DJI Unveils the RoboMaster S1 | An Intelligent Educational Robot for 2019June 12, 2019 12 By Scott Hinkle
It’s been a while since DJI announced any new drone-like products and many were expecting such an announcement when the DJI Osmo Action was released. That didn’t happen, but we knew something was still coming down the line, we just weren’t sure what.
Well it’s official, DJI has unveiled the RoboMaster S1 Intelligent Educational Robot. It’s an interesting segue from DJI’s traditional drone lines and might bring new lifeblood into a relatively small sporting segment. In this post we’re going to dig into what it is, what it brings to the table and what might be in store in the future.
I will say this, I was on point for a few of my predictions in my previous post, Is There a New DJI Drone Release Coming? | Exciting Announcement Coming June 11th, 2019, but was off on several others. Now let’s take a closer look at the RoboMaster S1 and see if it might be something that interests you…
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What is the RoboMaster S1?
As DJI puts it, “The RoboMaster S1 is a game-changing educational robot built to unlock the potential in every learner. Inspired by DJI’s annual RoboMaster robotics competition, the S1 provides users with an in-depth understanding of science, math, physics, programming, and more through captivating game play modes and intelligent features.”.
I prefer to think of it as a ground based, remote control gaming system that’s also programmable. Not an RC car or truck, but more of an RC robot and battle platform with enhancement options. Those enhancements come in the form of physical accessories as well as operational intelligence.
The S1 was inspired by DJI’s annual RoboMaster robotics competition. I think the endgame (no pun intended) is to provide an exciting and fun platform while introducing educational concepts that, until now, have been difficult to instill onto others through boring classes and textbooks.
Let’s look “under the hood”…
What Does it Bring to the Table?
First off, it brings a pretty cool remote control toy that’s a blast to play with. I know, it’s more than a toy but, let’s be real, the true draw to this new device is how exciting and fun it is to play with. With that said, let’s break it down and take a closer look at the RoboMaster S1 and the components that make it what it is today:
Using a powerful CPU, the Intelligent Controller can simultaneously support functions such as low-latency high-definition image transmission, AI computing, and programming development. It also coordinates transmission seamlessly to execute command signals.
The S1 Blaster uses LED lights to outline launch trajectories for its gel beads and infrared beams. Vivid sound effects and recoil action add to the experience for an immersive battle simulation. For added safety, the Blaster uses non-toxic gel bead projectiles and even features limitations on launching rate and angle.
2-Axis Mechanical Gimbal
The gimbal’s yaw/pitch rotation range is 540° × 65°, offering an expansive field of view for the FPV camera. The built-in direct drive brushless motor works together with the IMU and advanced algorithms to allow gimbal movements with a vibration control accuracy within ±0.02°, delivering smooth image transmission and a precision control experience.
The S1 comes with four Mecanum wheels, each with 12 rollers that allow omnidirectional movement and precision control. Front axes suspension allows for added versatility during operation.
The S1 comes with a customized M3508I motor that features an integrated FOC ESC with an output torque of up to 250 mN•m. Linear Hall-effect sensors with advanced algorithms allow closed-loop control for added precision. Additional safety mechanisms deliver outstanding stability.
Intelligent Sensing Armor
Six intelligent armor panels cover the S1 to detect gel bead or infrared beam strikes. The referee system can analyze and communicate hit data, incorporating it into game play in real time.
Amazing Customization and Expansion Capabilities
Up to 46 customizable components give you unlimited space for innovation, helping you grow and learn in an exciting way that expands the capabilities of your S1, and yourself. Six PWM ports support customized accessories, allowing you to explore the unlimited possibilities of the S1 and the magic of the robotic world.
Impressive AI Technologies
AI technology lets the S1 recognize gestures, sounds, and even other S1 robots. Playing with the RoboMaster S1 opens the doorway to AI learning, giving you a practical introduction to the technologies of tomorrow.
The S1 can be programmed to automatically follow a line on the ground. The more math and physics knowledge that is applied, the more adeptly the S1 will be able to complete this task.
