return function, RoboMaster S1 can become an Intercombetween you and your friends. The addition of S-bus ports allows for the support of some 3rd party remote controllers along with a development board. The development board enables customers to add even more custom coding and parts to the S1 and use additional coding languages such as C/C++.
Using the FPV camera and machine vision technology, the S1 can identify different objects automatically, recognize and respond to sounds, and receive signals from other S1 units. The powerful central processing unit and industrial-grade CAN-bus cable enable it to process large amounts of data, maintaining a stable transmission signal even while performing multiple tasks. Along with its custom brushless motor, the S1 has four Mecanum wheels, most commonly found on competitive robots, each with 12 rollers that allow omnidirectional movement and precision control while operating.
Experience and Explore Advanced Technology
The S1 is equipped with leading machine vision technology, enabling users to get hands-on experience with real-world applications. The S1 can perform six intelligent recognition functions, including:
- Line Follow: Create a fun and interactive course and map out the path desired for the S1. Program Line Follow through the RoboMaster app and the S1 will automatically follow the line.
- Vision Marker Recognition: The S1 can recognize up to 44 Vision Markers, including numbers, letters, and special characters, which opens more potential for coding, combat, and training.
- Follow Mode: Built into the RoboMaster app, the S1 can identify and follow a person selected in the S1’s field of vision.
- Clap Recognition: A built-in clap recognition module on the S1 can be programmed for unique responses based upon clap quantity.
- Gesture Recognition: The S1 can be programmed to recognize an array of physical hand gestures similar to some DJI drones.
- S1 Recognition: The S1 can recognize other S1 units and perform unique movements based on how it is programmed.
Users looking for more advanced functions can write Scratch 3.0 or Python code to program their own unique S1 functions, from how it moves, to increasing efficiency and optimizing the torque of the four wheels.
Users can even write their own programs and add them as custom skills, which can be used during gameplay for an added advantage such as “Hit and Turn Back,” where the S1 turns and counter-attacks after being hit from behind.
Another new feature is a musical application, where users can write original songs in the programming interface or play famous songs. Additionally, using the advanced FPV camera and machine vision technology, S1 can demonstrate autonomous driving.
By designing a line-course with the provided tape, the S1 will follow the path and even register simulated street signs using the vision markers.
The S1 encourages users to continue learning and push the boundaries of their own creativity. Built into the RoboMaster app, users will have access to “Road to Mastery,” an immersive, project-based course series to educate S1 owners on programming languages.
Additionally, “RoboAcademy” offers informative video tutorials and programming guides to introduce robotics and coding. DJI will continue to produce more content to be added to the “Road to Mastery” and “RoboAcademy” curriculum as well as new blocks for Scratch 3.0.
Users can follow their development in the “MasterBoard” which records miles driven, time spent on programming, number of completed lessons, the number of lines running the code, and the highest score of target practice.
Interactive and Entertaining Modes
Inspired by the standard robots featured in DJI’s international RoboMaster Robotics Competition, the S1 features several fun and interactive competition modes. SOLO modes include Target Practice and Target Race, where users must scan preset Vision Markers. Multiplayer Battle modes include Race, Free-for-All and the brand new Conquest Mode.
In Race mode, users race S1s to scan numbered Vision Markers in the right sequence, and the player who completes the course fastest wins. In Free-for-All mode, players battle using either gel beads or infrared beams.
To add even more excitement, the multiplayer battle mode has four Mystery Bonuses that players can use against their opponents: Dizziness, Electromagnetic Interference, Extreme Speed, and Invincibility. In Conquest Mode, players are divided into two teams, each with their own fortress, and must try to win by conquering and occupying the opposing team’s fortress.
DJI has invested in robotics education since 2013 with the introduction of the RoboMaster competition. The launch of the RoboMaster S1 marks DJI’s first step into the robotics education field, supported with courses, educational materials, events, and hardware. DJI will continue to partner with schools, robotics clubs, organizations, and others to expand its presence in the field.
Price and Availability
Starting this week, the RoboMaster S1 will be available for purchase on store.dji.com and authorized DJI retailers in Australia, at a retail price of $899 AUD. The new updates for S1, including the Intercom, MasterBoard, and Conquest Mode, will be available via firmware update in November.
Additional accessories can be purchased for S1 including extra gel beads, a dedicated gamepad, extra batteries, gel bead containers and more.
Customers can also purchase a “PlayMore Kit”, which includes the dedicated gamepad, additional gel beads, one battery, and a gel bead container, starting in November.
For more information on the features and capabilities of the RoboMaster S1, please visit: https://www.dji.com/robomaster-s1.