DJI’s ‘Learn to Win’ teaser has culminated in a ground robot for the educational market, the RoboMaster S1. The launch follows on from DJI’s collaboration with RyzeTech and the Tello drone, but this time the Chinese industry leader has handled everything in-house.
The S1 is designed to introduce a younger audience to the fun and possibilities of robotics. The robot has brushless motors, a chassis that can move in all directions, a high-precision gimbal, and – most importantly for the educational market – interactive modes for programming, play, and competition.
But it’s not all about coding. S1 users can assemble designated and custom hardware and learn to maneuver the rover, as well as programming it with Python or Scratch.
“DJI is powered by passionate engineers with the continued desire to push the boundaries of technology,” said Frank Wang, DJI’s Founder & CEO.
“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.”
Approachable and advanced
The S1 is short for “Step 1”. DJI’s aim is for it to be both an advanced rover and an easy introduction to AI, engineering and robotics. DJI’s dedicated RoboMaster app includes simple menus and tutorials.
The simple user experience belies all of the technology just under the surface. The S1 is equipped with 31 sensors to help map the world around it, including six on its intelligent body armor that are used to detect hits. It also carries an FPV camera that sends a stabilized live feed from the S1 to the RoboMaster app. Its mechanical gimbal has an infrared (and nontoxic) gel bead Blaster, which automatically limits launching rate and angle to help ensure safety.
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.
The S1 is also modular. There are extra DJI parts it can work with, as well as six Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) control ports for third-party hardware.
Computer vision applications
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:
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.
Interactive and Entertaining Modes
The S1 is in part inspired by the robots featured in DJI’s international RoboMaster Robotics Competition. The robot comes with several interactive competition modes:
- SOLO modes include Target Practice and Target Race, where users must scan preset Vision Markers.
- Multiplayer Battle modes include Race and Free-for-All.
- 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.
DJI S1: Price & Availability
From today, the RoboMaster S1 will be available for purchase for $499.
A Play More Kit, which includes a dedicated gamepad, additional gel beads, one battery, and a gel bead container, will be available at a later date.
You can order the RoboMaster S1 from DJI’s website and at flagship stores. Pricing and availability for separate accessories will be available at a later date. DJI is also offering exclusive discounts to students and teachers. You can contact [email protected] for more details.