Vision Marker Recognition
Recognize up to 44 Vision Markers which feature numbers, letters, and special characters that expand the possibilities for coding and combat.
One such use for the markers is to create “traffic lights” and other obstacles. Users can write their own programs that allow the S1 to drive automatically and execute complex tasks.
Thanks to advanced computer vision technology, the S1 is able to identify and track any individual you select in the S1’s FOV.
The S1 is equipped with a built-in clap recognition module, which can be programmed for unique responses.
The S1 can recognize various physical gestures and can be programmed for self-defined responses.
S1 Robot Recognition
The S1 can recognize other S1 units, an ability that can expand your game play and entertainment possibilities.
Functions and game play modes are currently available on iOS, Android, and Windows. The RoboMaster app even allows users with different systems to play together at the same time.
Various Operation Methods
The S1 can be operated using a computer or a mobile device via the touchscreen, gyro, and gamepad.
Flexible Programming & Sharing
Write programs easily and apply them or share with friends instantly using the RoboMaster app.
As you can see, this is actually a well-thought-out platform, offering fun, learning and inspiration.
Will it Start a New Trend?
So here’s the real question. Will this new platform take hold and start a new trend?
I think it will. The price point is such that schools may even pick a few of these up to use in their courses. The fun aspect has me wanting one. After all, what guy doesn’t want to blow things up?
Now that we have a system that can be programmed or manually controlled, offers unheard-of customization, includes an arsenal of accessories, has light-based and physical weaponry, uses sensors to detect “battle damage” and responds accordingly, not to mention AI components to address environmental awareness, we have a true learning platform that’s actually fun to use!
What’s in Store for the Future?
As with anything else, I can’t say for sure but I expect a few new things to pop up:
I can’t say what they’ll be but I’m pretty sure new hardware will be introduced. Maybe construction like attachments such as a crane, bucket, etc. could be one set of attachments. Perhaps some sort of liquid storage/delivery/sprayer will be added and so on.
The RoboMaster S1 could very well be the first in a series of autonomous vehicles. We have land covered, what about sea and air? I for one was hoping this announcement would be something like this but in a quadcopter/drone form. Who’s to say that’s not coming?
I actually like to call this the Hive Mind Mode. Imagine one or more RoboMaster’s working together to build something or complete a task. Now imagine different RoboMaster models (land, sea and air) working together. Maybe they can interconnect physically to overcome obstacles (think of a vehicle delivery system). It’s both exciting and frightening to think of. Maybe instead of Hive Mind Mode we can call it SkyNet.
Additional AI and Programming Options
As this platform matures, I suspect new programming languages will be introduced (I personally would love to see a Swift option, as I’m an Apple guy) and new AI modules, offering advanced or specific features will be developed.
I’m sure there’s more to consider but these four options alone are pretty exciting. I only hope that one or more of them become reality.
So now the RoboMaster S1 is out. Will you be getting one? I think I will. I’ll probably have to stock up on a lot of gel pellets too. Either way, it will bring me hours of fun, and I’m sure frustration as I learn to program, and tear up my house terrorizing my dogs.
If you’re planning to get one, Grab Your DJI RoboMaster S1 Here!
What do you think of DJI’s latest product? Is it a game-changer? Do you like the features it offers? Is there something missing from the platform? Are you going to get one? Let me know by commenting below.
Hi! This seems to be a very cool toy. But moreover, I have been struggling to find time to learn how to code. I need that special push and this just seems the coolest way to get started.
I’m getting a RoboMaster S1. I can’t wait to race with it, battle with other S1’s and learn to code!
I’m excited to get one too. I can’t really afford a second one so I’m hoping I can find someone else in the Sacramento, CA area to battle with. One thing I’m really hoping will be introduced is a way to get them to communicate with each other and maybe even configure formations and so on. I think that would be really cool.
Thanks for commenting,
What a stunning video of what this robot can do! I especially liked the part where it was used for physics education and experimenting with computer code.
Definitely brilliant for children and adults who are tired of what TV has to offer. Time to get off the sofa and bring on some action.
I happen to be one of those adults and I can’t wait to get one myself.
Thanks for this review and I thought DJI was just about quadcopters. Surprise! The first thing I thought about when I saw the picture was “Robocop” What was it, the third or maybe it was the second movie that introduced the evil Robot killing machine.
It looks similar and has a blaster. Well… You know what they say, “What’s fiction today is fact tomorrow?” Bit of a scary thought :).
On the other side of things, I think this is going to be a big hit with older kids and teens who are into the tech side of things especially seeing that it is programmable and the fact that there will be accessories.
I noticed in your second picture there was a bunch of parts. I don’t think you mentioned it but is this going to be something one can assemble? That would make it even more fun for the hobbyist techie that likes to build robots.
I’m 70 but still, a kid at heart and I agree that this could be a lot of fun. The price does seem reasonable but I will have to wait until there is more money in the bank.
DJI has branched out a bit before. They have a few stabilizers and cameras in their Osmo series. That said, I’m glad to see them return to the vehicle side of their business.
I’m not sure, but are you referring to the ED-209? I wanted one of those so badly back in the day.
The DJI RoboMaster S1 comes in pieces. You actually have to assemble it yourself. It gives you a more intimate experience.
I’m 43 myself and just a big geeky kid at heart. I’m getting one of these!
Thanks for commenting,
I want one!
The technological jargon was like Greek to me, but it fascinates me nonetheless. I’ve always been a nerd at heart, computers and software were my thing, and how these can be used to control physical mechanisms just blows my mind.
I loved physics at school and I loved computers… this is a combination of the two that i find fascinating. Thanks for sharing your article.
Loved it. Best regards, ~ Elaine
I want one too! I think it’s great and it appears to respond and move quickly which will make operating it that much more exciting. I’m on the cusp of ordering one. I just need to get my husband on board with it.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment,
Robotics has played a vital role in technology. I watched some video reviews and it looks like assembling it is fun already, much more playing with it. It’s highly educational and they made a very good effort in developing its features. It’s quite an advanced toy for kids, and I’m pretty sure it’s more appealing to parents. As a mom, the best feature would be the interactive curriculum that teaches coding. I think with best tinkering minds, you can even upgrade it if you want.
I think for $499, it’s fairly priced because its not something you’ll grow tired of easily. I wish it can be afforded by many schools so there wouldn’t be boring tech class anymore. Thank you for giving details about Robo Masters S1. I think in few months there will be a lot of replicas and fakes in the market. Too bad.
I won’t date myself too much but my grade school days were in the early 80’s. At that time my personal interaction with building and science was limited to model rockets, Legos and so on. I wish the Lego sets available today, with motors and controllers and so on, were available back then.
If something like the DJI RoboMaster S1 existed back then, I’d have been all over it. Heck, I’m all over it now and am gunning to order one (really I want 2 but that’s a bit pricey for me).
I can’t wait to see what comes out for it from both DJI as well as 3rd parties. I’d love to see something where they can start working as a hive-mind and cooperate.
As for knock-offs, they’re everywhere. Hopefully it will lead to more innovation and maybe price competition.
Thanks for commenting,
This is absolutely awesome! I definitely want one. I love the features it offers, especially the recognition technology and the ability to customise it.
Can it track/recognise more than 1 person at a time?
It’s a fantastic device to get kids learning about programming and develop life skills, what a way to make math and physics fun!
I completely agree, it’s probably the first in a series of robots (a quadcopter would be so cool). I love the look of RoboMaster S1, I’m sure I could talk my hubby into it for Christmas…
I’m right there with you. I think I’m going to pull the trigger and get one myself. I hope that I can find someone else in my area that also has one so we can work together, race each other, have battles and so on.
I do not know if it can recognize multiple people or if it’s just “hey, that’s a person”. It would be awesome if it could actually ID someone and differentiate between people. I could use it as a sentry, LOL.
If I had one of these growing up, my path may have well turned out differently.
I have my fingers crossed for a drone model and the ability to work together.
See if you can get your husband to send one my way too, LOL.